By Juliette

Traveling Versus Vacationing: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

travel versus vacationing

If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be eager. Eager…to the point where it could actually be my greatest fault. While I find the excitement preceding a trip to be one of the best parts of travel, it can also cause me to continually be living ahead, rather than having joy in the here and now. When it comes to vacation, I’ll admit that I’m probably doing zero “vacationing”. Having only gotten my passport at the age of 22, I continually felt that there was so much making up I had to do, so much I hadn’t seen, experienced, tasted, or enjoyed yet. So with each passing trip, I would pack in as much as possible, assuming I would never make it back to that corner of the world. While I thrived on the busy-ness of it all, the lack of sleep and hours spent traveling between here and there and every space in between became overwhelming. It is difficult to truly immerse yourself in a new place when only given a day or two. Is it more important to simply see it all, or to take the time to truly dive into one place and forgo the rest?

Bethany beach delaware

I haven’t decided yet.

Because of my nature, I don’t anticipate my slowing down anytime soon. But, I have made it a point to determine what each trip is for. Detailed backpacking excursions through new countries will be made up of overpacked schedules and nerve-wrecking connecting flights so not a single landmark is missed. However, longs weekends to the shore and vacations down south are for slowing down. Not so much for my body to recover, but for my mind too as well. An empty schedule and a day full of nothing is underrated. Spending your hours simply doing what you want to do at that very moment re-invites intention into how you spend your time. And so, that’s how we ended up at Bethany Beach, Delaware.

A quaint beach town with a mere population of 1,060 breeds calmness and serenity. Although Bethany Beach can reach nearly 16,000 people in the warmer months, that doesn’t take away from the lazy summer days doing little more than moving from the sand to the shade and back again. Staying at a family house, we opted to go schedule free. However, remission is hard, and I still had my eye on a yoga class on the shore and a ice cream spot to try out. Other than that, I worked to spend my time mindfully and thoughtfully.

Yoga at Bethany Beach, Delaware
Yoga at Bethany Beach

Mornings were spent down at the beach before the day’s crowd lined the edge of the water. We attended out one planned one yoga class and were pleasantly surprised with its popularity. After a zen start to the day, we searched out for breakfast along the beach and to mark our territory in the sand. As if on cue, dolphins swam out on the horizon and, for once, I felt that I didn’t need to know where I would be going that afternoon, or evening, or any other point in time. Since sun and sand aren’t necessarily a friend to my pale sensitive skin, we were back home in a couple of hours to soak up the rest of the day’s light on a shady back porch.

Evenings were filled with home cooked meals (salmon with a mango glaze and corn if you’re nosey about other people’s meals like me) and a trek out to the greatest ice cream place in town.

Salt pond, bethany beach, delaware
Kayaking at Salt Pond

And that’s how our days went. Some mornings we opted to kayak out in the bay, and other evenings we went for leisurely bike rides through the golf course. We spent time with family and played an estimate of 200 rounds of Heads Up, laughing til we cried. We finished one 500 piece puzzle and barely put a dent in the 1,000 piece one. And I rested. Instead of talking about what to do next and where we needed to go, we talked about how nice the breeze felt and the color of the sky as the sun set. We watched the deer eat in the grass and ate more blueberries than one person should.

Kayak salt pond, bethany beach, delaware

So, which is better? To travel and see entire world? Or vacation and enjoy a tiny bit of what it has to offer? Perhaps there’s a way to do both. But for now, I’ll find a balance that works for me.

How do you identify yourself? Are you more traveler, or vacationer?


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