Friday, March 12, 2010

Where Should I Travel?

Have you ever considered that part of what makes a great vacation is looking forward to coming home again? I'm all for getting away, experiencing new things, and shaking up the daily grind - but sometimes it's hard to see the point of leaving if you're just going to have to come back to the same problems you left behind.

I realized this when I was doing nothing in the middle of nowhere on a long weekend in December and I couldn't help but consider that my life could feel much easier like this vacation if my boyfriend didn't have dogs. It was somewhat disappointing after that to return to the kennel we call home and proceed with life and jobs and chores as usual. Obviously, stress and obligations can never be totally eliminated, but I believe that people should intentionally design their lives to feel enjoyable and a bit like a permanent vacation, rather than feeling so overworked and harried that there's a constant need to take a vacation. That way travel can offer inspiration and adventure, not just escapism. What do you think?

This has been on my mind lately because reminiscing about Belgium finally got me to overcome my reluctance to travel and got me interested in dreaming up a new adventure - but can't decide where. To an eco-tent in the Caribbean, or would I get bored with all the relaxing? To Paris, to give the city a second chance over my cold, gray, and impersonal memory of it, with side trips to sip wine in Bordeaux and feast on markets in Provence? To Spain, to relive my love affair with palm-treed Seville, stay up late in Madrid, and eat more ham this time? To Italy, to savor three-cheese gnocchi, drink limoncello, hike the cinque terra, and venture to an island like Capri or Sardinia?

I've been looking for deals (after all, that is how we ended up in Belgium - because it was cheaper than traveling to Italy), but I'm leaning toward Europe over the Caribean, and the flights to Europe are all expensive. And if it's going to be pricey, between the airfare and the prohibitive dog care costs*, and if I'm going to rack up the carbon miles guilt, than this had better be a d*mn good vacation.

So tell me, where should I go? Where are you dreaming of traveling lately? Do you know of any cheap but fun destinations? Where have you been and what insider recommendations can you share?


* For example, boarding the dogs here in New York while away costs more than human lodging cost in Argentina last year. There is something wrong with that.

via flickr

9 comments:

  1. i'm dreaming of italy, and even though i went often growing up, i'm going there for my honeymoon in august. i haven't been in a decade and that's way too long, plus my boyfriend's never been, so i'd really like him to get to know a place that was a big part of my life for so long.
    a few places i've been dying to go to though, are india and morocco. not exactly cheap destinations, i know.
    how about a four day weekend in quebec city? or nova scotia? if you want something warmer, maybe a trip to key west?

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  2. don't know if you've ever been, but i went to costa rica for my honeymoon, and it was both amazing and mad cheap. i would highly recommend it, especially if you're into more of a nature/outdoorsy environment.

    personally, i've never been to spain, but i'd love to go as soon as i have the opportunity!

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  3. We checked on Costa Rica for our honeymoon (June), and it was crazy cheap because of the time of year (rainy season). However, in April, it was still only about 430 - not too bad. In June it was around 200!

    Europe is crazy expensive. We were going to go there, but in June the flights are like 1400 to most places. Icky! I would suggest making a list of possibilities, and then checking the flights first to help you pick.

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  4. We've been DREAMING of going back to Nicaragua--lame, I know! We should dream about somewhere new, but we just fell in love with the place. It's like an affordable and non-touristy Costa Rica, and super eco-tourist friendly, and just a chill place full of lakes and volcanoes.

    That said, I always recommend people go to Morocco. It's not cheap, but definitely more affordable in Europe, and mindblowingly gorgeous in terms of food, culture, landscape. No one has ever not loved Morocco.

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  5. i want to go back to china... i daydream about that.

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  6. Oh I know the wanderlust! And I want to go pretty much everywhere. Everywhere but here...

    Europe is top of my list at the moment, being so close to me and all.

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  7. Giovanna - that's so exciting that you'll get to share your Italian roots with the new husband! I do want to do a Novia Scotia/Prince Edward Island trip someday, during a warm month.

    Rachael - Costa Rica is definitely on my list of places to visit someday. I'll have to hit you up for recommendations if/when I go. Glad to be chatting with you again via the blog!

    accordiansandlace - I dream about returning to places I've visited too. I think it makes sense actually - to want to go somewhere where have such good memories, we'd know it better and travel more easily the second time around, but it would still give a sense of the exotic. Thanks for the tip about Nicarauga. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure my boyfriend is one of the rare people who would not love Morocco (don't ask).

    very married - you'll have to tell me about your time in China. I'm so curious what your experience was like, but I forgot to ask when I saw you.

    agirl - my wanderlust wishes I could take 3 or 4 weeks off to backpack around Europe, which is not going to happen right now. You should go to Europe...you can take advantage of those cheapo European airlines.

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  8. Sounds like you have traveled WAY more than I have! I've only been around the US, and my one big trip was the Paris trip last year. That's it for me! I hope to go to the UK next, to visit my cousins in Scotland. But that may not be for a few more years. :(

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  9. I know I'm late with this, but I thought of something today that made me think of this post - what about one of those holidays where you go to Thailand and work in the jungle with the elephants? (I'm not being very clear, very vague, very tired!) I don't know what they're called but you volunteer to spend a week, two weeks, whatever, and work on this elephant thing (I don't want to say "farm" because it's not as if they're farming them... Habitat? I don't know).

    Not everyone's cup of tea, but from what I've read, they sound amazing - up close with nature, doing something for the animals, sleeping in the jungles, AND because you're doing something for the environment/endangered animals, it kind of neutralises the carbon emissions guilt! :)

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