A great debate has been stirring within me these past few months.
I have had opportunities to travel in almost every conceivable way:
Cruise √ Backpacking √ Group Tour √ Luxury Resort √ Camping √ Mission Trip √ Bus Tour √ Road Trip √
And… on a full spectrum of budgets, all the way from shoestring to first class. I’ve travelled with friends, family, big groups, small groups, strangers, classmates, and I’m even going on my first solo trip this month.
So after all of my travel experiences… what is my favourite way to travel? On a cold, rainy, winter night… where do I dream of going? And maybe more importantly… how do I want to travel once I get there?
Most of the people I’ve spoken with would probably say something about a tropical beach where they could lay back and sip margaritas with not a care in the world… and up until now, I would probably have said the same thing. However, when I put my money where my mouth is that theory doesn’t exactly line up. Even though I love a good beach vacation… if I’m honest… (please don’t shoot me)… it gets boring after a couple days. I mean of course I’d prefer lying on a beach as opposed to going to work, but if I could do anything, what would energize me the most?
Before I go any further, I need to lay out a couple of definitions that will come into play here. Keep in mind that these are my interpretations of the words.
Leisure travel is travel in which the primary motivation is to take a vacation from everyday life. Leisure travel is often characterized by staying in nice hotels or resorts, relaxing on beaches, or going on guided tours and experiencing local tourist attractions.
Adventure travel is a type of tourism, involving exploration or travel with perceived (and possibly actual) risk, and potentially requiring specialized skills and physical exertion. According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity, including two of the following three components: (1) a physical activity, (2) a cultural exchange or interaction, and (3) engagement with nature.
My main interest in the distinction between these two travel styles came up after my recent trip to Las Vegas. There really wasn’t anything to complain about. The trip was perfectly planned, executed and exactly what I expected. But, I came home feeling kind of… meh (if that’s even a real feeling). It was a good time but could it have been great?
No, actually. I don’t think it could have been great. Well, at least not for me. And the reason is that although I enjoy leisure travel, I am wired for adventure. I still like to have a game plan (that is never going to change) but I love going to exotic places. I love seeing natural wonders. I love going somewhere that’s only accessible on foot. I love seeing the way that locals live – first hand! I love activities that are challenging or intricate. I love that I need to tag on a couple days at home at the end of my trip… just to recuperate. The destinations that send a chill down my spine and truly speak to my soul are rich with culture and adventure. If I’ve done it right… I will NEED a vacation at the end of my trip.
What is your favourite way to travel?