Break out of your old vacation routines
Try something different for your vacation this year like a trip on the iconic riverboat ‘American Queen’ down the Mississippi River. Supplied
We change the colour of the paint on our walls and the style of clothes we like. So why not our travel style? Many of us do the same type of holiday year after year, but as time goes on, sometimes it feels like something is missing.
When my kids were younger and my business was launching, I craved the R&R that an all inclusive resort in Mexico provided. The simplicity of all of the meals being prepared, no dishes afterwards all without having to pull out my wallet, was a slice of paradise. The kids were entertained all day with activities, pools and programming. Sleep was finally an option. A week unplugged is one of the best ways to recharge the batteries.
As the years went on we tried many other holidays — Disney, Hawaii and cruising — but in each I was looking for the R&R that we so badly needed. Now my kids are pretty much grown and so has our travel style. My husband and I finally have time for vacations together without the kids (and still a few with them). What we look for now looks a whole lot different. We have the energy for exploring and our cravings are now based on experiencing something new, exploring new destinations and trying new things. Maybe it’s maturity or maybe it’s a broader world awareness. Who am I kidding? It’s mostly that we now get to sleep the whole night through and finally have the energy to enjoy our travels.
This year we travelled as a family on the American Queen, a paddlewheeler that goes up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Memphis. We loved being able to take the hop on, hop off busses and explore the small towns that invited us in along the river. Many of the towns were the size of Bashaw or Bawlf. Many of them boomed in the early 1900’s and yet today are only a ghost of their former glory. We wandered through local businesses, garden club plantations and even a through a few local parks. Some of it we did as a family together, while other times the kids did their own thing. In some ports they even grabbed the pedal bikes and went for a ride around the local towns. In the end, the trip provided us with something that we were really craving, a time for reconnecting as a family. Each night we gathered in the dining room to share a meal together and to chat about our day. These moments meant so much more on this trip than they had on any other. This was the first year that one of our children was living on their own and quite possibly the last trip before the other moved out as well. This was the first time we had, as a family, done a river cruise, and for this particular trip it was exactly the style of vacation we were looking for.
So how do you know if you’re ready to change your travel style? Well, if you’ve ever felt like you want something more, it might be time to try something new. Far too many times over the years I’ve had clients sit at my desk and sigh, “I guess we will do the same thing again.” It’s great to do the same thing, but only if you really want to. Don’t feel like just because you’ve always done something that you must continue to repeat it. Shake it up a bit. Perhaps a new destination? Chat with your travel professional. They are able to make great suggestions based on you. They have access to ideas you may not even know exist. I remember the first time one of our suppliers came in to train our team. She told us they offered amazing hiking and cycling tours all around the world. I “knew” that this was not for me, but you know what? It turns out it might actually be perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong — there will be no biker shorts on this body, nor will the tours I choose be intense. But with power assist bikes and a wide variety of destinations and paces I do foresee a cycling tour in my near future — perhaps in Croatia?
Sometimes I get the impression people are scared to try something new. Not so much because they won’t like it, but actually from a fear that they may enjoy it too much. What if you discover that there are other ways to travel and that you may not want to go back? While I don’t have all of those answers, I do have this. Take each vacation one at a time. Evaluate what you want for an experience from that one trip — and only that trip. You may find that you have a love of Roman architecture and Greek food or enjoy an afternoon at a French Bistro patio watching the people. You may also discover that you can enjoy all of those things and still return (from time to time) to the comforts of your original style. It could be a madhouse at work, and the chair on the beach in Mexico just calls your name. For that particular trip, it’s perfect.
Not sure where to start? Create a bucket list. Perhaps it’s destinations or maybe even experiences. Write them down. Sometimes the bucket list itself becomes a bit of the map towards new travel styles. There isn’t a wrong answer, there is only your answer. My answer hopefully one day soon (after I win a lottery) will be a world cruise on Regent Seven Seas. Until then I will fill my time with a variety of travel styles.
From weekend getaways, to European explorations to R&R on the beach, my style will vary with each and every trip.
Glenda Beagle is the owner of Marlin Travel in Camrose and is hoping to inspire you to see the world, one story at a time.