Similar to my earlier ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ mentality, most of my vacations have historically been as jam-packed full of activities as humanly possible. I think some of this comes from trips with my parents, like when we went to Spain more than 20 years ago. Each day we got up early and took a train or car on some day trip to a nearby town or cool site, and I remember fifteen-year old Peter feeling a sense of smug superiority over some of the other people at the hotel when just laid by the pool all day. Why did they come all this way to just hang out in their hotel room when there were so many new things to experience?
As a college student studying abroad in Germany, I bought a Eurail pass with a friend and covered 11 cities in 4 countries over two weeks by train and boat alone. Rome was the only city in which I found myself for more than 36 hours. It was a grueling pace, but felt like an adventure.
During the Rickshaw Run we were up before dawn and drove until after dark, fueled by adrenaline from navigating the dangerous Indian roads. My next time to India wasn’t any more laid back, as we covered 12 cities in 5 countries over a similar ~2 week time span. (#3SC4Lyfe)
Even when I moved to Montpellier, I brought only a carry-on backpack with me as I traveled through six countries before arriving in France.
However, similar to my ideas on sleep, I’ve increasingly been more intrigued by the idea of a slower vacation. I took the name ‘Slow Travel’ from Nathaniel Drew’s YouTube video, and while I’m not quite doing the same ‘move to another country and work remotely’ process, the idea of home-basing in one place and allowing the time to experience different levels is growing on me.
Part of this may be from the different ‘Money vs. Time’ attitude that exists at my work in the South of France. I’ve not heard of anyone having difficulties requesting time off; in fact, usually people get ribbed for not taking enough vacation. But the 2-3x more vacation time than what I would be getting at an industry job in the US does come with a 2-3x smaller salary. That tends to further enhance the idea of relaxed vacations, or even just ‘staycations’, where time is more of a luxury than money.
This trip, I’ve decided to embrace the idea of the low-key vacation. I fully recognize that if I didn’t have a place to stay, we would probably have traveled a lot more around Costa Rica. But since we do, I’ve been taking advantage by spending the mornings relaxing with coffee, breakfast, and a little yoga (as well as blog post writing) on the balcony before heading to a nearby beach most days. It is interesting to feel the little shift in mentality that I don’t normally experience in a place when everything is on the go and I’m never in one place for more than a few days.
I’m sure I’ll still do crazy ‘hit all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites‘ or Rickshaw Run adventure vacations in the future, but it is nice to take a little break and focus significant time playfully experiencing one small geographic region.