What’s a vacation? When you ask your friends you’ll find that the answers are quiet varied!
Not only do the answers vary but they also morph over time. When I was in my 20s, a vacation usually meant returning home to be with my family. These trips usually involved a holiday or focused on special projects at my parents’ home. In my 30s, paychecks were kinder to my budget so vacations could be group getaways with family and friends rather than at their homes.
When we began RVing, it was primarily with friends and family, although we mixed in some trips for just the two of us. The long-distance escapes were our personal preference. From North Carolina to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New England, Tennessee, Georgia, and, imagine this … Colorado (hey, it’s a really large state!), a vacation of a few hundred or more miles away was always phenomenal!
Our RV vacations allowed us to travel with other RVers, yet still stay in our own private “homes.” We planned group outings for sightseeing, adventures, and dinner, but back at our RVs we might choose to gather around the campfire, or maybe we’d retreat to our RVs to do whatever it is that married people do when they’re alone.
RVing let us feel at home everywhere we traveled since we had our pets, our own food, and our own books and movies. Yet it let us see the country, take in new scenery and watch the setting sun in a wide variety of scenes: over a lake, across a river, behind mountains, and beyond farm fields.
But what do you DO when you’re on vacation? How do you choose which way to drive?
Some people travel for destination adventures: zip-lining, rafting, kayaking, skiing, horseback riding, or mountain climbing.
Others travel to relax, preferring to listen to the birds, watch for shooting stars, spot a moose, chill by the fire with s’mores and maybe a beverage of preference.
Some plan their vacations around special events: dog shows, dance competitions, fishing tournaments, rodeos, car shows, or tractor pulls.
Still others plan their path by way of their hobby: wine tasting and winery touring, microbrewery sampling, soaking in hot springs, fishing in every lake in the state, or hiking every 14er in Colorado.
We know of some who travel on a mission, such as to sample BBQ in each county of their home state.
Those who travel with youngsters might seek amusement parks, water parks, and things that children adore.
Of course, some do a hodgepodge of all of the above (and a variety of ones not mentioned).
We say, whatever makes you happy! After all, Colorado has all of that, and more! But …
Believe it or not, others are challenged with shaking themselves from their devices and the beckoning of the office, so for them we are borrowing an idea from our neighbors in Kansas. (Yes, you read that correctly! Bear with us as we explain.)
Author and tourism expert Marci Penner shared insight that was gained from a state-wide contest by the Kansas Sampler Foundation when she wrote 8 Wonders of Kansas! Guidebook. The contest raised awareness of the natural and man-made beauty and value that’s found across Kansas.
The book’s categories inspired my own new definition of VACATION: cuisine, geography, art, commerce, architecture, customs, history, and people. Let’s elaborate on my definition:
- Enjoy one fine local meal each day. RVers tend to enjoy at least one or two meals from their own galley, but experiencing some of the local cuisine adds value and atmosphere to every vacation.
- Appreciate the geography of our gorgeous planet. Look at all of the majesty that’s included. From the terrain to the boats and rafts you see in the streams and lakes, the vistas across the fertile fields and over the Rockies, in developed suburban and urban centers … see the wildflowers, birds, ducks, geese, horses, cattle, moose, elk, antelope, and even the random skunk (a bit harder to appreciate).
- See the art of the area, from classic art to current artisans.
- Support local commerce. We prefer making purchases at local farmers markets, wineries, grocery stores, and even veterinary clinics (RVers often travel with pets).
- Let your eyes dance as they study architecture! Yes! How wonderful to really look at buildings of different eras and styles.
- Anyone who’s been to all four corners of our state knows that culture, legends and lore are diverse! Learn of them and enjoy the variety.
- Colorado may be relatively young, becoming a state in 1876, but its history is rich and colorful! Read some of the displayed signs, highway markers, and museum displays. Find out what it was like to mine or how they built roads through the rugged mountains.
- Well, as it turns out, people are everywhere! From those who went before us and those still here, slow down and familiarize yourself with them. Again, our state is full of differences. Let’s embrace and appreciate them!
If you keep those eight categories in mind as you plan and live out your vacations, we believe you just might be able to shake yourself from those devices, ignore the beckoning from the office, and experience a healthy, healing and rejuvenating vacation!
We encourage you to borrow the concept as you plan your future vacations.
Countless blogs and books have been written on the value of taking your vacation days (or the harm of not taking them). The evidence speaks for itself … we all need to take our hard earned vacation time! Not only don’t we go to work just to pay our household bills, but we are healthier and more viable to ourselves, our loved ones and our careers and businesses when we use our vacation days. (Click here for some of those published studies.)