Don’t Confuse Travel with Vacation

We travel…a lot. In the last 6 weeks, we’ve now had 4 trips. Even for us, that’s more than normal.  It’s been rather exhausting.  First world problems, I know.  But don’t confuse travel to new (or old) destinations as a vacation. To me, vacation is about relaxing, having no time table and just decompressing.  Travel is about going places, for us, often a quick in and out visit,which is anything but relaxing.  It’s about exploring and often times we don’t have enough time to do that at a leisurely pace.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel. We love to explore and sometimes we only have a few days to fit a lot of activities in which means we don’t get much time to relax. But at least once or twice a year, it’s great to escape the daily grind and just do…nothing. That’s what our current trip to the Algarve is all about. Sleeping in, sun, sand, reading, relaxing and just being spontaneous as each day meanders by – figuring it all out as we go.

Vacation is about spending quality time with the ones you love.  As the saying goes, “live, laugh, love”.  That is how I feel about vacation.  I relax.  I mellow out (my family may say otherwise – but then we’ve you’ve spent the entire day talking about penises, farting and other “boy” stuff, you may find it hard to be super mellow too).  And I do my best not to think about my to do list or in this stage of my life, the next steps in my career.  I try to live in the now and the now is all about this moment.  Not the one in an hour or 12 hours or tomorrow.  But right now.  For me, that’s no easy task, but to come back from vacation feeling relaxed and ready to conquer the world, it’s important to take this time for me (and my family).

While it’s great taking a vacation in the middle of the summer, our kids only get 6 weeks off from school and the majority of that is now spent in the US which, no offense, is anything but vacation for me – with (wonderful) visits taking up morning, noon and night of every single day.  It’s usually anything but relaxing – though I’m working on that (and last year was our best trip yet as far as taking things a day at a time).  It’s a lot of fun and we love being there but often I need a vacation from that vacation 😉

And so our vacation time is now spent during the shoulder season or the Christmas holidays.  The kids get two weeks off around the end of April / beginning of May which is a beautiful time in many places.  Taking a vacation in the shoulder season can often times be much better than during the peak season and bonus, is often much cheaper than the peak season, even if it means not everywhere is open yet and the temperatures aren’t at their highest.

Right now we are in the Algarve during shoulder season.  The temperatures are ranging from upper 60s to low 70s (it, of course, will hit mid 70s here next week when we are in Aveiro).  It might not seem that hot but coming from a country where it’s gloomy and gray most of the time and the temps have only occasionally glimpsed the 60 degree mark this spring, we will absolutely take it.  70 is warm enough for the beach.  It may not be super warm to swim (with the Atlantic still being a tad cold) but it’s perfect weather for walking along the beach or a boardwalk and not feeling like you need a shower from the extreme heat.  It means cool mornings filled with sunshine while reading a book on the balcony.  And it means that this otherwise very touristy area, is not yet filled with people fleeing their gloomy weather for sunshine yet!

So while we love to travel, I’m very much enjoying these 10 days of just relaxing and decompressing.  In fact, up til this morning, I hadn’t even worried about the blog, figuring it can wait til we get back.  But when the inspiration to write takes hold, I can’t fight it! Our lives are on high speed when we get back to the Netherlands up until a few days before school gets out in mid July (yes, mid July – ahhhhhh).  I’ve got all the time in the world to be busy when we get back, so I’m going to take this moment to shut down my computer and go read a book 🙂

Stories and pictures to come of our trip when we get back!!

Knuffels en kussen,


3 thoughts on “Don’t Confuse Travel with Vacation

  1. Another American expat living in the Netherlands here – great post! Just back from a work trip + travel time in Dublin, and this leisurely Kings Day feels more like proper vacation.


      • Yes, it wasn’t the best weather for being outside. There were moments of sun in Nijmegen though! We moved here last July from Cleveland, working in the life sciences. Enjoy your proper vacation!

        Liked by 1 person

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