Traveler vs. Vacationer. What side of the line do you lie on?

It could be posited that not many define themselves as either a traveler or a vacationer. Words often used interchangeably, traveling and vacationing are, naturally, something we do, not necessarily a part of who we are. With over a decade of travel industry experience, both professional and personal, I’ve made it my mission to unveil the emotional and experiential distinctions between these two very different designations.

To elaborate, I’ll share the anecdotal as a preamble to my thesis. I began my travel/vacation journey fourteen years ago. A trip that was merely intended as a vacation to the Bahamas, quickly became a traveling expedition and exploration into the beautiful people and customs of these islands. The resort was booked, the parties were planned, and the excursions were typical. Our group of roughly 30 teenagers were celebrating our recent graduation from high school and induction into the, so called, “real world”. Before long, however, I found myself drawn to those aspects of the trip that perhaps my mates, were not necessarily. I reflexively engaged in a study of the anthropological. I was magnetically drawn to unveil the truth behind this gorgeous place, it’s customs, rituals, and history. While the others reveled in the usual shenanigans of the occasion (don’t get me wrong, I did partake), however, I oftentimes found myself in quiet observation. It was there that I knew I’d make my life as I have.

Let’s now return briefly to our original assertion, as we consider how these two words are defined. According to Merriam-Webster, a vacation is “a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business, usually in order to relax or travel”. On the other hand, travel is defined as, “a trip or journey to a place that is far away; to move from one place to another”.

So, at first glance, the definitions for these two words are rather similar with negligible difference. However, as we study the etymology of the word vacation, we find that it goes something like this:

14th century, Middle English, dating back to Latin vacatio, meaning freedom & exemption. Thusly, when we utilize the word vacation, we are really saying that we have the freedom, -the luxury really- to depart, relax, and take time off. Vacation is freedom, and freedom, in turn, is luxury.

As we next turn our attention to the word traveler, we find, it too, was first used in the 14th century, Middle English as travailen or travelen. But it’s original meaning, taken from the Anglo-French travailler, was to torment, labor, strive, or journey. It is here where we find the true distinction between vacationer and traveler. The traveler plunges headlong into his/her journey. He labors over his path, and can admittedly be initially fraught with incertitude by the notable differences between his own culture and that of his hosts. Indeed, it is the journey the traveler takes that changes the adventurer and sets him apart from the vacationer.

Now, vacationing is a beautiful thing; please don’t get me wrong. What’s not to love? I mean, after all, it is often planned for you by someone like me! [Ha Ha]

The details are taken care of and itineraries preset. But a traveler, conversely, allows for the ensuing, and yet to be determined experiences, to act as his figurative road map.

I’ve traveled before on a shoestring budget and luxuriated in some of the world’s top boutique hotels. Now, with many notches in my belt, I can confidently say I’m a vacationer at times, and a traveler, -all the time. No matter where I vacation, my traveler instincts immediately kick in. Even when immersed in amenity, I always leave room for the culture of my destination to woo me. It’s what I’ve become, — a vacationing traveler. I believe it’s the best of both worlds.

So are you a traveler? A vacationer? Or a little of both? I’d love to hear all about your adventures that may have led you to lean one way or another.

Here at HDS Consultants Group, our See the World, Change the World retreat programs provide, what we feel, is a perfect balance of adventure and luxury. It’s the retreat for travelers who’ve earned their right to freedom, -to vacation. This year’s inaugural retreat, takes place in the stunningly captivating region of Thesprotia, nestled along the Northwest coast of Greece. Here, you will be far away from tourism, yet wrapped in the lush amenities that all vacationers seek. The itinerary is full of what locals do on their time off, but with an expert guide from whom we can learn the region’s rich history. One can choose to stay at our splendorous 5 star resort, or boat to a secluded island to discover it’s unique intrigue. Either way, our retreat offers the satisfaction of getting what you so deserve and need, combined with the reward of giving back to others. No matter the reason, you can rest assured that whatever our destination country you’ll have my signature spin on a journey, replete with luxury vacationing and traveling adventure.

I’ll leave you with the words of Paul Theroux, “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” Let’s see the world and change the world together. What are you waiting for? To sign up for our inaugural retreat taking place this September 3rd-12th please visit humanitydelsol.org Travel tab.

Trip inclusions are: $2,200 — $2,800 per person All-Inclusive

Ionian Sea view rooms (prices vary as to guests’ desire for private pool terraza)

Full access to spa facilities

Private Transportation to and from Airport

7 luxury and private excursions

Private tour guides and transportation

Private photographer

Yoga daily

Breakfast, Dinner and most lunches

Wine/Alcohol

15% will be presented to the organization while we are there

Luxury welcome gift basket

15% off at the Ifi Boutique

15% off all additional spa services

Informal Bible fellowship before dinner for those interested in learning the Greek text.

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