Off The Beaten Path: Vaca Or Stayca, It’s Time

Time goes by. It’s winter, then summer, then winter again. I know some children, grown older, whose lives were marked by Christmas, then summer vacation, then Christmas, then summer vacation again.

Whatever the season or reason, with pandemic guidelines now relaxed, many individuals, groups, and families have taken, or are planning on taking, vacations, staycations, migrations, isolations, call it whatever you like. It doesn’t cost anything, travel checks (does anyone use them anymore?), frequent flier/honor points, or plastic, to live vicariously through our fellow humans’ experiences and impressions. That’s what this is all about.

Whether your ideal holiday or holistay, as the Brits say, is fishing in Minnesota, cruising down the Panama Canal, dining on Gibraltar, birdwatching on the Galápagos Islands, backpacking in the Pyrenees, or running through the sprinkler in your backyard, everyone needs a break from this journey called life once in awhile. It’s exhilarating and refreshing.

Without further ado… (or a-don’t), randomly selected individuals, given an opportunity to disclose whatever identity they so chose, were asked these two questions: 1) What was your favorite vacation? 2) What is your dream vacation?

Here’s what Figment had to say:

My favorite vacation was a week in Freeport, Bahamas…swam with the dolphins, time on the beach, beautiful scenery. Next favorite — driving the road to Key West, all the way to mile 0! Also stopping to see the world’s largest lobster! My dream vacation would be to follow my roots to Sweden and Norway with family!

Sock Monkey Mom shared:

I have been on 13 cruises so far, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Mediterranean, South America and next year a 67-day cruise from London to Jordan, but one stands out from the rest.

One Christmas my husband and I took 15 family members and friends on one of the first Disney cruises. The ship was called the Big Red Boat, but it was more like a tugboat. Not fancy and very basic in its decorations. Disney wanted to see if they could add this type of experience to their Disney parks experience in Orlando.

Our families gathered at the port of Fort Lauderdale from Illinois, Michigan and Colorado for this five-day cruise in the Caribbean. Ages were from 2 years to 90 years. The only requirement we put on our families was to all be there for dinner. Other than that people were free to enjoy the cruise however they wanted.

On Disney’s own island, one grandma took off her knee-high stockings and put her feet in the sand for the first time in 90 years. The over-70s group met for a pre-dinner Jack Daniel’s toast one night. The two-year-old was kept on a leash when on the ship’s deck. Lots of pool time and fun in the sand and ocean happened.

There was no sign of it being a Christmas cruise until we awoke Christmas morning to see all the fully decorated and lit Christmas trees on every deck. Wow! That same day Santa paid us a visit by motorboat as we approached one of our stops. While you might say “how much did this cost”? Well, quite a bit. But when we came home to Des Plaines, the lights and heat still went on and our hearts were filled with all the love we experienced on this memorable family cruise. I would do this vacation again in a heartbeat.

Generation Jones Michigander has this to say:

My favorite vacations are the kind where you point yourself towards a destination and see what you can find along the way… I traveled from my house in the northwest suburbs of Detroit to the Traverse City area in the northwest part of the lower peninsula of Michigan… set the GPS to avoid highways, and stopped every-time I saw something that caught my eye and shot some video.

Another similar trip was along the historical route of Grand River Road from downtown Detroit across the state to Muskegon. One of the highlights of that trip was finding an antique flywheel tractor by the side of a road in the middle of nowhere. So, I guess I like to improvise, and other than knowing when I need to be back, figuring it out as I go.

My dream vacation would be to visit Haiti, get off anything that looks like a tourist track, and find a way to participate in a ceremony of dance, music, drumming and be possessed by a Vodoun Loa…
Ahoy! Popeye the Sailor Man commented:

My favorite vacation is cruising to anywhere. My dream vacation is cruising for an extended period of time.

A very plebeian local family answered:

We were just discussing earlier today our favorite vacation. One that stands out is to the Y camp at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It was wonderful.

Boy Mom from McHenry County explains:

My favorite vacation is going Up North to St. Germain, Wisconsin, with my family.

Lake life at its finest. Coffee on the dock with the buzz of dragonflies in my ear. Everyday is easy like Sunday morning. Sunsets that color the sky. Clouds reflecting in the lake. Bullfrogs singing at night.

Eagles soaring and diving for fish. The excitement from my boys, especially when they have a fish on the line. Golfing as a family. The lifelong memories of this heart home. The cool lake and the warmth of the sun as I float. Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Go karts and putt-putt golf. Old fashions, friendly locals, muffin bread toast, danishes, super clubs… Flea market finds, visits from deer, chipmunks and other woodland creatures. The dark night and stillness of stargazing. The gentle ripple of the water and sand between my toes.

Right now, because it changes, my dream vacation would be Scotland, England, visiting distant relatives in Wales, taking the train under the English Channel to Paris… with my husband and sons. Castles, churches, history, country side, seaside, museums and sightseeing. Golf! Hikes and pubs and art!

Our South American Romantic correspondent reported:

My personal favorite vacation was a couple years ago when I traveled to the Galapagos Islands. I liked it because society there is built around the wildlife and protecting the natural resources. Adapting to change is constant. It’s the only place in the world, so far, where I felt that we, humans, were the visitors and not the owners of the land. The place also has an interesting story, culture, and good food!

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific dream vacation place, as I’ve always wanted to go on an Asian Tour, visiting the likes of Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. There’s appeal for me in the cultural sense, as a Westerner being able to dive and experience eastern culture, history, traditions and gastronomy. I see it as a vacation to expand horizons and further learn more about other cultures and the rich history they possess and have accumulated over so many years.

The traveling lovebirds from Des Plaines chirped:

One of our best vacations was to Napa Valley, California. We stayed at a resort for a week to relax. We took a trolley and toured three wineries, tasted and purchased delicious wines, drove to Bodega Bay, had lunch at The Tides Wharf Restaurant, the location for the movie The Birds, took a hot air balloon ride, and had dinner on a wine train before returning home.

So, kids, surf’s up! Let’s get planning! Pilots or no pilots, gas prices as they are, cruise ship deals or not, break out the sprinkler in the backyard, for while school bells may be tolling, spring break is just around the corner!

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