Throughout our travels, we’ve come to a stark realization: all travel is not the same! We have learned this lesson the hard way, many times over. Finally, it clicked. Sometimes you need to spread your wings and fly; while other times you need to curl up in the fetal position, and not feel guilty for being less than a trailblazer or troubadour. The big issue is figuring out which mode of travel suits your current life situation, and not trying to force feed one into a space for which it will not fit.
Well then, what are the differences? Let’s start with vacations for instance. Vacations are trips that depart point A for point B and leave the major source of entertainment largely open, and your time is mostly spent lounging. A vacation is going to look more tentative and flexible to the first glance. The distance from home isn’t so important, just that there is a change in scenery, a change in “normal.” See, at a certain point humans are creatures of habit, and when we form habits it generally leads to reliability, predictability, and high levels of mental and physical exhaustion! So then, a vacation is a break from all that! When are we waking up tomorrow? When we wake up. What are we doing tomorrow? Let’s cross that fine bridge whenst we come to it, shall we. The overlying theme of it all, is rejuvenating your bones and breathing some life back into the suffocated parts…a resuscitation of sorts. Vacation, it means rest.
Two tells of needing a vacation:
- Are you an hour-gobbler? Do you compete with yourself to see how long you can stay at work each day, regardless of what the punch clock says? Have you had your sick-time allotment capped at the company max in the pursuit of your fourth head cold in as many months? Is your job one of the “on-call” variety in which, you are never truly off the clock? You need a chance to slow down, change your pace, and look at the world through a different pair of specs for a good minute.
- Consistency = a good thing. Reliability = a good thing. Ability to pay the bills = a very good thing. I wouldn’t contest those items in the slightest. To those of you possessing these traits, much respect. But at the same time, I raise you: Longevity = important. Family time = priceless. Carving out a set of margins in life is crucial, space to process, space to recharge, space to plan and take ahold of your future…they don’t creep up on you, in fact…they are much more the elusive types. You must aggressively seek margins, to have them at all.
The Life Change Specialist.
- Have a baby in the last year-and-a-half (or go through the 316 hoops of the adoption process)? Did you switch career fields altogether? Switch addresses? Graduate college, get married, get divorced, or graduate from basic-training/tech-school? Have you, six times a week for the past remember-able set of months, awoken to the thought, “Wow, I just need so much more of the sleeps!” I’m going to level with you, look to slow down and take a breath…and soon. Life change is not simply a succession of events, nor is it just some abstract time-line! Life change takes time, and must be processed properly, thoroughly. It will not process itself, you must take the time to retreat, and do inventory. Your long-term health depends on it, and your future self, thanks you in advance!
- Variety is the spice of life. But if you empty the spice rack into each and every dish, each and every day, it all muddles into tasteless monotony. Change can become its own form of constancy. Break out of the mold for a moment, take time to connect your senses into the world around you! See if that two-day rendezvous at the beach doesn’t perk up your soul. A weekend camping in the woods, or by nearly any lake in the world, awakens the part of yourself that instead of being sad, is awesome instead. The amount of time is not the point, the act of taking time absolutely is. Life is too short to think life is too short to take a break. Personally, I have felt that time only tells the complete truth. So, if I may be so bold, take time…and see how much more like the real you, you feel like. You can’t afford not to do so.
Which brings us to adventure. This trip style can be many things, and look varyingly different as well; but the main ingredient in an adventure is the focal point of the trip being focused on discovery. Learning a new skill, coming into contact with that which was prior an unknown and taking a step outside of your comfort zone comprise some of the most pivotal aspects of an adventure. Where a vacation is a resuscitation and chance to square up to life while taking a breath, adventure is a chance to step on the gas, floor it, and get some stories to tell…stories you don’t have to finish with, “and then I found twenty dollars!” Adventure, it means trial by fire. It means flipping the script. It means grabbing life by the metaphorical horns, and metaphorically strapping a jet-pack to them…I mean, you still wear seatbelts and eat your vegetables, but you unleash your inner mullet. We all have one. True story.
Two tells of needing an adventure:
Stuck On Loop
- Worked at the same place since you were in your early twenties? Lack a fresh perspective, or are all of your “new ideas,” just sounding like rehashed versions of former victories from an earlier time in your life? Do you eat the same subset of 10 meals every 10 days, or eat at the same three restaurants when trying to decide what to eat that night? Do you and/or your family return to the same vacation destination every year? OR, and this one may be controversial, have you polished off your 3 series on Netflix in the last three months?
- Consistency keeps the world spinning, sure thing boss! But, it also has a way of building up complacency, apathy, and limitations. A good way to combat the sucker punches of monotony that life all-too-often throws our way, is to break out on adventure. Crush the normalcy that can put life into a monotone, and do something in stark contrast to what you do for a living. Sit at a desk for work? Try driving a stick-shift on the ever aggressive Autostrada in Italy. Work with loud machinery or at a machine shop? Get into nature, and find out where green tea or wine comes from. Haven’t spent much time with your family, and still don’t have much time to spend? Make a good memory in the meantime by road-tripping over a state-line just for that insanely good and notorious burger. All things considered, you’ll certainly learn something new about yourself, in the very least.
The Winter is Finally Over
- In the North, winters seem to drag on…on…on…and on. When they finally end, we in the North feel a freedom of release, but often don’t know what to do with this pent up energy. This is why going for a walk in our Twin Cities neighborhoods in March/April, we will walk past x-number of houses, and see nearly all of the inhabitants of those homes sitting outside of them. Because I believe, it is our body’s way of telling us, “Let’s go somewhere! Let’s do something! I’m tired of that place in there.” In the South, it is the extreme heat of the summer that oppresses, but similar concept.
- Life, like the calendar of a year, is broken up into seasons. When long seasons in your life have just recently ended, adventure, and speeding up is a good way to make sure you are not simply settling into that which is right in front of you. Don’t just sit in your yard. Get out and see who you are now; who you are on the precipice of the journey you are about to embark on. See who you are now that your spouse is gone. Give yourself the opportunity to see if you can’t just stand right back up, but this time, maybe on a surf or snowboard. See who you are now that the book is published, or the series of deadlines have been satisfied. Give yourself more to write about by learning the history of the culturally rich Mayans on your way to Chichen Itza. See who you are now, now that your children are all out the door. Sometimes, mid-season, we can drift off the center-line of who we are as people. It is good to keep tabs on who you are becoming/have become. “Know thyself,” said Socrates. People change, just make sure that when you change, your mind is made aware of this restructuring. To find oneself, one must first look!
All things considered, only you can answer where you’re at in life. Vacation is a chance to breathe, to assess and process. It values togetherness, slow-paces, serenity, and flexibility. Adventure is your chance to push the limits, to redefine and discover. It values memorable experiences, mass in-take, new skill-sets, and former unknowns. An adventure when you need a vacation will leave you waking up with a chip on your shoulder, mad because you need more REM to make life fun again. Inversely, a vacation when you crave an adventure will have you fidgeting at the beach anxiously waiting for the sun to set. They both play an integral part in our lives, and if chosen judiciously, will enrich your life, your family’s life and provide balance through sustainability. There is value in all types of travel, just make sure you do!