Question of the Week: May 31st, 2016

What’s your idea of a fun vacation?

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t really like traveling.  I like staying at home and playing games with friends or family.  Of course, I have to travel to see some of my family, but that’s not quite the same.  I also like occasional outings, such as to museums or street events, but I would get exhausted if I did it multiple days in a row.  That’s why tourism feels exhausting to me.

About Siggy

Siggy is a physics grad student in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and makes amateur attempts at asexual activism. His interests include godlessness, scientific skepticism, and math. While not working or blogging, he plays video and board games with his boyfriend, and folds colored squares.
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15 Responses to Question of the Week: May 31st, 2016

  1. Sara K. says:

    Unlike Siggy, I find tourism stimulating, not exhausting. I remember my mother was astonished with how I could spent 6+ months travelling without getting tired of it.

    My idea of a fun *travel* is something which allows me to have a bunch of stimulating new experiences, which can be a wide variety of things, though I have preferences (hiking, live performances, etc.). However, travel, while not exhausting, is also not restful for me. If I want rest and relax, I stay in my home. A ‘staycation’ which involves, say, reading enjoyable novels can be fun too.

    • Kat says:

      *posts comment while traveling* I’m similar. I tend to thoroughly over-plan my trips over many months, aiming to maximize the variety of things I do (hiking, looking at ruins, picking up random bits of another language, looking at old books). So I’m often very busy and exhausted when I travel. And since I tend to work while traveling, it’s not particularly relaxing. But it’s rewarding in other ways – learning new things, going on adventures to learn new things, finding new things to learn…

      Staying home to relax also matches my experiences. But I get fewer interesting experiences from that.

  2. queenieofaces says:

    I find travel super stressful (says the person who has to fly halfway around the world every year for her job). I do fine once I get there and settle in, but the process of being in transit is awful.

  3. Load up the car with enough stuff to survive for several weeks, fill the front seat with maps, charge the camera batteries (I’m up to five cameras in regular use. Six if I’m going somewhere with interesting heat signatures.), grab my adventure companion (a toy mountain goat originally bought for a friend), and go!

    While I don’t do overnight backpacking in the wilderness, if I’m not outside of cell phone range for a significant portion of the trip, I’m doing it wrong. The destination is usually a string of National Parks or National Monuments. Unfortunately, I’ve covered most of the places that are within reasonable driving distance from Seattle. (And I hate driving…)

  4. On a side note, people really need to start going on Acecations (or would that be vacACEions?), where they wander around the country, timing their trip to hit a ton of local meetups along the way… We can set up a program where each city has a stamp that you can get, to prove you were there, and people try to compete to get the most.

  5. luvtheheaven says:

    I think I’m quite close to Siggy. What he said sounds really fun to me and relateable.

    I get exhausted when I’m on a family vacation and we do “the tourist thing” multiple days in a row although I can sometimes enjoy it. I also tend to not be in good enough ‘shape’ though – that’s why on a multi-day skiing vacation that I found myself on, I stayed in the hotel on my laptop for the second day while everyone else enjoyed going out skiing. 😄 and that’s also why halfway through most (way too long!!) museum visits with my family I’m always desperately looking for the next closest bench to sit down on for 30 seconds, which can distract a lot from any potential enjoyment, because it’s more physically exhausting than emotionally exhausting for me, personally… 😄 Honestly I’m enough of an ambivert that I don’t “need” to ever leave the house NOR do I find being out all the time in and of itself draining.

    I love unique experiences like seeing a play, musical, concert, or a comedy show, I like certain kinds of museums (I think history or specific culture or even information/science/learning based ones!) more than others, I really love going out to try new restaurants, etc. I’ve never left the USA but I always enjoy the chance to see more of it. I love when I end up seeing a film I never would’ve watched otherwise, even decades old perhaps, while on a vacation. I love excuses to dress up, like it being a holiday or us attending a fancy show. I have never attempted to vacation alone, and the biggest thing I enjoy is being with company who will color and shape the experience in a positive way.

    • Yeah, I don’t really go for the whole “family vacation” thing much. Being on someone else’s schedule, visiting someone else’s points of interest, and having to trudge onward can suck the fun out of things.
      On my trips, I go alone (Not counting the mountain goat…). I go on my schedule, so I can stay as long as I like and leave when I’m not interested. If my feet are sore, no more hiking today. If I’m tired, I sleep in and leave at 9 instead of 7. And possibly most importantly for me, lunch is always someplace I want to eat.

  6. Nowhere Girl says:

    I have many interests, including a very special hobby, shared by perhaps just a few thousand people worldwide: climbing ski jumping hills. You know (stereotype employed: Americans don’t know ski jumping… sorry!), the facilities where the competitor slides down the inrun on hir skis, jumps and flies several meters through the air. (Well, jumping hills are of different sizes, depending on the athletes’ age and level: I have climbed hills that allow hopping just 2-3 meters and ones that allow flights in excess of 200 meters.) First it was just about interest in the sport itself: to get to the place from where they jump, look down and marvel at how can they do it… (I believe I could jump from a few tiniest hills I have visited, but already a 10-meter jump is too scary for me. But note that I’m generally not a fit person, I spent my childhood mostly reading instead of hanging around in the backyard.) But then I fell in love with ski jumping hills as architectural objects: what I love most is their diversity, each jumping hill is different.
    The problem is that a) I don’t have much money, b) I can’t drive (I’m just terrified of possibly hurting someone, that’s why I have completely given up any attempts at driving), so I’m dependent on someone who can (like my mother, who tolerates jumping hills, but doesn’t care much about them and, since she remarried, prefers travelling with her husband), public transport (I’m very much for public transport instead of cars, especially in the cities, but it’s not an easy option when want to visit several towns and villages) or hitch-hiking (no longer popular in Eastern Europe, even though Poland once had one of few organised systems of hitch-hiking in the world – now I often feel like some drivers perceive us, pedestrians, as Untermenschen). Because of this I haven’t visited any jumping hills in the last few years. But I have quite an “athletic” approach to it, like amateur sportspeople who strive at always improving their personal best – I count how many jumping hills I have climbed (245), I treat it as an effort because, with my fitness level, climbing several hundreds of stairs (and a large hill can have that much) IS an effort, I can only do it if I stop every few vertical meters to calm my breath. But despite this I love ski jumping hills, I love all those little details such as quite a dramatic plaque begging tourists not to destroy the plastic for summer jumping* in Szczyrk (Poland), a very park-like bench inside the inrun tower in Kuusamo (Finland), an abandoned thermos in Oberwiesenthal (Germany)…
    *In translation: “Dear tourist! The jumping hill is a sports venue. Don’t enter the landing slope! Don’t destroy the plastic!”

  7. Sciatrix says:

    I like museums. Given the opportunity to travel to a large city, I have learned from experience that I spend about 50% of my time investigating museums, 20% eating, and the remaining 30% window shopping at the most interesting local shops and/or farmers’ markets I can find. I don’t actually like traveling very much, but I really like the opportunity to see new museums. (I totally do find it exhausting, but. MUSEUMS.)

  8. TreePeony says:

    Pretty much the same as you, actually. I’m not fond of going on trips, so whenever I get time off I either stay at home and read a book, play board games or cards with my family, or go somewhere close by that’s fun: mostly the park or a new restaurant.

  9. AceAdmiral says:

    The sight I love seeing the most is the grocery store! This is probably because I can experience my two favorite parts of travelling–getting a feel for the atmosphere and food–at once. Grocery stores are so fascinating, though? Like, what do people actually eat? What’s the stuff they can’t do with out? What are their pre-made convenience foods like? And, most importantly if you’re abroad, what do they think you eat?* It doesn’t even stop at the food–how is the food sold? How is the store organized? How do they construct sales? Advertising? How do you check out? What about bagging? What don’t they sell, and where do you have to go to get that stuff?

    It just makes you question all your assumptions, you know? Like, Japan–why are the eggs not refrigerated? (Are we wrong for refrigerating eggs?) Australia–why does every package devote a paragraph to saying it was made there? Doesn’t the fact that it’s not $100000000 speak for itself? Denmark (Western Europe in general, I guess)–why so much concentrate? Do you really put in all the effort to mix up the juice/cordial? In a pitcher all at once or…? England–how could it possibly be that you invented sandwiches and are yet so terrible at them?** And why do you have so very many kinds of sour cream??? –and I say this as a sour cream enthusiast.

    And it’s not even just abroad; I moved a month ago just across the county but I still got a whole new grocery store to explore and try and understand and lament the lack of cream of wheat in.*** I’ve gone on several grocery store expeditions without even worrying my ice cream will melt before I get home.

    And then you get to eat the orange fish salad with the intimidatingly long Dutch name (godspeed) at the end! It’s the best way to end an adventure! Grocery stores. That’s where it’s at.

    *As an American, to anyone concerned: don’t worry, we don’t eat that.
    **Sorry.
    ***Apparently its true name is “farina,” and apparently I can get gluten-free cream of rice or quinoa porridge but basic instant cream of wheat is too much to ask because apparently I live in the South and apparently we need that shelf space for Yet More Plain Grits. All of these propositions are highly questionable.

    • Nowhere Girl says:

      Interesting. There are a few quite simple foods I’d like to try: non-orange carrots and colored (blue, red…) cornmeal. Here in Poland both are completely unavailable. Or more precisely: colored carrots can be bought, but only as seeds and I don’t have a garden. When I ask farmers at the market, all say they haven’t even seen colored carrots being sold.
      Some company even told me they used to sell colored carrots, but have given it up because there was little interest and, especially, people mistook white carrots for parsley root…
      And I quite like playing a bit with appearance of food: making sauce with red and orange tomatoes, using both wheat and corn pasta in a single dish… I have a dish I invented myself: risotto with carrots and orange tomatoes – I’d love to make a red and yellow version of this dish, but I can’t get yellow or red carrots…

      However, when I go abroad, a thing I’m most looking for is tea. I’m a teamaniac (example: I never drink the same tea more than once daily), I like trying all different kinds of tea and, of course, some flavors and some companies are available in one country and not in another one… For example, Polish and German assortment of Teekanne is quite incomparable. When my mother was recently going to Germany without me, I checked the websites of Teekanne and Messmer, wrote down teas I’d like to try and asked my mum to buy me a few from the list…

      • AceAdmiral says:

        I guess I shouldn’t make this offer without actually checking the store, but I think I could hook you up with blue cornmeal if you want? The carrots would be harder to mail, but so long as the flour would clear customs, I’d be happy to do it.

    • Siggy says:

      I really like this perspective on travel. In past experience, some of the best parts of traveling is getting a sense of cultural differences, but the problem is I don’t actually want to interact with strangers. But grocery stores are a sort of window into local culture.

  10. Hollis says:

    I’m usually living out of my car during the summer because of the freedom it allows me–if I don’t have work for 4+ days I can drive somewhere (else or just somewhere if it’s a dry summer) for whitewater kayaking. Plus since I’m living out of the car, I’ve got everything I need (except usually food because a cooler takes up too much valuable space with not enough utility).

    So basically vacations to me=camping and doing outdoor things. Mostly whitewater, but also some hiking. Part of me wants to get more into backpacking and overnights, but there’s so much dang bear activity in my area that it’s a huge pain and I feel a little uncomfortable as a solo person even though it’s only black bears. I’ve got a few friends that want to do a couple local overnights for whitewater trip, and I’m hoping water levels cooperate for this fall/next spring to do them. Also I’m currently hoping my finances will enable a trip to Chile this fall with a large crew of people for some whitewater kayaking because we’re all envious of the pair of friends that went last fall.

    I’m not a fan of doing the tourist thing though, and I especially don’t like museums (like, in theory they’re great. in actuality there are way too many people in too little space and it’s too load and it’s overload/anxiety attack central).

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