Trip / Vacation

A few days ago, I told you I’ll eventually tell you the difference between a trip and a vacation.

To summarize, a vacation is something you do to relax. A trip is something you do to learn things, fulfill a childhood dream, learn new things, visit a new country from North to South and East to West, climb a mountain…

Some examples:

  • Spending the summer enjoying the pool in your backyard. (vacation)
  • Spending one week camping on a deserted Island. (trip)
  • Climbing Mount Everest. (trip)
  • Going to Scotland for two weeks, visiting 18 distilleries and driving 2,500 miles. (trip)
  • Spending one week in a five star all-inclusive resort in Cuba. (vacation)
  • Renting a cottage for the summer. (trip)
  • Going to Italy for a month with the kids. (trip)

In order to know if you’re planning a trip or a vacation, picture yourself doing the thing you are going to do. Now picture yourself coming back home after having done the thing you planned to do. Picture yourself dropping luggage in your hallway. Now read this sentence out loud:

“I could totally use a week to rest from this!”

If you can see yourself saying something like this, you’re planning a trip. Not a vacation.

I must be extremely clear on this point: There is absolutely nothing wrong about planning a trip. I think trips are defining moments in my life, and I’m glad I’m planning / doing them. I think going to Scotland was truly the trip of a lifetime.

However, it was not a vacation.

There is something inherently devastating about thinking that you’re going to go on a vacation only to discover that you’re really going on a trip. There are also a few people that I know very very well *cough* LovelyWife *cough* that can’t tell the difference between a trip and a vacation. Those people *cough* LovelyWife *cough* would most likely have this list:

  • Spending the summer enjoying the pool in your backyard. (doing nothing)
  • Spending one week camping on a deserted Island. (vacation)
  • Climbing Mount Everest. (vacation)
  • Going to Scotland for two weeks, visiting 18 distilleries and driving 2,500 miles. (vacation)
  • Spending one week in a five star all-inclusive resort in Cuba. (spending money to do nothing)
  • Renting a cottage for the summer. (vacation)
  • Going to Italy for a month with the kids. (vacation)

As you can probably guess, planning something to do as a family for the summer in our house is the constant source of headaches and arguments, normally ending in one of us saying “We’ll do what you want LovelyWife”. It always starts the same way: “What are we doing for vacations this summer?”. Then we’ll each list things that we’d like to do on post-its. It’ll inevitably end up looking like this:

If you didn’t guess yet, I use blue post-its.

So to my LovelyWife I say this:

Even when life with you is far from a vacation; you’ll remain now and forever, the trip of my lifetime. XXX

Because you know that I could totally use a week to rest from this.

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8 comments

  1. Your wife is stark raving mad.
    Hahahaha
    But seriously- I agree with you. Big difference between a trip and a vacation!

  2. OK, I’m still not clear.

    Next week, we’re going on our annual… um… excursion? to the beach with some friends. This is a 4 or 5 day trip during which we hang out, play games, drink, swim in the ocean, swim in the pool, etc. This includes a good amount of relaxing, but a good amount of activity as well, though almost exclusively without getting in a vehicle. I think it’s a vacation, but that doesn’t mean I won’t want a week’s worth of rest when it’s over.

    Also, after something more clearly defined as “a trip”, I’m as likely to want to take another trip as to want a week of rest. Particularly in lieu of going back to work….

    1. In my opinion, the bottom line is really the “I could really use some time off”. If you’re good to go on a trip after your excursion, I’d consider your excursion a vacation then.

      For me, there’s really no gray area. I’m either refreshed enough to go back to work (or face “regular life”) or I’m not. YMMV. 🙂

  3. you are both fucked up. if i am not in the office on a weekday then i am on vacation regardless if my ass is in the sand watching the waves or climbing mt. everest or touring a foreign land in search of booze. if i leave the pittsburgh city limits, then i am on a trip for my vacation. doesn’t matter if i drive or fly to get to the destination, it is a trip for vacation. if i call off to go to the local amusement park i am taking a vacation day. if i call off to to whitewater rafting an hour outside of pittsburgh then i am taking a trip to the youghiogheny for my vacation day.

    no work = vacation. leaving town = trip for vacation.

    (oh my fuck, did i laugh hard at the notion that i would climb a mountain. thanks for that.)

    1. That’s okay, not everyone has to agree with my vision of what is a vacation and what isn’t. I just know myself enough to know that I wouldn’t consider climbing a mountain a refreshing experience.

      Glad I made you laugh – I’m tired just *thinking* about climbing a mountain. 🙂

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