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Travel Vs. Vacation

February 24, 2022

Everyone loves a vacation, and rightfully so. We all need an occasional break from the daily routine, to get out of the house and change up the scenery. Relaxing, drink in hand, by the pool, we think to ourselves “Oh, I wish I could travel like this more often.”

But do you? Do you wish you could travel more often, or do you like vacationing? There is a substantial difference between the two, and often people who claim to have a love for travel, do not step beyond the confines of their Cancún resort. Vacationers ignore the beautiful Mayan culture that has existed in the Yucatan Peninsula for centuries and flock to the beaches to drink their piña coladas. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it is important to distinguish this from travel. 

Experienced travelers know the ups and downs of a trip, and understand that it’s not all white sandy beaches and blue-tiled swimming pools. Don’t get me wrong, travel is an amazing experience – it’s just not the illusion that it’s been made out to be, but special in its own way. To make up for the rainy days, hostel lodging, and taxi traffic, travelers experience and learn culture –  language, food, clothing. They get to know the people they meet, building a global network of friends with insight from across the world. Travel is a sort of give and take in the sense that you give your time, respect, and your open mind, and receive a wealth of information in exchange, incomparable to any education. Experienced traveler Alec Koscielniak ’22 recounted his experience in the Rocky Mountains while on a backpacking trip to the Spanish Peaks to me. He talked about the terrible gnats that went in his mouth and swarmed his food. To make matters worse, their group found a wildfire that was closing in on their camp site. Scaling 6,000 ft of mountain in 45 min, Alec’s group narrowly escaped. This is a true travel experience that highlights the sometimes dangerous side of travel, but this is an experience that Alec will have for the rest of his life.

Vacationing has its perks as well, but it’s just not the same. It comes with pool-side cocktails or pan chocolat in a French style café (probably in the middle of Naples, Florida). Now don’t get me wrong – this sounds incredible, but a distinction must be made. This is not traveling. This does not mean that you like to travel, simply say that you like to vacation. Danny Miller proudly recounts one of his more recent vacations to Cancún, Mexico, where he stayed in an amazing resort. When asked about it, he said it was “very relaxing to not worry about life for a week and to just sit by the ocean.” Yes –  this sounds incredible, but it’s a lot different than Alec’s near-death experience. 

Travel and vacation both come with their pros and cons, but ultimately, either one is a step out of the daily routine and into the world. Ultimately, it is good for us to get out of the house and take some time for ourselves. Whether this time is spent on the beach, surfing the breakline, or scaling mountains, it’s up to personal preference. I hope that this article inspires you to step out of your comfort, or into your comfort, but most importantly, out of your house. Go take some time to do something you love, have a new experience, and see a bit more of the world. It’s worth it.

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