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beach signI spent last week on vacation with my family in a house at the New Jersey shore. The day I left the office, one of my coworkers said, “Have a nice trip!” as I walked out the door. I thanked her, but inwardly I felt a little jolt — I didn’t actually feel like I was taking a trip at all. A vacation, yes. A trip, no. And then I wondered: What’s the difference?

For me, taking a trip means traveling, exploring, getting lost, stretching myself out of my comfort zone. But the goal of a vacation is the exact opposite: total relaxation. My week at the shore is something I do every year with the same people in the same spot, a place as familiar to me as my own home town. I leave the passport and guidebooks at home, packing nothing more than tank tops, shorts, flip-flops and a towering stack of novels.

The World’s Best Beaches

When I travel, I’m in exploration mode, and I love to take in something new every day — a neighborhood, a cafe, a museum or historic site. When I vacation, I happily sink into a comfortable and beloved routine: a morning bike ride, an afternoon at the beach, an evening dinner with my family on the balcony.

As an avid traveler, I’d never consider spending all my days off lazing on the sand. There’s too much world out there to discover! But I’d never give up that precious week of true vacation either. The ultra-relaxation I find there recharges my batteries in a way nothing else does — so I can keep on exploring.

12 Ways to Feel at Home in a Foreign Place

Do you see a difference between vacationing and traveling? Do you try to incorporate both into your life?

— written by Sarah Schlichter

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One Response to “In Praise of Vacations … AND Travel”

  1. Nora says:

    Reminds me of another pair of words associated with travel that bugs me: business or pleasure? If I’m on a business trip it’s travel, and may or may not have aspects of pleasure or vacation depending on how much extra time I have. (And, as a bit of a geek, talking shop can be pleasurable for me.) But there have been times I’ve traveled for personal reasons that weren’t exactly pleasure–going to a funeral, heck, even visiting certain relatives, attending a conference for a non-profit or volunteer organization. But I don’t necessarily equate vacation with relaxation. My vacations are usually jam-packed and exhausting–as you mention, there’s so much to see! I think of vacation as something I do for me, whether it’s busy or laid-back, alone or with people I like–it’s my choice. Travel, on the other hand, is something I do because I have to, for others, whether it’s for work or because of non-work obligations.

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