Why "Vacation"

My family took yearly vacations when I was growing up. Usually they would be week-long trips to see family somewhere exciting, like in Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Occasionally we did a non-family-visit vacation like a week in the Bahamas or Disney World (we don’t have relatives in Florida.)

When I went to college away from home, and then moved further away from my family home after graduating, most every “vacation” I’ve taken has been a stress-filled trip back east to visit my parents and relatives. These trips are totally worth it, but I don’t consider them “vacations.”

Since I’ve graduated college in 2005, I’ve taken a few actual vacations. All on the cheap. I did a “free” trip to Israel through Birthright Israel and spent an extra week traveling around staying with distant relatives who often fed me. Last summer I went to Disneyland with my friend for her birthday… we went for one weekend. I did another weekend trip to LA to see a few people. My boyfriend and I have taken the occasional mini road trip halfway down the California coast for… a weekend. We’ve done two trips to Tahoe… though we haven’t skied or done anything vacation-y. His dad lives there so mostly we visited his dad and wandered. I haven’t taken any “vacation,” vacations, with the exception of the Israel trip. And that was one big timeshare sales pitch for moving to Israel anyway.

A few months ago, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go with her on a bootcamp fitness cruise for a week. It sounds awesome… relaxing AND healthy. But I couldn’t imagine ever spending THAT MUCH on vacation. It doesn’t help matters that now, as a contractor, I don’t get paid time off. Right now I’m new at my job so I wouldn’t consider taking a vacation any time soon. But even when the time came about when someone with my income should take a week to go somewhere, I can’t fathom going.

My coworker loves to travel around the world. I think he does it pretty cheaply, but he’s always traveling. He just goes on his own… I’m not independent enough to do that. I’d want my boyfriend to come with me… but given his income, either I’d have to pay for both of us to go on the vacation, or we’d be sticking to our mini weekend trips.

Camping is always an option, and one my boyfriend enjoys, though hasn’t done in a while. I like camping, but I don’t really see myself enjoying a week doing it. He wants to go to Yosemite for a week. I’d rather lounge by the beach if I had to do a week in nature… and have a shower nearby.

In any case, I wonder if I’ll ever vacation again. I just don’t really see myself enjoying vacation the way I used to… knowing how much it would cost. Maybe one day when I have kids I could justify the expense, but for me, I don’t know how I could reasonably take a week off and go to some exotic resort for a week of pampering and relaxation. How can anyone relax with the price tag?

But then I wonder, do I really ever need to vacation? Sure, I have this deep-seeded longing for luxury. I dream of a day when I’m “rich” and can spend as I please without worrying. But… unless I win the lottery, that day will never come. So I guess I’ll be sticking to my mini vacations, and try to enjoy my trips home… because that’s all the vacation I’m going to get.

Do you go on vacations? Who do you go on vacation with?

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6 comments

  1. Fig says:

    I travel and do it often, but I travel like your coworker. Always on the cheap, backpacking, not spending much at all but having a freaking awesome time seeing new parts of the world and meeting new people. People always wonder how I can afford it. Not hard if you save and travel really cheap. It's definitely not for everyone though. Some people just hate to travel, some hate to travel cheap. And I'm used to traveling alone, so I'm used to making the decisions but now I'm in a relationship and travel with the boyfriend often. Tends to be more expensive but still fun. 😉

  2. eemusings says:

    My family didn't really do any travelling, and like Newbie, I really want to see the world. There are so many countries I want to see, but I'm trying to start small and at least visit the South Island first.

  3. Investing Newbie says:

    Interesting. In my youth, we didn't take any vacations. I think the most we traveled was to Applebees. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. I didn't really start having the travel bug until I first traveled with BF. We went to Niagara falls for a few days. Ever since then, we've promised each other to go on a trip every year. Last year, we went to DC and this year we are going to Panama. BF also didn't travel at all when he was younger. I guess that maybe the lack of traveling in my youth has pushed me to want to travel more. I can't imagine a year without going on vacation. Even though I'm planning on attending grad school in the evenings next year, I still plan on taking mini-vacations to local places such as the Pocanoes. I don't think it has to be expensive for you to go. I don't have a lot of money, but I still try to get away from it all and see something new. Given that you are under contract work, make sure that if you do go on vacation, that it is to somewhere that is worth it and for long enough that you feel recharged.

  4. Jerry says:

    We stayed at Yosemite Pines http://www.yosemitepinesrv.com/ in one of their park model cabins. Yosemite Pines is an RV resort, campground, and lodge located near Yosemite National Park offering Yosemite lodging. Yosemite Pines offers Yosemite camping near Yosemite National Park with full hook-up RV and campsites Yosemite camping. Yosemite Pines also offers Yosemite lodging and cabins near Yosemite National Park with Yosemite cabin rentals. Amenities include a clubhouse, gold mine, gold panning, petting zoo, swimming pool, hiking trail, general store, children’s playground, horseshoe pit, and volleyball.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am in the same boat as your co-worker. When I go travel, I prefer independent economical "backpacking" travel (staying in hostels, mostly cooking my own meals with occasionally eating out and splurging on luxuries). I always set out on my own knowing that I will meet many, many other travelers at my destination. So far, I noticed that about 60% of all the other travelers that I meet are also traveling by themselves, equally split between guys & girls. Trust me, you'll never be alone once your out there unless you want to be.Prior to my first solo trip my impression of traveling was one of mild indifference: the few trips that I've taken were your typical American family mini-vacations to touristy places(Disneyworld, Grand Canyon, Vegas, etc). Get there on a tour group, take some pics, lounge around in the hotel, then go home. I honestly didn't see the point of it all and thought that my money could certainly be better spent (or saved!) since I got very little out of it. But if you ever end up going on a solo trip the experience is very different. The best way I could describe it is that you feel ALIVE every single day, your completely in-tune with your environment and all of your senses are stimulated since you won't have a built-in comfort zone to lean on – the friends that you came with. The expenses that I rack up with this style of traveling is also far lower than the typical all-inclusive packages that most people only know of. I spent only about $2.5k after traveling for a full month in Oceania. I think lots of other people blow through that in 2.5 weeks when they go out, often in far less exotic locations.One more thing that can be said about traveling is that it's a great stress-reliever. Your worries and anxiety in daily life melts away when your on the road : )

  6. me in millions says:

    Birthright! Did I know you were Jewish? I am too! I wasn't eligible for Birthright because I went on a peer trip when I was in college, but I wish I could go… Everyone that I know who has gone, has had the best time and met the most amazing people!

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