Tag Archives: Vacation

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: How I Feel About Staycations

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

A photo looking down at someone’s legs as they stand on a porch next to a welcome mat that has the word “home” written on it in a thick black font. The “o” in the letter home has been replaced with a red heart. I have mixed feelings about staycations.

Sometimes they’re the perfect choice if you’re exhausted and/or don’t have the budget to travel elsewhere.

They can be a nice, relaxing way to recharge under those circumstances. There is definitely something to be said for keeping things low key and thrifty.

On the other hand, there’s the temptation to treat a staycation like any other time of the year and not make any fun memories during them at all.

This happened to my spouse and I years ago. We didn’t have the funds to travel anywhere that time, and I totally understood and accepted that.

The problem was that we didn’t do much stuff that was out of the ordinary for us during our staycation from what I can recall. I still washed the dishes and did the grocery shopping, (most of the) cooking, and laundry. We still ate out at the inexpensive fast food restaurants we’d normally visit if I’m not cooking that night for whatever reason.

Other than not working, it was completely like any other week. We didn’t try any new places from what I can recall, and I only remember going to one free place that I’d previously enjoyed. The rest of the time was spent watching tv and wandering around a local mall. (No offence meant to people who think that sounds like the perfect vacation, by the way! To each their own. It’s simply not my cup of tea.)

These days I’m more assertive about staycations. Yes, I’ll stick to whatever the budget is for the week, but I am going to break my daily routines and go to some nice dairy-free bakeries, parks I don’t get to visit very often, or free local events at the bare minimum! My spouse doesn’t have to accompany me, and I certainly won’t fill every day with long lists of places to visit or anything like that. A couple of hours every other day or so to spend on stuff I really love to do is enough to make me happy.  That leaves plenty of time for walking around the mall, watching tv, or doing nothing in particular, too. 😉

I simply need more from a vacation than doing the same things we always do and then going home to do chores. That’s not my idea of a good time.

Staycations can be a wonderful option if you treat your local community as if you’re a tourist there and go to places you normally don’t visit (or places you’ve visited before and already know are perfect for your tastes!)

They can also be disappointing, at least from my perspective, if you stick to the same old routines every day and don’t branch out at all.

So much depends on how you plan ahead for them and how much effort everyone puts into the experience.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to go on Vacation With


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A pair of sunglasses sitting on a sand dune. The sun is setting in the background.As I’ve mentioned here before, visiting Prince Edward Island is my dream vacation.

My ideal vacation companions are people – or, in this case, characters – who are friendly, flexible, independent, enjoy the simple things in life, and are introverted or introvert-friendly. I’d like to have some time each day for group hangouts, of course, but I’d also want everyone to feel free to take a few hours to do something alone or with just one or two other people whenever needed.

Other than books, of course, I love nature,  food, history, and visiting old cemeteries, so most of the activities I’d suggest would revolve around these topics. Depending on the weather, we might visit the beach, look for interesting epigraphs at the local cemetery, go for a nature walk or hike,  take a tour of a historical site, or ask the locals about their favourite local spots to hang out that tourists might not be aware of and then see if those suggestions were as fantastic as I hope they would be.

If the weather outside were frightful, I’d suggest visiting nearby museums, bookstores, coffee houses, ice cream shops, restaurants, and/or libraries to whomever wished to join me.

Here are some characters I think would enjoy this minimalistic and laid-back vacation style.

1. Frodo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy

2. Eleanor Oliphant from Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Celie from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple 

4. Katniss from Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games 

5. Don from Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project 

6. Alice from Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love

7. Murderbot from Martha Wells’ All Systems Red 

8. Richard from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere 

9. Matilda (as an adult) from Roald Dahl’s Matilda 

10. Binti from Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Describe a Perfect Weekend Getaway

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This is a trip I’ve been dreaming about ever since I first read the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.  Maybe someday a version of it will actually happen!

A lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. You can see the famous red sandy beaches between the lighthouse and the sea. The sky is a dusky rose colour. It may be dusk or dawn in this photo. My perfect weekend getaway would happen on Prince Edward Island.

My spouse* and I would fly there on a Friday and fly home on a Monday so we’d have two full days of adventure on the island.

Our first stop would be to visit the birthplace of L.M. Montgomery. It’s a lovely farmhouse that’s been turned into a museum. Historical stuff like that appeals to me!

I’d visit some of the Anne of Green Gables tourist destinations nearby, too, like the little museum dedicated to this series and the gift shop that has all sorts of Anne memorabilia.

The rest of the weekend would be spend exploring other things the island has to offer. I’d want to visit their red beaches for sure, but I’d play the rest by ear based on what the locals recommended and what the weather was like that weekend.

It’s been my experience that the best restaurants, parks, shops, and other adventures in a new area are often hidden gems. I’d rather take advice from someone who lives there and has insider information than follow the advice of a random Internet article that may or may not actually be knowledgeable on the topic.

My spouse* and I might:

  • Take a carriage ride
  • Explore a gorgeous, half-forgotten graveyard in a small town
  • Eat at a restaurant that looks fairly ordinary from the outside but quietly serves the best food on the whole island
  • Join a last-minute ghost or historical tour
  • Stumble upon a cool local festival or event we knew nothing about previously
  • Find a marvellous sweets or ice cream shop
  • Make a new friend with an extroverted local or fellow tourist
  • Build sand castles on the beach
  • Hike somewhere achingly wonderful, or
  • Discover unique architecture in a beautiful historical church or other building

Red rocks, dirt, and sand on a Prince Edward Island beach. The possibilities are endless, and I’d relish any of them.

I’ll end this post with one more Prince Edward Island stock photo I found.

Seriously, wouldn’t it be amazing to see such sights in person?

*If they didn’t want to go, I’d take a friend instead. I do not believe in compulsory travel. Hehe.

 

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My Experience with (Mostly Not) Exercising on an Alaskan Cruise

Photo credit: Jim Schoch.

I’m still basking in the afterglow of the amazing Alaskan cruise I went on with my spouse and extended family earlier this month.

This was the first time any of us had been to Alaska before, so our vacation was filled with all sorts of firsts.  We spent one week sailing by glaciers, mountains, virgin forests, totem poles, and other beautiful sights.

Other than wishing I’d taken more photos during it, there isn’t a single thing I would have changed about that trip. It was wonderful to spend time with my parents, siblings, sister-in-law, and nephews again. We hadn’t all been together in the same place for three long years!

When we weren’t soaking in the hot tub, swimming, exploring the various ports of call or looking for whales, seals, and other wildlife bobbing past our ship, we ate meals together, played Dutch Blitz, attended various programs on the ship: nature and history lectures, cooking shows, poker tournaments, and more.

When I ordered food, I tried to strike a balance between eating a well-rounded diet and enjoying treats. There were some amazing sorbets on this cruise, and I tried to taste as many of them as I could. It’s not every day that a non-vegan restaurant has dairy-free desserts!

The one thing I didn’t do on this vacation was stick to my normal exercise routine. This is rare. Normally, the gym and running track are among the first places I explore when boarding a cruise ship. I like sticking to my fitness routine as much as possible when on vacation.

Why did I break that pattern this time?

  1. I’d caught a cold at the end of June and was still coughing when this trip began.
  2. I wanted to keep my daily schedule flexible.

Get-togethers with my side of the family happen rarely enough that I didn’t want to rush off from a leisurely breakfast or skip a last-time invitation so I could exercise. The fact that I was still feeling sick at first only gave me another reason to take it easy. With that being said, I wasn’t completely sedentary that week.

Taking the Stairs

As much as possible, I took the stairs instead of hopping on the elevator when we were on the ship that week. There were no specific goals here. If I was short on time or coughing a lot one day, I took the elevator without a second thought.

With that being said, walking up or down a few flights at a time can add up over the course of a day if you do it when it’s possible.

I take the stairs a few times a day here in Toronto. When I’m on a cruise, I can do dozens per day. It effectively doubles or triples the average number of staircases I walk on for that month, and most cruises only last about a week!

(No, this wasn’t the staircase that they had on board, although they both were wrap-around designs.  I forgot to photograph the real one while we were there, so I picked an eye-catching stock image photo of another staircase).

Walking Everywhere

While my cough limited how much brisk walking or other forms of exercise I felt up to doing, it didn’t stop me from walking at a slower pace.

When I’m home and feeling well, I try to log about 12,000 steps per day.  I accidentally met this goal on about half of the days of our trip.

Once I even made it to 16,000 steps! While most of that movement involved strolling instead of power walking, I was still pretty happy with how much gentle activity I was able to include in everything else that was going on.

It didn’t get my heart rate pumping as high as I’d normally try to get it, but that wasn’t a goal I was concerned about as I healed and spent time with the family.

A week off won’t mean much in the long run. I’m back to my normal weightlifting and cardio routines now and very glad I took the time to fully recover and make memories with my loved ones.

What do your fitness routines look like when you’re travelling? Do you try to stick to the same schedule? Do you take breaks from them?

 

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