“It was amazing!” – that’s how I describe most of the vacations I go on to my coworkers and friends….but what does “amazing” really mean?
Early June I set sail from Venice, Italy on Holland America’s Nieuw Amerstadam (ironically – what was to become NYC!) to venture through the exotic Mediterranean waters. When I describe this vacation as amazing – I mean that it was incredibly relaxing and definitely more luxurious than past experiences of hostel hopping around Europe. My family came from Santa Barbara, Miami and Atlanta to reconvene for 10 days of bonding and fun while capturing the unique history and views of some of the greatest cities around the Mediterranean. Vacationing with my family made the experience extra special!
On this trip I experienced a lot of history and culture – but, I also came to understand the difference between a trip and a vacation. a trip is the way I usually travel when I explore a new place – staying in “historical” (or what I describe as haunted) air b&bs and hiking 10 miles for the “best” paella in town (although 2 glasses of sangria and a place to sit down would make any paella the best after walking 5 miles).
Now – a vacation is the travel experience I just had while visiting Turkey & Greece. Exploring each new city by day – and staying in a spacious cabin with a balcony and flat screen t.v by night. For 10 straight sunsets I sat out on the balcony sipping variations of chilled white wines and roses – can it get more relaxing than that!? On the nights we pulled away from a port – I watched each newly toured town get smaller and smaller until my glass was empty and the sun had set.
Even my suitcase reflected the vacation (rather than a trip) as I packed all of my most fabulous cocktail dresses to be showcased each night in the formal dining room for dinner.
It sounds like this luxurious vacation is the way to go, right? Why would i want to go on a an exhausting trip? Well, amazing comes in different forms. Sometimes I truly love to be immersed in the local culture while I jet around, taking in absolutely everything I can. Have a beer and watch a match at the local pub in London, rank all the escargot in Paris, sit in every vintage chair in the ruin bars in Budapest – and still leave enough time to catch the touristy must-sees. Problem is, this type of travel leaves nowhere to retreat to at the end of the day, no massage at the spa, and definitely no unlimited drink package. I recommend this kind of truly adventurous trip for traveling with friends (Erin and I have had plenty!)
But for travel planned with a large group or family – I definitely choose the cruise! It is much more relaxing and takes much less planning, allowing everyone to spend maximum time enjoying one another’s company. On this vacation with family – there was no buying train tickets, no attempt to speak a foreign language, and we could not get completely lost with no cell phone and no cash. Also, because my family is of all ages and some different interests – we each had the opportunity to do what we wanted during the day and relay the stories over dinner.