The Ideal Vacation

If you could plan the perfect vacation, what choices would you make?

Read on to see how Pause e-zine readers envision their ideal get-aways.

You’ll feel like you took a break just thinking about the possibilities.


CM writes: “My dream vacation would be to have someone pick me up at my door in a limo, then drive me to the airport, carry my luggage to the check-in, escort me to my first class seat and have the cabin crew wait on me, hand and foot. There would be someone waiting to pick me up at my destination to drive me (in a limo) to either a spa or a waiting cruise ship. Someone would make my bed everyday, turn it down every night, prepare all my meals, bring me drinks on deck or by the pool, then limo me back to the airport and home again.”

TN writes: “A great vacation is waking up to the silence of all but the birds and simply knowing that one does not have to go to work. Sitting on the deck in the early morning, the smell of fresh cool air, lake like a mirror, a great cup of coffee in hand and my dogs waiting for their early morning walk. Working hard on a project of enjoyment knowing that tomorrow one can continue to enjoy the excitement of the challenge without having to do one’s normal job. Fishing from a boat on a still lake in the early morning, the morning fog hanging low and the sun peeking over the edge. After a few days of not working, the realization and relaxation of vacation is now settling in. I enjoy the calm and peace of the mind.”

JK writes: “I love this quote by Milton Berle and I agree with it whole-heartedly. ‘Laughter is an instant vacation.’ My ideal vacation is filled with lots of laughs; relaxation; good food; late nights; sleep-ins; good books; and lots and lots of holding hands with the ones I love.”

SC writes: “We have never been able to take a vacation with our kids except to my parents cabin. They sold the cabin this year so I think my ideal vacation would be to take the kids on a trip to British Columbia to finally show them the whales they have always wanted to see. Hopefully we would fly and get two of their wishes in one swoop!”

BB writes: “This year I made the decision to take a vacation at home. I love to garden and live on an acreage that holds as many opportunities as I have ideas for the yard. Unfortunately, because I have a 45 minute commute to work full time in the city, I cannot devote as much time as I would like to this pursuit. Each year my good intentions of a vegetable garden turn into a field of weeds. This year I spent two weeks of my four week vacation at home working in the yard and garden. It must have been the right decision because the weather even cooperated. Each morning I got up went to the garden and hoed a few rows then moved on to cutting lawn, caring for plants, painting lawn furniture and just general care and maintenance of my little corner of the world. It was therapeutic. I picked bouquets of flowers for the house and even started to plan what I want to plant next year. I can see where this vacation at home is going to become a regular activity, so I can enjoy my efforts for the rest of the summer. It just proves that we don’t always have to ‘get away’ to get away from our hectic work life. I am back to work now, rejuvenated, tanned and well cared for, just like my yard.”

JR writes: “I prefer very long, somewhat rough vacations into the third-world back woods of Guatemala or Laos. Very green, very ‘jungley’.

NA writes: “My daughter and I spent a week in July and a week in August helping her brother, my son, get some necessary work done. It was too overwhelming for one person. The July project was taking a bathroom completely apart, installing new vinyl, tub, toilet, sink, and painting. In August we installed vinyl siding on the home as well as painting all the trim. Wow, we even impressed the neighbors, but were especially proud we did this on holiday time! As our daughter said, “Four walls-four days” Exhausting, yes! Rewarding, Absolutely! Great bonding, working together. Lots of laughs even when we were dragging ourselves off to bed at the end of a long day. A great feeling to help someone relieve their stress and to complete such daunting projects! Best holiday in a long time. We understand why people take holidays to help projects like Homes for Humanity.”

SG writes: “My perfect vacation includes going to a hot, sunny beach preferably ocean (Caribbean) toa destination where I know no one with my husband and one or two other couples for two weeks. I would do no cooking or cleaning. There would be good food and service, entertainment/ things to see and do (only if I want to) and lots of time to totally relax. I think I’ll book something right now!”

RC writes: “My ideal vacations have several components. Being near water (river, lake, ocean). Spending time with people who I enjoy and who share common interests such as bird watching or appreciating nature. Seeing something new (place, bird, animal, building). And spending time at home alone accomplishing some of the things from the list that never get done any other time of the year.”

CW writes: “My dream vacation is being surrounded by the mountains – the scenery is breath taking – the air so clean – a stream runs between – so serene and peaceful.”

SC writes: “Right now my ideal vacation would be an extended visit to Montreal. I recently had a small taste of this very open and inviting city and would certainly like more! The content of the vacation would be action packed, but with nothing that I “have” to do, many things I would like to do and no special schedule for doing them. Lots of activity and walking, the kind of vacation that leaves your feet tired but your soul exalted by the variety of things you have done. That is the vacation dream today.”

ESR writes: “The perfect vacation for me has several elements. No laptop, no cell phone, no cable TV, no e-mail – and only the local newspaper if I am staying somewhere near civilization. The only people who know where I am are the neighbours. And they have strict instructions not to call unless the house is burning or my mom is ill. We do make an exception for the GPS if we are wilderness canoeing – but it’s only so we know where we are on the map. Quiet time just for myself and my journal. Quality time with my husband. We don’t meet with friends for the whole holiday. A good book – NOT work-related. A complete change of routine from everyday life (Sleep in – or not. Eat ice cream for supper if we choose or have a glass of wine with lunch. Go for a run at sunset – or at five am). Discover and learn about something completely new, different or interesting. Have a soft re-entry. We usually try to arrive home two days before we have to report to work – and then work only three or four days the week we return. We refer to it as the ‘gradual return from vacation’ program.”

JB writes: “I recently went on a ‘Ladies Craft Retreat’ with three friends. We arrived Friday afternoon and got set up with our sewing machines and projects. It was a wonderful time. We worked on projects, friendships, relaxing and laughing. The retreat was held at a Bible Camp. No meals to make; no procedures to write; no family to take anywhere. Just doing what I like to do. It was a wonderful experience, and really took me away from the day to day obligations.”

VT writes: “I take a vacation in my back yard every time I enjoy my flowers. I take a vacation when I take my dog for a walk. How about multiple mini vacations and less planned anticipated ones? This way it’s not such a drag when the big vacations are over.”

AR writes: “My ideal vacation would be in a natural setting: in the mountains, by a lake, or in a beautiful treed area, away from the hustle of the city. This would probably be a park since our holidays are usually camping in a small motor home. Often a week to ten days is the best timeframe. My days would be relaxed: a long morning walk listening to the symphony of the birds, feeling the breeze on my face, feeling the warmth of the sun, or the drops of rain. A bag of my favorite reading: books of a spiritual nature, and a couple of novels with a good plot. Time to think and reflect on life, my family, where things are headed. Good food and drink, comfortable and meaning conversations with my partner, and then evenings begin with another walk, then time around a campfire watching the sunset then contemplating the stars in the summer night sky. This kind of vacation allows me to refill, rejuvenate and replenish my body and spirit, and helps me face the next challenges life.”

MM writes: “My ideal vacation is loading my horse in my horse trailer and heading for the hills – literally! The time I spend riding in the hills of southern Saskatchewan – either alone or with girl friends – is the most pleasurable thing I can imagine. The sights, sounds, smells & scenery are incredible. There is no way to see the world but from the back of a horse. I truly treasure these times and recall them throughout the long winter months while I look forward to next summer when I can ride again.”

CA writes: “My ideal vacation is laying on a soft blanket in a bikini , drink in one hand, fun book in another, watching the clouds roll by! It is not only exhilarating but 100% relaxing!”

SW writes: “My ideal vacation is to spend it with my husband and two sons at a cottage. Throughout the year we all have very hectic schedules and it’s always nice to reconnect away from the hustle and bustle of the city, computer games, cell phones, etc. We get reacquainted and enjoy each other’s company while playing simple games like scrabble or monopoly. I cherish the time we have because one day soon the kids will be flying the coop and have families of their own.”

DW writes: “Our ideal vacation occurred last February, when we traveled from snowy western New York to Key West, Florida, for a week. We returned relaxed, rested, and refreshed. Here’s why. We spent the time with friends we have had for more than 30 years, and whom we seldom see because they live 1200 miles away. The planned schedule was loose, with plenty of time to relax. We got a complete change of weather and scenery and somewhere new to explore. We enjoyed a lot of good food, wine, and conviviality every day. We gave each other a lot of space. No one who wanted to stay by the B & B pool, go to bed early, or sleep late was pushed into activities the others wanted to enjoy. Our travel around Key West was done on foot or via bicycle; no traffic hassles were dealt with. When we decided that our planned itinerary needed to change, we changed it. We never hesitated to just go with our feelings rather than our schedule. Reservations were made and deposits were paid well in advance. We got the pick of plane and accommodation reservations, with no last-minute hassles. We also looked forward to this break for a long time beforehand.”

WR writes: “I’m a homebody, and there’s nothing I’d rather do for my vacation than to spend it close to home. I work at a fairly high-pressure job, so days-on-end hanging around the house and yard, letting the kids roam with their friends, taking in a street fair, popping up to the cabin for a couple of days, no pressure, no itinerary, that’s my ideal vacation. Naturally, there’s a hitch. My husband is our at-home parent, and he loves nothing more in the summer than to load the van, get away from the house and yard for a couple of weeks, and drive. Of course, he has siblings in two other provinces, and the kids need to see their cousins … so we’ve settled on a compromise. One year is an at-home vacation. The next is a driving-out-of-province vacation. We try to return from our driving vacation a few days before I go back to work, to give us all a little downtime at home. The compromise works pretty well for us on a travel year, like this one is, I know my husband is having a ball and getting the away time he needs, that I’ll have a few days at home at the end, and that next year’s coming. He’ll get through my years by dreaming about next year’s destinations.”

BW writes: “My ideal vacation is on a beach in the Mediterranean. It’s got the trifecta of a perfect vacation for me: ot weather and a beach; amazing wine and local food (Greek salad, spanikopita, tzatziki, tapas or paella); and ready access to culture, architecture and history.”

JA writes: “Any vacation time spent out of town doing anything works for me. That way I don’t get the usual phone calls from my office wondering how to do things, along with sundry apologies for bothering me while I am supposed to be on vacation! This year I took a couple of weeks off, drove to Montana to the base of the mountains and enjoyed the mountain air, the scenery, new faces, new places. As the old saying goes, ‘A change is good as a rest.’ I came back to the office quite relaxed even though I came back to a full desk (which had been clear when I left). I still feel rejuvenated; and when the stress starts to wander back in, I just do a quick visualization of my vacation and my mind relaxes once more!”

RR writes: “I just had an ideal vacation! My entire family (including my father) taught at or learned at a Salvation Army music camp. We had an opportunity to make music and teach music as well as have lots of fun swimming, playing ball hockey, doing crafts, having water fights, eating well and working hard. Although I was tired at the end of the week, it was a good tired.”

CM writes: “For me the perfect vacation, whether it’s one day or one month, is one where I can ‘march to the beat of my own drummer.’ I need to be able to do what I want, when I want. It might be hiking to the top of Sulphur Mountain, shopping all afternoon, or reading a book on the lawn swing. The key is that I can start when I want, quit when I want, and do what I want. I can happily vacation at the lake or on a road trip, or, and these are my favorites, at home or in a strange city. It doesn’t matter where it only matters how. It restores my self.”

JV writes: “My ideal vacation would be at a house on a beach, where there are lots of outside activities to participate in or where I can just sit back and enjoy nature. I love getting up late, reading a little then spending part of the day active and ending the day with a nice meal outside with a bonfire. That is want I call relaxing. This can also be in the mountains.”

ED writes: “My ideal vacation would be to get up when my body wakes me, with no alarm clock, telephone or other shock. Open the curtains and the window and get back into bed. Enjoy the sunshine pouring through the window and the sound of the birds and the feel of the fresh breeze as I lounge in my PJs and read a great mystery book. Then, when I need a break from my book, I go fix myself some fresh fruit, pound cake and ice cream. Only on a holiday can you really have dessert for breakfast. I’d enjoy my sweet indulgence out on my deck where I can watch the birds, butterflies and bugs explore my backyard and the forest beyond. The afternoon would vary between some leisurely shopping, touring my favorite museums and galleries, or more reading and people watching in the park. Later, I would go out for a nice dinner, or make myself something special I wouldn’t normally take the time for. After a long day of doing practically nothing, I would soak in the tub, pamper myself (manicure, hair treatment, etc.) and relax to my favorite music. Finally, I would crawl into my cozy bed with my purring cats and the knowledge that I can do it again tomorrow.”

JH writes: “My ideal vacation taking a break from my regular routine My most favorite time is when I take some time and visit my Aunt and Uncle who live in the Lake Ozark area of Missouri. I stay at their home and just visit with them. It truly is the most peaceful and restful time I get. When I return home and back to work I feel refreshed. I am about to go to their home for the weekend and I am excited.”

CJ writes: “My ideal vacation is just being with my three year old son. In July, I took a week off. For three of the days, I followed my son’s lead, doing what he wanted to. By removing us from home, I found that the yard work and housework wasn’t calling me. At the end of our busy days, as my son is fast asleep, I reflect on our day and smile at the questions, comments and actions of my young son as he continues to remind me about all the everyday wonderful things that we encounter. Being with my son gives me a wonderful tickling feeling mixed with giggles, joy and pride.”

J writes: “My ideal vacation would include a rustic, yet modern hideaway in a natural surrounding – a national park, an island or a resort off the beaten track. Wake to soft music, yoga stretches and a reading meditation, fruit and natural foods breakfast and herbal tea. Read, walk, shower or hot tub/sauna then a health treatment – massage, reflexology, healing touch, or mineral water bath. Nap, lunch, share a belly laugh and then time to wander the natural surroundings, listen for water, see flowers, trees, sky, touch the earth below me, taste fresh water and see the sights of the world surrounding me. Nap, read, walk some more. No phones, no computers, no TV, no radio. A silent evening meal, read, join in a dance party and then head to bed – by 10:00 p.m. Three days of this and I would be recharged.”

LR writes: “My ideal vacation would be in the heart of the Yukon Territory, Canada, on top of the beautiful Rocky Mountains enjoying the freshest air imaginable where streams run from a mountainside giving you clean, cold water. Breathtaking scenery knocks you on your knees and makes you say. ‘Why I don’t live here, I’ll never know.’ There is a base camp about 20kms from the road where we drop the quads. The camp consists of a wall tent that serves as our eating facilities, kitchen and all around center for gathering. We have our tents pitched around it providing us with comfortable sleeping quarters. There is a large fire pit made out of rocks we gathered from around the site when we first got there. During the day I take hikes. I can spend an afternoon on a hillside looking up a valley that stretches as far as I can see. I spot a moose on one hill grazing. I look on another mountain and spot a heard of caribou. Below them is a grizzly bear digging for gophers. I look at the mountain peak above me and there is a lone mountain sheep laying at the very top, the wind cooling him while he naps. I lay back and put my head on a rock I decide to use as a pillow. My eyes close and I take a deep breath. After a moment I can’t see or hear anything except for what is supposed to be there. At that moment, my dream vacation has become a reality and I am content. I will do this for two weeks solid and enjoy every second of every day. No matter what the weather brings or what I see around the corner, life will be at it’s best.”

DH writes: “My ideal vacation would be the Ocean of Gratitude Cruise in the Caribbean. It’s exactly what I need right now after 3 years of full-time studies in 2 different provinces followed by my move to Saskatchewan for a dream job that blends my passion and backgrounds in arts administration, education, events planning, photography and spirituality. Gaining a sense of balance will be my greatest challenge now, as our company embarks on many fascinating projects. Although I claim to be a reformed perfectionist, I fully recognize my tendency to push myself to the limit, propelled by my own expectations and self-imposed deadlines. It’s exciting, it’s challenging, and yes, it can be exhausting. And that’s why this cruise sounds ideal for me.”

HB writes: “My ideal vacation can be taken anywhere. It involves being able to drop everything long enough to withdraw from everything and everyone long enough to completely immerse myself in a good book by one of my favorite authors. For it to be ideal, I have to be able to read the book from start to finish without having to worry about anyone else’s needs and then I feel like I have truly had a break and a successful vacation from the ‘real’ world.”

BH writes: “We have a family cabin at Christopher Lake. To my way of thinking, that is the ideal vacation spot. Our cabin is set in the natural surroundings so there are no manicured lawns to care for. I organize one meal a day for my family so that leaves lots of time for walking the dog on the ski trails through the woods, swimming, boating, campfires on the beach, and just relaxing with a good book. The cabin has been an important part of my life and it’s the one place I can totally relax. Driving up as soon as we hit the treeline, I can feel all the tensions start to seep out of my body, it’s a wonderful place to pause.”

CW writes: “My family, for as many years as I can remember, have gone camping. We always go the same week every year. So for the next 360 days we all count down to when we can get to go again. We all take our campers, tents, whatever we have. We share a campsite. My sister makes up a menu, Each person is given a shopping list before we go. And we then head to the campsite to relax and spend time together. We have seniors, teen-agers and two year olds. My favorite part of it all is that we try to go to a campsite that does NOT have power, phone, etc. so we have the time with no distractions to have REAL CONVERSATIONS. We talk about things that have happened all throughout the year. If you want to fish – you fish. If you want to sleep – you sleep. If you want to read – you read. We even bring the family pets (dogs, ferrets, and cats). We have been doing this since I was a little girl Now I am a mother of teenagers, and still we go. Everyone should allow this family bonding time. We are a very close family – even though some of us don’t live geographically close together.”

CC writes: “I run a full time daycare from my home. My days are normally so schedule-driven that I find I still need some structure and some type of need to accomplish something during my vacation. So I normally have either one big ‘summer project’ or else several small items to cross off my list. Crossing items off my ‘to-do’ list simply makes me happy! The best part of my holiday is the time and luxury to simply enjoy family and small getaways. A day trip here and a few nights there. This rare, unaffordable time off is the best gift I give to myself!”

RV writes: “My ideal vacation looks like this. Physically getting away and leaving work behind. Having a day planned with fun activities but not overplanned (so that a nap can be worked in if needed). Not checking in at the office and not checking one’s email while away. Actually forgetting about work totally (even on the last day). Hanging out with friends and doing new activities (seeing a play at a dinner theatre). Engaging in fun physical activities (eg hiking, going for a sunset walk most evenings). Not rushing to catch up (sometimes not even reading the newspaper). This slower pace means relaxation to me.”

PB writes: “My ideal vacation looks like this. A wonderful uneventful drive to accommodations by a quiet and peaceful lake. A mixture of rustic with conventional conveniences in the background. A choice of someone preparing meals and housekeeping or the opportunity to do it yourself. A stroll down to the lake front to sit on the dock listening to the waves and birds or to bask in the sun feeling the cooler lake breeze. Sleeping in or getting up with the birds but always getting up to sit on the deck with the morning’s first cup of coffee and reveling in the soothing sounds and smells of nature. Beautiful sunrises and equally great sunsets. A book and fishing rod in hand, a deep sense of contentment while trolling on the lake – no care whether the fish will bite but always prepared. Refreshing lake swims – hikes to unknown places – canoe trips to spy on shoreline wildlife Relaxing with music and candlelight with a loved one in the Jacuzzi Evenings listening or swaying to smooth, quiet jazz sounds. Night storms with wonderful light and sound displays. Cozy cool evenings in front of the fireplace with that special someone. No schedules for what to do or when to do it. Paradise on the very first day continuing to the last. Just visualizing has been the greatest relaxing and cost efficient pause event ever!

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