Why Travel? Why not?

According to Rob Pudim writing in HCN:

People travel for a lot of reasons — to lounge around and do nothing, to learn about places, to challenge themselves, “for the sake of the kids,” to bask in the envy of friends and enemies, or just to eat and drink extravagantly every night.  But if all I am going to do is lay around and rest up, I stay at home — it’s cheaper.  I’m not into the envy thing.  My children are grown and on their own.  I’ve always preferred the learn-about-new-places and test-myself kind of vacation.

Many people seem happier planning a trip than actually doing it.  They have to maximize every minute, worry about whether they have time to see the biggest ball of string in the world, if the hotel has their reservation, if there is a MickyD nearby.  Their vacation ends up like a checklist and time-and-motion study, and if it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, the return disappointed. . . .

So what kind of vacation does Pudim like?

. . . I make no plans, no reservations, no checklists; I don’t look at the weather forecasts.  Sometimes I start out for Point A but end up at Point J because I got distracted somewhere around Point F.  I do some homework, but not a lot of planning.  I find my passport if I plan to leave the country, but I prefer to do most of my traveling in the Four Corner states and Wyoming — the more remote, the better.

The best vacations, according to psychologists, aren’t ranked by how long you travel or how much time you spend getting ready to go.  This is reassuring, since short vacation — somtimes only a few days long — are my specialty.  The intensity of the experience is what matter, even if it is painful or scary.  I remember those exciting moments and how I felt after it was all over.

Pudim states matter of factly, “People who know me refuse to travel with me.”  If you want to travel with friends, compromises are important.  And sharing experiences can be a very important component of travel.

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