Traveling is like an addiction. You work hard, save your money, then splurge on beautiful destinations, luxury hotels, and fine dining. Add in some entertainment if you have any budget left and make it one of the best weeks of your life. Then you show up for work the next Monday, still recovering from jet lag and wishing your office cubicle had a beach chair, cocktail bar, and 4 inches of water to rest your feet in.
I will admit I am just 22 and the only thing I have ever paid for while on a vacation is the souvenirs I bring home. At age 5 I traveled to Disneyland and was splashed by orcas at Seaworld. When I was 9 years old, my family traveled to Hawaii. I visited Pearl Harbor with my dad and got stung by, what I could only guess was, a jelly fish while swimming on the north side of the island. We attended a wedding near San Francisco that same year and another one in Cincinnati, OH in 2004. During my senior year of high school, I traveled away without my parents for the first time. With a group of students from my marketing class and DECA chapter, I attended the 2006 Sports & Entertainment Marketing Conference in Orlando, FL. I had the opportunity to spend several days at Universal and an afternoon at Disneyworld. Being one of just 600 students from across the country to attend, I felt pretty special and took every opportunity to learn from the experience and professional speakers.
Putting it all in writing, I realize how fortunate I have been to gain all these wonderful experiences growing up. That was not even the end of it. In 2007, my family celebrated some major milestones with a cruise through the Caribbean. We stopped in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Mexico. I could write separate stories about each location because they would be quite lengthy. Instead I will save those for conversation. The 2008 summer was my first trip to Las Vegas. Sadly, being just 20 years old I could do no more than watch the casino floor, and listen from outside to the bands play in various clubs and bars. We did not attend any shows, although the next time I go there I am definitely going to see something outrageously cool. Despite this minor set back, I still experienced the high class retail fashion stores, the miniature replicas of famous landmarks, and the escort representatives handing business cards every block. My favorite thing to do was quite simple actually. I swam and lounged by the pool for an entire afternoon one day.
Finally, my most recent travel experience was in 2009 with my girlfriend and her mother to visit family in New York. We flew in to Albany; I am hoping to experience the excitement of NYC someday soon. We stayed in a very old house on the edge of a beautiful lake and I enjoyed each minute of this getaway. It was nice to meet so many new people who were also excited about meeting me.
All of this was just the background of my travel experiences. The real question is what my dream vacation would be like. The answer is really very simple. A dream vacation is going somewhere you have never been before, and experiencing the location in a unique way with someone you love. Do your best to absorb the culture, admire the architecture, snap some photos for a scrapbook, and enjoy the way time becomes stretched as you live each day to the fullest.