Monday, May 2, 2011

Is It Vacation or Is It Travel?

Little River Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
April 29, 2011

I am of the opinion that you are either born with it or you aren't and the gene may or may not perpetuate itself from generation to generation.  I am talking about the spirit of wanderlust. defines it as "a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about."   Thanks to my mother, I was born with it!  However, my only sister would rather eat dirt than pack a suitcase and from childhood, she managed to make life miserable for the rest of us because she so hated riding in a car.  Mr. B, on the other hand, was not born with it nor did his family take many vacations.  Time off from work was for the purpose of "doing things around the house."  Since that isn't something normally covered in pre-marital counseling, you might understand that there were some tense moments during our first few years of marriage when it came time to plan what we would do on days off from work!!  But as the years have passed, he has truly come around and now enjoys "travel" as much as I do.  I love the planning and he is such a happy-go-lucky type of guy that whatever I plan is totally o.k. with him.

In our mid-30's, we set the goal to retire in our early 50's so that we could divide our time between personal travel and volunteer travel opportunities around the world.  Things change and careers go in different directions, but we never strayed far from the original plan.  When Mr. B accepted his current position at one of our community colleges, he had no idea that it would become his dream job.  But as things have a way of working themselves out, we realized that he could continue working as long as he liked, yet we'd still have plenty of time to wander around the USA and occasionally abroad.  I retired for good in 2002 and the fact hat he truly loves what he is doing is just icing on the cake!  So that is a short explanation of how it is that we are able to roam around the country during the months of May and June.  

We spent so many years juggling vacations where one spends one or two weeks frantically trying to see and do everything that returning to work is almost a blessing.  That is why those of us with "wanderlust" like to "travel" rather than take a vacation.  On our upcoming trip, we will spend five weeks in the state of Colorado.  We will take one week to get there and one week to get back home.  We will travel backroads as much as possible and we will enjoy spending nights in smaller communities where we can truly "experience" what it would be like to live there.  It's less about doing things and more about meeting people and understanding what is special about that place.

As I've pondered these things, as always, I relate the two concepts to my weight-loss journey.  I've always been interested in the variety of mindsets I see from fellow bloggers regarding "vacation."  For many, it's a time to  let loose and take a "vacation" from EVERYTHING including healthy eating and they are willing to deal with the consequences later.  For others, it's the mindset that healthy eating is a lifelong journey and the same good choices can be made when on vacation that are made at home.  For me, part of the concept of "travel" vs. "vacation" is the fact that we try to keep our routines similar to those we follow at home.  We are just following those routines in a different place.  Because of the increased amount of physical activity when we travel, I actually tend to LOSE weight!  We enjoy visiting local "eateries" and trying new things that are unique to certain parts of the US, but for the most part, we remain true to our healthy eating habits.  We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination and to be able to afford the travel we enjoy, certain sacrifices must be made.  Those include staying in cabins/cottages/hotels with kitchen facilities and preparing most of our own meals.  

So as the days count down to our May 10 departure, part of the planning process is reminding ourselves that we will be "traveling" on a great adventure and that healthy eating will "travel" with us.  We want and need to feel our best!  We want and need to enjoy the stamina and energy levels achieved when our bodies have been fed exactly what they need.  This is no time to take a "vacation."

What about you?  Were you or were you not born with the spirit of "wanderlust?"


  1. I love traveling! And going on vacation. :) For me there's the happy in-between of eating healthy foods because that's what I want and enjoying some indulgences because I'm doing something new and wonderful. But then, that's how I live every day, so it's not surprising I do that when I'm not at home. :) So far, I haven't found any consequences, if we don't count the slight indigestion from having eaten a hot dog at the ball park on my most recent trip. :)

  2. I'm sort of cheap so have not traveled much over the years by most standards. BUT my goal with my empty nest is to do a lot more! Have to admit that local food is often part of our vacation experience.

  3. I like the long weekends, not so much the long trips. There's a lot to see within 200 miles in any direction. Except the beach, but that can be done in 3 or 4 days, too.

  4. Both??? I enjoy a trip for sure, but I'm generally glad to get home too.

  5. I'm not really sure. I guess I do enjoy traveling, but I'm always glad to be back at home too.

    I hope you'll be blogging from the road Sharon. I'm sure you'll have alot to share in the coming days and weeks. And when you get back, I'd love it if we could get together for another hike.

  6. Definitely born with a travel spirit, at least as a young adult! I traveled to the Netherlands when I was just a "kid" of 18 and met my pen pal, who became my life partner. When are kids were little we camped a lot vs traveling any where far. Now that we are financially more comfortable he comes with me on all my professional travels. He is the one that sets everything up, which is great!!

    I have a hard time sticking to good eating, more because of my schedule when I am traveling, although I do get good exercise in usually. I have found that for me having a small lunch box that I pack in my suitcase is a great way to have my snacks ready. I travel again in three weeks for two weeks. I will take that lunch box and pack a number of foods that will be hard to get where we will be in my suitcase.

    Look forward to reading more about your travel adventures to CO. One of my best friends lives in Rifle.

  7. I am envious that you and your husband have such a flexible schedule that you can pick up and go pretty much when you want. I thought that would be the life I would be living now because my husband would be retired and we could wander cheerfully for the next few years -- except that he continually postpones retirement. Sigh.... Do you have any plans to retire in Colorado? Your planned trip sounds wonderful.