The joy of summer...
I'll be the first to admit, I love winter because of my skiing addiction. However, my better half isn't a skier so the camaraderie and shared experience doesn't exist. This may sound trivial, but I sometimes think the best part of discovering new places is sharing the journey.
When you're young with a restricted budget, anywhere affordable is a beautiful place. New England is an easy drive from the NYC area and always extends a warm greeting. The colonial charm, charismatic harbors and colorful buoys can only be surpassed by the delight of camping with a little fishing on the side. It's hard not to enjoy the coastal towns from Connecticut to Maine. Oh yea... and a stop at the flagship LL Bean store in Maine can only be considered a bonus!
Many a day has since come & gone since the above mentioned vacation(s), but one thing remains: I still enjoy camping. I sense this will always be the case. The complexity of life meeting a four person tent has a unique way of simplifying the important elements of daily existence. It's more of the collecting moments and things mind set.
At the end of the day, something so basic... Sleep/Eat/Play... can be so refreshing (sorry - couldn't resist the play on words).
What use to be a family event of four has diminished to two participants. It's an evolution of sorts and it comes with emotional side effects. Big boy schedules make it difficult to get everyone in one place. Life also has a habit of evolving into a series of grown up commitments. Getting ewveryone in one place for a holiday these days is a challenge.
My vacation interests have now expanded and are keenly in tune with European culture, cuisine and funny colored money. While I've been across the Atlantic in the past, it's become more of an infatuation as of late. I honestly can't seem to get enough. Toss in the currency differentials that have been favorable for Americans and there's been a strong economic tailwind (think stronger dollar, weaker Euro). I thought the jet stream from west to east transported people quickly to Europe? Not true. Let the dollar float freely and appreciate against foreign currencies and people get to England, Spain, France, etc. in record time!
Plenty of destinations get bantered around every year. It's part of the "Where to Next" conversation and the start of the selection process. It's really not a complicated affair and I don't want it to appear as such. With international travel so readily abundant these days, there are so many places easily accessible around the globe. If you think of our parents and grandparents generations, nobody ever discussed traveling to Iceland, Galapagos, etc. Come to think of it, the word airplane wasn't associated with any of my summer vacation discussions. Times have certainly changed.
Side note: Because I've never known the origin of the word vacation, I decided to Google it. What I learned is actually interesting.
The word vacation originated in England and refers to the time teachers and students 'vacated' school. The ones who got away from it all were considered privileged.
In the early part of the 19th century, the elite went away to improve their health. This is a bit perplexing to me as the normal routine during that era was to work six days a week and then rest on the 7th day (i.e. God rested on the seventh day). Religion preached the values of hard work and idle time lead to nothing but trouble.
I'm not sure if I feel privileged, but I will certainly acknowledge being thankful for a host of reasons. Good health being on top of the list.
My pilot light for adventure has been burning for decades. It flickers every once-in-a-while, but never seems to go out. With a little luck, it will continue to fuel my wanderlust into the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, this years 'Where to Next' conversation continues and Portugal seems to be the front runner. Lisbon, Porto and Sintra are rapidly becoming household names. I'm starting to sense cod fish or Pasteis de bacalhau will be on the dining menu in short order.