For me, the least glamorous vacations have always been my favorites. Despite my love of foreign cultures, I always find international travel incredibly disappointing. Maybe it’s because my experiences have been limited to Europe, but the whole experience always lacks the “wow” factor I expect after shelling out thousands and taking extensive time off of work.
Give me a (fully furnished with running water and a working kitchen) cabin in the woods where I can eat my breakfast outside in my pajamas. Plan nothing. Wake up every morning with no agenda or expectation. Take a random road trip with no maps. Journal, do puzzles, hike. Spend an hour getting to know the local coffee shop owner. To me, that’s a vacation.
My single favorite vacation activity ever was spelunking at Laurel Caverns. When I first got there, I dreaded the idea of climbing around in a damp cave for 2 hours. Then they made us put on these ridiculous looking hardhats and I looked forward to it even less. It turned out to be the most memorable experiences of my life! According to our guide, our small group got further into the cavern than any other group he’d ever taken. It was physically demanding, mentally challenging, and visually surreal. And I think it cost like $15.
After a vacation like that, I always get home and calculate how long I could live on my savings and just live a simple life like I did for that past week. Then my calculation turns into a spreadsheet, and a goal in a 10-year plan, and before you know it, I realize that the only vacation I need is from myself.