I have opinions; we all do. Our opinions may not be necessarily correct or shared by others, but we still have them.
I think it’s comical to search the web for a particular recipe, find it and then read the comments. The first person to comment absolutely loves the recipe and gives it 5 stars. It’s the best she has ever tasted. The second person gives it zero stars and says it’s the worst thing she has ever put in her mouth and had to throw it out. What’s the difference? It’s our opinions (and sometimes we don’t execute correctly), based on our likes and dislikes.
The same thing goes for restaurants. When I’m about to try a new place to dine, especially on vacation, I will often go online and check out the reviews. Just as in reviewing recipes, opinions differ from one spectrum to the other. That particular dining experience may be the best one reviewer has ever had. And then it could be a complete disaster according to another. Opinions. Likes. Dislikes.
I said all that to muster up the courage to say this: I have specific vacation opinions. I do! I don’t like cruises. I don’t. At all. Don’t hate me for it. I tried to like a cruise. I did. I have friends that rave about their latest cruise. I jokingly say that cruises are for people that don’t know how to plan a vacation. I also say that when I’m on a cruise I feel like I’m a cow in the middle of a large herd on a cattle drive. I have a song for that:
I should’ve been a cowboy
I should’ve learned to rope and ride
Wearing my six-shooter, riding my pony on a cattle drive. (Toby Keith)
Friends laugh and give me a puzzled look when I say things like that. I have a strange feeling that they are laughing at me and not with me.
My dream vacation always, always includes the sea. It could have something to do with my childhood. Every summer vacation was by the sea. I coined another phrase and should trademark it, “If I’m not on the beach, I’m not at the beach” meaning I must have an ocean front room. It’s a must. Blame my mom. She instilled that in me!
While I’m boldly stating my opinion, let me just put it all out there and say that I don’t really like to vacation in the mountains, either. It could have something to do with that horrible skiing accident I told about here. I’m not a down-in-the-valley type of girl. I always feel like I’m in a teacup and all those mountains are looming overhead and edging in on my space. Don’t get me wrong, I love a majestic mountain range in the distance. I love to visit my sister in Colorado. It’s simply breathtaking.
But I need wide open spaces, room to make a big mistake (singing at the top of my lungs). So, my vacation usually involves driving or flying to my destination, having an ocean front room and spending the week exploring (or just sitting on the beach, under an umbrella, daydreaming).
Actually, one of my not-really-in-existence bucket list plans is to visit all of the Caribbean Islands in my life time. Oh, and I want to make it to Hawaii one of these days. But every time I think about going to Maui, I think about how long the flight is and put it off for a short flight to the Caribbean. To me, it’s the prefect vacation. And, of course, any far-away, exotic beach would be icing on the cake (Bali, Tahiti, etc.) By the way, the time I dipped my toes in the Mediterranean Sea while visiting Israel is one of those events that has left an impression on me for life. Yes, I’m crazy about oceans! Looking at them, that is.
And someday (fingers and toes crossed) I will visit Paris and London (also on my not-really-but-maybe-should-start bucket list in my mind). See, I can have non-ocean vacation dreams, as well.
When I go on holiday, I like to rub elbows with the locals; find the best local places to eat, the least crowded beaches and just pretend I live there. And did I say I like to get away from the crowds? I also do recon (that’s my I-Should-Have-Been-A-Private-Eye speak) before I leave so I know a little bit about the place I’m going to visit.
Now, back to cruises, I have to explain that I have no ill will toward people that crave cruises. I have lots of friends and family that cruise quite often. Yes, I said that twice. They love it and I say, “More power to you.” And I’m not saying I won’t ever go on another one (my grands want to go). I won’t judge you for your love of cruises if you don’t judge me for my apathy toward them. Deal?
My daughter and her family planned a stay-cation a couple of years ago. They stayed home and visited a different place (within driving distance) each day in their own home state. They loved it!
So, in your very respected opinion, what’s your fave vacation destination? Come on, stir the pot with me! You may just give me some new ideas. I think everyone deserves at least one vacation a year! Don’t you? I want to vacation like the Europeans do! They rarely take just one week at a time! 🙂
Helpful Hints for Staying Safe on Vacation
- Never flash large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry. Leave valuables at home!
- Be aware of your surroundings – always.
- Use common sense when talking to strangers (Did you see the movie Taken? Enough said!)
- Scan your passport and travel documents and email them to yourself (in case you lose them or they are stolen).
- Don’t look like a tourist. Blend in.
- Find out if there are some areas of the city/island that you should avoid.
- When in crowds, be aware of pick pockets.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with friends or family back home.
- Beach/street vendors can be pushy. If you don’t want to buy their wares, don’t make eye contact and keep walking.