My Secret Vacation Dream: A Confession

Exactly one year ago--changing planes in Dublin.

Exactly one year ago this very minute we were flying over the Atlantic on our way to our ill-fated Europe trip.  As we all know, that did not end well.  But I did learn a great many things from that trip–things that I should be applying to all future trips.

We are leaving on our epic summer road trip in ten days.  I thought I’d planned it to be everything the Europe trip was not–the bizarro vacation, if you will.  I took everything that I did not like about Europe and reversed it.  For example….

Europe Trip….

  • Required airfare
  • Non-English speaking countries
  • Museum-filled
  • Over-planned
  • Major Metro Areas

Maine/Atlantic Canada Road Trip….

  • Drivable
  • USA and Canada only–all English speaking
  • Zero museums–only oceans, bays, and lighthouses
  • Barely-planned
  • Could not be more rural if it tried (have you seen Cape Breton?)

As you can see, it appears as though I’ve swung the pendulum in the total opposite direction.  That is until you look at what would be the middle of the Venn Diagram (oh, if only I knew how to add a Venn diagram to this blog!)  In the middle of said diagram, you’d find the following items…

Europe Trip AND Maine/Atlantic Canada Road Trip…

  • Really far away
  • Way too much travel time
  • Really long
  • Extremely expensive

As you can clearly see, the pendulum really didn’t swing in any direction.  It just kind of hung there over our Visa card, mocking us.

I have a secret confession to make.  Ok.  Here it goes.  Ahem…cough…cough…ok.  All I really want is to go on a regular, relaxing vacation.  I really, really want to sit on a beach with my husband and drink something with an umbrella in it.  I want to go snorkeling.  A lot.  I really, really want to go snorkeling.  I’ve never gone snorkeling, and think that’s something I should get to do.  Yet for some reason I feel that this desire somehow makes me less of a traveler.  Don’t get me wrong–I still intend to go anywhere and everywhere I can next year (which would be infinitely easier on our bank account if we didn’t spend several thousand dollars in Nova Scotia next month)–but for our summer vacation, I’d like to vacate.

With flippers and goggles and rum.  And my husband in a hammock.

How many Hail Marys and Our Fathers do I need to do to repent for that sin?

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10 responses to “My Secret Vacation Dream: A Confession

  1. With all these posts about anxiety, serious second thoughts, bullet points and talk about diagrams showing why this trip (that you haven’t even left for!) already sucks, you are already setting the stage for what’s sure to be another craptastically bad vacation where you cry & go into nuclear meltdown while the husband tries to make the best of it. But instead of crying along the banks of the Seine you will be doing it along the idyllic coast of Maine & PEI.

    Instead of the rum drink with an umbrella in it, have a Cape Codder. The water isn’t clear enough to snorkel with flippers & goggles? Slap on a wet suit & take a kite surfing lesson.

    Tell Miss Brooke to shut the fuck up already and really focus on your inner Anne Shirley or this will be one very long year of bad travel for you.

  2. Is it wrong that I really like the word ‘craptastically’?

    I don’t think the trip sucks. I think it is costing us too much money, removes both of us from our life for too long, and requires too much travel time. I think it will be amazing–if we continue with it. But I’m having serious money/time/distance doubts. That’s all.

    I guess I’m not freaking out about future travel–nor did I freak out about past travel over the last year (since Europe)–because I was only going away for a few days at a time. Huh. I guess length scares me. Good to know about myself!

    Nice Anne tie-in, by the way!

    • Not much you can do about the money worries except perhaps skip some of the fancier gourmet dinners with multiple bottles of wine you may have planned, maybe instead of a charming B&B switch to a more generic (yet clean) hotel/motel where you can get a cheap rate on Priceline or with an AAA discount, or cut back on the overall number of days you will be gone (which also solves the worries about the house & dogs).

      As for distance, rethink some of the longer legs of your trip. I grew up in New England & live here now, but for years I lived in Philly and my sister had a place in Ogunquit. Ain’t no way would I ever drive straight through from Philly to Ogunquit (that’s more than 7 hours of driving not including breaks, meals, traffic delays). I always threw in an extra night to stop off someplace else (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts) before heading further north into Maine. It just seems like a miserable way to start off your trip to spend that much time in the car right off the bat. If you can find a way to cut 1 hotel night off Ogunquit & spend the 1st night somewhere in between, it may help ease you into the trip. Maybe consider Mystic, CT as night 1. It’s small, cute main street with artisan shops and white table cloth restaurants (or the Sea Swirl clam shack nearby housed in a funky 60s old ice cream stand where you eat at communal picnic tables). Even that tourist trap, Mystic Pizza, actually serves up good food amongst all that Julia Roberts memorabilia. You can spend the morning of Day 2 exploring Mystic Seaport and then drive towards Ogunquit.

      • Your third suggestion is right-on. If we’re going to save money, we have to make the trip shorter–as we’ve already planned to skip the fancy dinners and we already are staying at inexpensive places. No matter how you add it up, 27 nights equals a lot of money and a lot of meals! Man, I knew I hated math for a reason!

        We actually were planning on leaving a day early if possible (depends on dog-sitting) and were going to stop somewhere in one of the three states you mentioned. Upon your suggestion I looked into Mystic, and it appears to be both on the way and perfect! I recall driving past/through/over (I seem to recall being on a bridge) on our way to Cape Cod many years ago, and it looked like a neat town. We may just end up there!

        I’m leaving it up to my husband to decide what gets changed about the trip–if anything. He’ll be home around 5ish (E.S.T.) Can I get a drum roll???

      • The bridge you may remember was probably the drawbridge in Mystic right on Route 1 (Main Street) as you enter town. The horn blasts often as they warn cars & people to get off the bridge while they raise it for passing sailboats. I was just in Mystic on Sunday dropping off my nephew after a stay in nearby Rhode Island. I got my whole belly clam fix on at Sea Swirl for lunch and he insisted we go to Mystic pizza for dinner. Kitchen Little is a cool place right by the water for breakfast and Azu on Main Street is great for dinner or cocktails & small plates.

        There is a very nice Hilton hotel about 2 miles from Mystic Seaport and the hotel sits across the street from Mystic Aquarium and The Shops at Olde Mystic. The Shops are nothing spectacular & just a place to spend money on overpriced souvenirs. The better stores are right on Main Street.

  3. No- it is NOT WRONG to want to go a relatively short distance and just chill. Though I don’t know where you can snorkle and have the “right” environment for rum punch near you. The NC Outer Banks have great snorkleing place – but not sure about the rum (maybe an old pirate’s stash???). We did what you describe in Pureto Rico many (too many to say- oh well- about 34 years ago). But you’d have spend mucho deneros to fly there now. Maybe next summer (early ) you could plan a driving trip to the Outer Banks. You’d have the sounds to snorkle in and the ocean beaches to frolick in. And in Manteo you can explore an English garden, see a play about the first British settlement (not successful- but still the first) and LOTS of lighthouses. And pirates’ history (Blackbeard, etc). Good food, too. Oh and at Wilmington there’s the USS North Carolina you can tour… Oh well maybe I need to write a blog promoting NC tourisim….

    • You DO need to write a blog promoting NC tourism, as the first thing I thought of when contemplating (drastically) changing this trip was NC and all of the advice you’ve already given! If you have time, do it! It’s a great hobby, as you get to meet new people!

      And that plan sounds lovely, by the way!

  4. Hi, if the time/money/distance is bothering you now, you may not enjoy the trip with these things on your mind. Could/would you consider looking at your schedule, make a list of the things that you really want to do/see followed by the things that you want to do/see but are not as important to you. Then cut two or three of them out of you schedule. You may feel better if you shorten you trip by just a few days. Just something to think about.

    • Robin, that’s exactly what we are thinking about doing. My husband is ‘contemplating’ at work today, and I’m ‘contemplating’ at home (that means googling!) and we’re going to discuss at dinner tonight. I really feel like we’d enjoy the trip more if we weren’t freaking out about money (or our dying garden or our abandoned dogs) the whole time. If we shorten the trip we can have more fun on the part of it we keep.

      Of course, I’ll be reporting back!

  5. Tracy, that sounds like a great idea. I completely agree, you would have so much more on a shorter trip, worried free days would be a lot better. I’ll be waiting to hear what you decide.

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