A New Year's Resolution: Vacation Less, Travel More
Some of you may be scratching your heads while thinking “Karolam, to vacation IS to travel”. I used to think so too, just a short couple of years ago.
As 2019 has now come to an end and we start thinking about this year's travel plans, I’m here to challenge you to include a NYE resolution that may have not crossed your mind as of yet. Vacation less, and Travel more.
When you hear the word “vacation”, you associate it with “relaxation”. A trip where alarms aren’t set, people are doing things for you, and you have no worries.
Travel is different. Travel can be messy. Travel can be dirty. Travel is hard work, yet a thousand times more valuable.
I have plenty of friends who only book all-inclusive resorts anywhere they go, spend the day eating/drinking/napping on a beach, and then are ready to hit the club at night. Although this can be fun to do, the problem with ONLY doing this is it keeps you trapped in the same bubble you came from.
Personally, I understand both sides. I grew up with a father who had led a very nomadic lifestyle up and down the Americas and cherished every second of it. He preached the value of traveling and getting to know the world through different eyes. He knew the importance of traveling like local, not a tourist. I also understand the “vacation” side. Growing up in the United States, plenty of my friends and their families have only taken the resort style trips and it becomes the only experience they’ve ever known.
When you really travel, you learn relaxing isn’t a guarantee. It means waking up at sunrise ready to start your day since there is so much to go see and do. It means napping is probably left towards the end of the trip or in between car/train rides to places. And I promise, this is something you’ll like if you get it in mindset that you are there to experience cultures and people.
Traveling really pushes you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, I cringe looking back at what I used to think were necessary accommodations. Staying in a hostel was never an option. It became a reality when I was down in the Quintana Roo region of Mexico and my best friend had planned it that way. It was a cute little hostel in the jungle. We didn’t have A/C in the hut, had mosquito canopy nets over our beds, and the shower was a spigot coming from the wall. However, the beauty of the layout is that you were thrown constantly in the midst of strangers, and it forced me to interact with fellow travelers. TBH, sharing a living space with people of different backgrounds is a unique experience unlike any other. Also, there really is an inner peace to becoming less high maintenance for me. You begin the see the world differently.
I can’t deny that I still try to make time to go see some tourist attractions while out traveling to a new city. But I also spend time trying to learn what it’s like to live there. Paying ridiculous tourist prices and waiting long lines won’t be as attractive when you really learn what your destination has to offer besides these “hot spots”.
There is true beauty that comes from exploring outside of your comfort zone. From trekking hours to get to that beautiful destination, braving the hot or cold, trying new foods you never see back at home, meeting locals/sharing experiences, and sleeping in between long road trips to catch up on sleep, you end up transforming into someone else. Someone who understands the different kinds of beauty in the world, and that while we are here we might as well d a n c e.