A post on personal travel styles seems to be circulating throughout the blogosphere and so I thought I would join in.
I know there are individuals with clearly set travel styles and yet I’m not one of them. While I know there are the beach lovers, the big city haters, those individuals who would cringe over the idea of visiting a museum on their vacation, I don’t fall into any of the above categories. I like the beach. I love big cities. Lastly, visiting a particular museum is sometimes my favorite part of an entire trip.
Excluding our many trips to Disney World, summer vacations in my family usually included historical sites and activities-Colonial Williamsburg, Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields, Washington D.C. and Fort McHenry for starters. Although I didn’t really grow to enjoy these kinds of trip as much until I entered middle school and became immersed in the world of historical fiction (the Dear America books were a great source of inspiration), I would say that this type of travel seemed to set the tone for the development of my own personal travel style once I matriculated in college. When I studied in South Korea I was interested in visiting as many ancient palaces and other historical sites as possible, even though at times the cultural and language differences could be overwhelming. When I spent two weeks in London during an interim break trip during my sophomore year of college, my days were spent touring some of the city’s most famous museums, even though many of my peers slept away the day in order to prepare themselves for yet another night of intense partying.
It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Costa Rica that my travel style changed. I didn’t know much about Costa Rica except that it was greatly lacking in the museum and historical sites department. While neighboring Nicaragua to the north is home to two immensely famous Spanish colonial era cities (Granada and Leon), Costa Rica is home to nada (nothing) like that. However, what it lacks in centuries old buildings and world renowned museums is made up in its dizzying array of flora and fauna that is unmatched in much of the world. The program that I studied with had as its focus “sustainable development” and so many of the meals I consumed and the places I stayed during excursions were related to that. However, it wasn’t so much a travel style I personally adopted but rather one I went along with since it was de jure travel style.
My semester in Spain, though. brought a return to my personally defined travel style comprising history, museums and art. There is truly no better place in the world to experience these three areas than in cities like Paris and Florence and a region like Andalusia, whose gloried past shined during the epoch of the Moorish Empire.
Since graduating from college my travel style has changed and also evolved. During my first year of working in the “real world” post college I went to Cancun, Mexico for vacation. I visited no museums, toured no Mayan ruins; it was simply a beach vacation, even though every day required applying copious amounts of sun block to my incredibly pale skim which is always a supreme annoyance. However, the beach vacation was a good “fit” that year since I was just starting out with my finances and Cancun was incredibly cheap to visit.
My travel style today is truly a mix of everything. While I still love my trips to Europe (I’ve visited Ireland, Belgium, France and Portugal in the last three years), I also love the outdoors (provided my accommodations don’t involve any type of camping). My trip to Hawaii last year was perhaps one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken simply because I could see and experience so much in just one place-whether it was the incredible landscapes, the stunning nightly sunsets or the amazing food. One of the biggest travel regrets I have of my study abroad days in Spain is that I’m not the foodie I am now. Although I certainly had many tapas I didn’t partake in the tapas culture as much as I should have. To think of the pictures and stories along I could be writing right now if only I had been one…
While I know almost certainly that next year will include visiting Kentucky’s famed Bourbon Trail, I’m not sure where else the traveling winds will take me. However, wherever they may, I know that gorgeous views, delicious food, and perhaps a famous historical site or two will probably be included.