My Favorite Vacation

Not too long ago on vacation in Arizona, I went to a sales presentation for a timeshare. The reward for sitting through the ninety-minute presentation was half price off a tour of the Grand Canyon. The salesman, Tom, asked me “Of all the vacations you’ve taken, what would you say was your favorite?” I had to think a while about it. I’ve gone on vacations alone and also with family.  Each time was unique.
I thought about the time I went to a resort in Tobago. I couldn’t get anyone to go with me so, not wanting to cancel my vacation, I went alone.  However, before I could settle in, I met a family, two sisters, their daughters and granddaughter, who feeling responsible for me, took me under their wings. “How can you travel alone?” they asked. “We go everywhere together,” to Alaska, to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.  They couldn’t imagine me traveling alone.  While I appreciated their concern, not wanting to appear standoffish, I accepted their invitation to tag along with them. But I soon found their taste differed a bit from mine. I love to swim.  I never saw them get into the pool or Jacuzzi, nor did they relax at the nearby beach.  Instead they shopped.  Lunchtime they usually went out to a restaurant to eat.  My place had a full kitchen. And since I was on a budget, I purchased food and brought it to my small apartment. Each evening they dressed up in makeup, heels, dressy outfits, and sat around the lounge watching the entertainment. I felt more comfortable in my shorts, tee shirt, and sandals.  While I was grateful they included me in their activities, whenever I could, I ventured off on my own.  
Whenever I go places with family, I’ve always enjoyed myself. Once we accompanied my uncle to Paris. Now that was fun.  That was one of my favorite trips.  There were other trips with family I found thoroughly enjoyable.  The advantages of vacationing with family and friends are that you don’t have to make critical decisions that affect everyone, it becomes a group effort; Also when you’re with others, no one looks at you strangely; you can blend in.  Traveling with family and friends, I have felt safe, more relaxed. I laugh a lot. However, on the other side, vacationing with family and friends, I usually set aside my desires and yield to the desires of others.  
Whenever I’ve gone to places alone, such as a recent trip to Sedona, I’ve enjoyed that very much as well.  It was an adventure that had me discovering not only the magnificent sites in the area, but also learning more about myself; tapping into my strengths as well as recognizing my weaknesses. There is no escaping one self when you vacation alone.  On the up side, I’ve found it easier to meet people when I’m alone than when I am with family or friends. On the down side, I’m always aware of the issue of safety. I don’t stay out late at night. I can’t be as relaxed as I am with family.  Nevertheless, I set my own schedule, eat what I want, wander wherever I please, stay as long as I want, and can change my mind without worrying about hurting others.
I appreciate vacationing with family and alone.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  To answer Tom, the salesperson’s question about my favorite vacation, I’d have to say all were special. Just getting away from time to time from my normal routine is one of my favorite activities.

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