VACATION

Can a vacation also be a trip?

Here’s a question for you. Is a “trip” a “vacation” or are they two different events?







Kathleen Gerken (copy) (copy)

Kathleen Gerken


This year the Elf (my term of endearment for my husband for many reasons – including that he assures me he knows Santa) and I celebrate 50 years of marriage. We decided in January we would do some special things throughout the year, so in the spring we took a vacation and in October we went on a trip.

Ah! Vacations! Those wonderful times where the days seem endless, money is spent like Monopoly game currency, and you are truly carefree. Vacations leave you rested and better able to deal with the daily grind we call life. They fill you with a sense of calm that you feel deep in your bones. Vacations allow you to reconnect with your soul and help you to reset and recognize priorities. These are times for reflection and yes, even goal-setting. They’re times to promise yourself you will do better, be happier, be kinder.

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Vacations means lollygagging over a cup of coffee and the morning paper. If you’re lucky, they involve water and sand, early morning walks on the beach and good books read near a pool with the ever-present fragrance of sunscreen. There’s the sound of waves, the warmth of the sun and a cool dip into the water.

It means waking early to see the sunrise or staying up late waiting for the moon to send its silvery path across the water as if it was a road you could step on to. It never gets old.

Vacations mean there are generally two decisions to be made each day. The first decision is “Should we go do something fun or sit by the pool in the morning?” The second is “Where shall we have dinner?” There is no wrong answer. Vacations are slower paced than your day to day. It is a time to breathe deeply.

A trip, on the other hand, is structured and scheduled. It requires coordinating time, arranging for tours and guides and sometimes venturing out alone with a multilingual dictionary. Trips are up in the morning, off to the bus or boat and be sure to be back on time or we will leave without you!

Trips are fun and exciting and it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone to improve your world view. A trip involves new knowledge and a better understanding of our fellow travelers in this life by meeting new people, exploring the past in age-old buildings and learning about historical events and places.

Trips take us to places we’ve longed for, places we’ve dreamed of, places we’ve read about and places our ancestors came from. Trips help us to see what came before and give us insight to new cultures, foods and experiences. Trips make us better citizens of the broader world.

I would be hard pressed to decide which I prefer. Each has its own allure and value. Probably the best plan would be a trip followed by a vacation. But wait! As I ponder trips vs. vacations, I realize there are other possibilities. There are the “overnight, the “getaway” and the “visit.” The “visit” fits both criteria, depending if you are the visitor or the host, so I think visits are more complicated.

Visits could be dangerous. There’s the risk of overstaying your welcome. Hmmm. Clearly these new possibilities will require more research. I better tell the Elf to pack his bags. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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