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I’m on vacation this week – boy, did I need it!  It’s always so nice to get away from whatever is going on in your “regular” life – whether it’s for a day, a weekend, a week, or even longer (if you’re lucky).  I’ve taken a lot of vacations over the years, and I think I’ve picked up on a few things along the way that are true no matter where in the world you go.

Johnny Mercer Pier, Wrightsville Beach, NC

  1. The food tastes better on vacation.  I’ve been fortunate in my vacations:  I’ve visited a lot of amazing places and eaten a lot of fantastic meals.  I remember a terrific paella at a restaurant in Cinque Terre, Italy, and if you are ever in Paris, France, run – do not walk – to La Tour d’Argent.  You won’t regret it.  I remember delicious tagines in Marrakesh and yummy shwarmas from street vendors in Casablanca.  My point is that vacation food is always yummy – even when it’s not.  I think we are all so thrilled with being on vacation that our taste buds are amplified.  Great meals become phenomenal, good meals become great, and “meh” meals become good.  Yesterday, I mosied on down to the local hot dog establishment and had a North Carolina Trolly Dog.  This was a beef and pork hot dog smothered in chili, onions, and cole slaw.  It was delicious.  But I bet it wouldn’t have been as good at home in Washington, DC.
  2. You Eat Things You Normally Wouldn’t.  This goes along with #1.  There’s no time like vacation to try new cuisines.  I’m not a fan of seeing the legs and eyes of the shrimp I’m served – which is how it was served in Cinque Terre – but I ate ever bit of that paella.  And not just new cuisines.  Sometimes you eat things that you really dislike when you’re at home.  For example, as a general rule, I dislike red velvet cupcakes, but because they are here I’ll eat one (or two).
  3. Exercise becomes enjoyable.  What is it about being on vacation that makes exercise seem fun?  Is it just me?  Don’t get me wrong – I want to chill out and relax on vacation too.  But for some reason, I’m more committed to exercising when I’m away from home.  Am I afraid of packing on extra pounds?  I am eating some fantastic meals, after all.  Or does it just feel like you’re one of the “beautiful people” when you’re running on the beach?  I don’t know, but I guess my waistline appreciates it.
  4. It’s Bizarro World.  What do I mean by this?  I mean that on vacation, you’re more inclined to do things that you ordinarily would not do.  Obvious, right?  You’re on vacation; that means you’re not working, you’re not office droning or whatever.  But here’s what I really mean:  when I’m on vacation, I will walk or bike distances that I would only drive in my “real” life.  Yesterday, I strolled into “town” for lunch.  It wasn’t a super-long walk, but it was hot outside and I know for a fact that if I had been at home I would not have hesitated to hop in the car to get where I needed to go.  I also hopped on my bike to go to the farmer’s market.  Do you understand what this means?  I biked there – it was a good distance away, bought fresh fruits and vegetables that I had to carry home, and biked home.  And I loved it.
  5. No One Looks in the Mirror.  I have been to beaches in a lot of places around the world and I have learned that people are extremely confident and comfortable with their bodies.  I’m of two minds about this.  On the one hand, I think it’s fabulous.  People of all shapes and sizes are out and proud, enjoying the sun, sand and water.  Fantastic.  On the other hand, I kind of think that some of these folks need a reality check, right?  I mean, it’s true:  not everyone can be a supermodel.  I’m certainly not.  But sometimes I think a certain level of modesty is in order.  Like nobody wants to see a wrinkly old lady in a bikini, right?  But then again, if she feels okay in it, who are we to complain?  And it’s not just the beach is it?  We’ve all seen the tourist (probably American) wearing Bermuda shorts, white socks, and sandals.  Dude, please.  If you don’t know, ask.

Vacation is vacation is vacation, no matter where you go.  I suppose the important thing is to make sure you relax and enjoy – whether you’re on safari, lazing by the beach, or navigating a bustling city.  This one’s been so much fun I may need another to recover.  I’m open to recommendations…

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