Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vacation or Travel?

Today I share with you one of the last images of our week in Sicily. Not because it's one of the best images, but because I need to hold on to this moment just for a little bit longer. This was my view yesterday morning as I sat on the balcony of our hotel room in Taormina. I sat, reading in the sun, as my family lay sleeping inside the room. During these few beautiful moments in the sun as I looked out over the Ionian Sea, I finally got it - the difference between vacation and travel. I finally got why someone would go visit a place with a beach for a whole week without moving. Just sitting in the sun and reading.

You see, we've spent almost the last two years Traveling. Travel, by my definition, is where you go visit someplace new with an intent to see as much as possible. Learn. Move. See more. You pack as much as possible in to your visit, because you will never get to this place again. Life is too short, there is too much to see in the world. We've always travelled this way, even around the US, before living in Italy.

Vacation, by my new definition, is where you sit back and relax. You experience where you are visiting by easing into it. You do see new things, but you give yourself time to enjoy the moment. Sit in the sun on the balcony, if that's what you need. You listen to your body, come back refreshed instead of worn out.

How about you - do you travel or do you vacation?

Slowly, slowly over the last year we've changed our style from our earlier frenetic traveling to vacationing. Instead of moving hotels every one to two days, we stay in one place longer. Moving no more than one or two places in a week. We opt for the "view" room if we can, to give us a place we enjoy staying "in" if that's what we need. We check in with ourselves, and if we don't feel like visiting one more Roman ruin or Medieval town, we don't. Sometimes you just need to sit in a piazza and eat gelato. Or sit on the balcony and read.

We had a wonderful visit to Sicily, you'll see the photos in the coming days. We slowed down and enjoyed our moments - rainy or sunny.. Maybe this is what the whole "Slow Travel" movement is about, I'll have to look into it now. In the meantime, I'm going to gaze at this picture and remember these last few moments in the sun for a bit longer...


  1. Hi Kat,

    I'm so glad you are soaking up the moments fully. When we travel in our old camper-van we stay put for a few days and walk everywhere instead of driving, we really get to know the area this way.

    You are right those lingering moments are pure bliss and fixed in the memory forever!

    Enjoy your remaining time in Italy

    Sue x

  2. We so vacation:) My main point in vacation is to stop use my brains!! I don't even want to know if something really bad happens back home because I really can't do anything about that before I came back so NO phones and NO block.
    I have been near Taormina Naxos in my childhood for twice. I got to know local children and make friends with them even we speak only little english then. I never forget my two wonderful summers in Sicily.
    I'm coming to Chianti Tuscany end of April for photographing course, I so wait that:)

  3. Such a good distinction. We do both, but in recent years there's been much more traveling. I do love that, but both of us are missing our vacations on Kiawah Island. We've promised ourselves that next year we'll plan another one. It's been too long.

    You've had such marvelous opportunities these past two years and I'm glad you've found a way to balance the two---slow travel, interesting idea!

  4. Is there a way to do both?? We try to relax and recharge....and soak up as much as we can of the culture.

  5. Absolutely beautiful. I'm finding that I'm not sure if I want to travel so much because I so much want a nice long vacation. This is beautiful though and I would love to vacation there. My inlaws just mentioned again that we needed to "take them" to NYC. I don't know - that sounds like work to me.

  6. I know I need both: travel to explore a new territory and vacation to really rest. We rent a house on the coast 2-3 times a year to just veg for a week or two. It's familiar, beautiful, and very relaxing. After our big last trip (to Italy) we were thinking that we had covered too much territory, and would have liked to stay in one place longer. Slow travel sounds good.

    Welcome back, Kat! Can't wait to see some of your pictures.

  7. All too often I travel - but I'm slowly learning to treasure opportunities to vacation.

  8. oh, yes, travel!! now, if only i had the time...

  9. We tend to vacation. Even if it is just a few hours from home in the RV at the ranch. Such blissful moments.

  10. I like a healthy combination of both. I tend to suffer what I like to call "traveller's melancholy" (coined by Frances Mayes) for short periods when I'm in a foreign country experiencing all there is to experience. When we slooowwwww the pace for a few days, snooze in the sun, stare into space, I recover fully.

  11. I would have to say we vacation... I love to just sit and relax. Last August I went to Las Vegas with my daughter, I just sat by the pool and drew my zentangle and listend to my IPOD.

  12. A good combination of both is what I like. I can't spend time just lying on a beach... I probably have to walk, take pictures, listen to the sound of the waves. One of my favorites is camping, because it has the relaxing component built in when you sit around the campfire, enjoying a glass of wine, good talks or reading... A few years ago we traveled Alaska this way and it was exactly the right mix!


What's your view of the world? I love to hear yours too!

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