On Vacationing: Questing vs. Toes in the Sand.

We just returned from a week in Jamaica. Which brings to mind the question:

What kind of vacationer are you?

 Three amazing words: Swim-up Bar. Or is that two words?

Three amazing words: Swim-up Bar. Or is that two words?

It seems to me that there are many different kinds of vacationers - everything from folk to climb Annapurna to those who actually enjoy a Staycation. But in thinking about it, I've come up with a spectrum of vacation-ness, the extreme ends of which are occupied by these types: The Toes-in-the-Sand-ers and the Quest-ers.

The Toes-in-the-Sand-ers are the kind of folk that generally go on cruises, or go to all-inclusive resorts, all needs taken care of, little planning work - having just enjoyed one of these (at the Jewel at Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica) I can certainly recommend PARTS of this experience: The continuous food, and the swim-up bar, for instance. Seriously, is there a better combination of words than swim-up bar? However, all-inclusives can be tricky; there can be a lot of 'forced fun' in which the resort's Ambassadors of Fun try to get everyone involved "Limbo! Everybody LIMBO! No, TRIVIA! Everybody PLAY TRIVIA!" Another discovery was that for a booze hound like myself, I have realized that the simple economics of 24 hour free drinks generally means that all the liquor is mostly bottom shelf, with only brief references to the middle. Boo. 

 Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. An actual death-defying hike. For real.

Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. An actual death-defying hike. For real.

The Quest-ers on the other hand, are all about DIY– they set up their own arrangements, take pleasure in the down and dirty work of creating a vacation, (and then are ultimately responsible if it succeeds or fails). Also, while on said vacation, they're always doing activities– they're out climbing waterfalls, renting bicycles and riding around town, backpacking the whole trip, interpreting maps, and at the end of the day are generally exhausted. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Seriously –I have Quest-ed with the best of them and very much enjoyed most every moment. Sometimes that kind of exhaustion is exactly what you need to recharge your batteries.

I've backpacked across Michigan; I've driven cross-country. I've stayed at all-inclusives, and I've built my trip from the ground up and Quested to exhaustion. So what's my perfect vacation like?

 This might not have ended well.

This might not have ended well.

I guess I would say that it includes a little bit of both extremes. I like to have control over my experience, and I like to be able to go places when I want to. Sometimes an all-inclusive, or definitely on a cruise, you're stuck on board– you go where they go, and you stick to their itinerary - or you get left behind. That's not my favorite. However, due to a website fail I also don't really enjoy turning corner to where I'm staying that night and seeing a broken down hostel where I thought I was going to have a nice hotel. That happens. Basically a successful vacation means that I've had some control, I've had some rest, I've used my muscles both mental and physical, and I come home not needing a vacation from my vacation.

What about you? How do you like to vacation? What does a perfect trip sound like?