Tag: Travel

Topic: What’s your ideal vacation?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

At different times in my adult life, vacations were designed for different purposes.

And let me begin by saying that I’ve been incredibly fortunate throughout my life to have had both the time and the resources to go on some amazing vacations.

When the kids were young, it was all about seeing new and exciting places and building memories of special times together.  Whether it meant a trip to Washington DC to visit the museums, a week at a Disney Theme Park, or camping in the beautiful Rocky Mountains…it was all about exposure and memories.

Living in Boulder, Colorado we can get quite insular.  We don’t have a lot of diversity here.  So it’s easy to forget that there are many different types of people, with different cultures and viewpoints making up the world.  So I always felt it was important that we make an effort to travel around in order to expand our understanding of the world we live in.

When the kids were young, I thought of vacations as an opportunity to learn.  Yes…it was also about fun.  But when you’re raising kids, it’s also about seeing new things and learning about our history, different cultures (even within the same State!), and the vast beauty of our country.

We’d start months in advance and I’d get the kids involved in the planning process as much as possible.   We’d get out maps, read books on the locations we’d be going to and talk about what we hoped to do.

We’d also start with a work chart about 2 months ahead of a vacation.  The kids would earn .25 for each chore they’d complete, and by the time we’d leave on vacation, they’d have earned anywhere from $35-$50 (each) to spend along the way.

It was a great strategy.

Brian and I never had to ask the kids to do anything around the house leading up to a trip (Woohoo – they actually wanted to do chores so they could earn $$) and…once we were on vacation, they never asked us for anything.

None of the typical “Mommy…can I have that T-shirt/sweatshirt/banner/poster/etc?”

Instead, they would count their money and decide if they really wanted an item (or not) and would end up being incredibly frugal along the way.  It was HEAVEN!

During those early years, our vacations were also about balance.  A bit of activity, a bit of rest, and a bit of adventure.  As long as the kids were happy…we were happy.  And, as any parent knows, their happiness was based on maintaining that balance.  If we screwed with the balance, they’d quickly deteriorate into cranky, unhappy children.  And that…would not make for an ideal vacation for anyone!

As the kids got older, our ideal vacations became more about exploring the world.  We’d venture farther and experience more.  Whether it was a 3 week RV trip up through Canada, or across the Atlantic to destinations in Europe – each vacation was jammed packed with new adventures and explorations of new cultures.

Those vacations were “active.”  We did a lot.  We saw a lot.  And…still trying to maintain some level of balance (this time because mommy and daddy would get cranky if we didn’t), we would also fit in a couple of quiet days to just enjoy our surroundings.

Now…as I take more vacations on my own (without the kids I mean) I love those restful, quiet, sit by the pool kind of vacations.  Oh I still like a bit of adventure once in awhile.  But honestly…I’m really good with going to one place and just hanging out.

When I’m in the mood to both explore and relax however, my ideal vacation is a cruise.  I get to unpack once, see a bunch of places, eat well, dance a lot and still have some time to sit by the pool and hang out with a good book and a great fruity rum drink.

I’m really curious how it will be when the house in Ridgway is complete though (we’re about 50% of the way through that project).  Will I still want to travel?  Or will I feel like I have to “use” that house now that I have it?

I think I’ll figure out the balance…and still do a bit of both.

But I mean really…either way…it’s all ideal!

I’ve been insanely lucky to be able to travel as much as I have.

When I was a kid, we traveled a lot.  I didn’t always appreciate it (because, hello, kids are stupid), but I’m so happy to have been to the awesome places that I’ve been with my family.  My favorite memories growing up include many, many family vacations.

(It helps that my family kicks ass.)

Travel continues to be an important part of my life, especially in my life with Mike.  We’ve been to some amazing places, and I feel very fortunate to look back and think about them.

Some of these vacations have been very busy, switching locations every couple of days.  Some have been long, with a week spent in a single location.

A few have been lazy, spending days lounging around and getting too much sun.

And others have been adventurous, spent in tiny hostels, with days spent exploring – and getting lost – on foot, freezing because we didn’t pack enough warm clothes.

But this question is about my ideal vacation…

When I think of “vacation”, I automatically think of the beach.

This is funny, because I have quite the aversion to sand… and copious amounts of sun… and I think salt water is kind of icky.

(It’s a good thing I live in a land-locked state, huh?)

But what’s more ideal than sitting on the beach (or at least near a beach), reading, dipping your toes in the water, and drinking frozen beverages with little umbrellas in them?

I’m a fan of the relaxing vacations.  The ones where you don’t really have to worry about much.

I’ve had some great vacations in busy cities where we always had something to do and somewhere to be.  The big cities are fun and exciting, but I can only handle those for a few days.

But the sitting and reading and sipping in the sun?  I can do that for muuuuuuuch longer.

When Mike and I first started traveling together, we had different views of travel.  For me, it was all about lounging around and afternoon naps and reading half a dozen books.  Mike liked that stuff, but he also didn’t want to waste our time or miss out on things.

After nine years of traveling together, and lots of different destinations (huge cities, remote beaches, and quiet mountain towns), we’ve perfected a nice balance.  We spend about half of our time on the exciting stuff: the sightseeing and visiting and running around.  But in between those busy days, we have times to relax and hang out.  To spend all day under an umbrella on the beach, reading and eating sandwiches out of a cooler.

(And Mike knows he has to keep as much sand off of me as possible.)

(Because it’s gross.)

So, my “ideal” vacation?  Somewhere beautiful with big, bright flowers.  Days that are a mix of adventure and afternoon naps.  Some tour buses or sightseeing, but also days by the pool.

And if there are frozen alcoholic beverages thrown in?  Well then it’s pretty damn perfect.

(ESPECIALLY if those frozen beverages are served IN A POOL.  But I’m not too picky.)

(But really, a bar IN A POOL.  What genius came up with that gem?)