Contributors Travel Talk

Discovering the Difference Between Traveling and Vacationing While in St. Lucia


I know you’re used to seeing mostly Euro content around these Solo Female parts and Rob has written enough about the Caribbean to fill an entire novel/book of poetry, but I thought I’d join the party and share with you a bit of the recent vacation I took to paradise.

What you are looking at here is me in the Caribbean Sea, St. Lucia to be exact, after a four year hiatus. Even though my time in Madeira, Portugal may have felt a bit like a Caribbean getaway, the last time I was actually in this part of the world was a trip I took to Jamaica back in Spring 2009. I’m calling it a “vacation” because for the first time in a while.

Aside from being able to just sit back and drink potent tropical beverages all day long on the beach, this vacation also gave me a chance to reconnect with some of the most important people in my life who I can’t believe I kept myself away from for so long due to my selfish obsession with travel. The longer I stay closer to family and old friends, the more what really matters in life starts to come into focus. This is of course not rocket science and something you hear people talking about all the time, but for some it’s incomprehensible until it’s experienced first hand and at the right time.

Enough about feelings and perceptions though…let’s talk about St. Lucia, shall we?

Seeing as I am a Master of Europe and not the Antilles, I really had no idea where I was headed or what I was in for the entire ride down. All I knew was that it was going to be good considering every time I looked out the airplane window, I’d catch a glance of something like this:

What I ended up really liking about St. Lucia though was that it turned out to be nothing like a majority of the islands I was flying over on my way down from Miami. Word on the beach is that most of the white sand you find on the island is actually imported from other places like Belize. The rest (and majority) of it is golden or even silver near the more volcanic parts.

It’s super mountainous and lush as you may have already noticed which makes it an ideal place for waterfall hikes or zip-lining if that is your jam. Turns out it is also an ideal place for shooting movies and TV shows. The original Dr. Doolittle was filmed around where I stayed in Marigot Bay and some season finale of The Bachelor which I’m fortunate enough to have missed.

During the seven days we spent there we did our fair share of touristy stuff (Drive-in volcano tour, sulphur bath, rum factory visit, and a hike up to the top of Pigeon Island), but for the most part we just kicked it on boats and on beaches without an agenda nor concept of time. To me, that is the difference between a vacation and traveling. It doesn’t matter where you go or when as much as why and with whom.

I travel to explore and I vacation to take a break from reality. That’s why I’ve decided that the Caribbean will be one of my favorite vacation spots from here on out. I could never imagine myself living there for an extended period of time nor hopping from island to island trying to submerge myself into the cultures of each, but I can and will envision myself laying around on its beautiful beaches without a care in the world and a Sweet Lala in my hand every time I feel I need a break.

Have you discovered any differences between traveling and vacationing or am I just crazy? I’d love to know.

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11 thoughts on “Discovering the Difference Between Traveling and Vacationing While in St. Lucia

    1. No, you’re right. Vacation is one thing for me. Traveling another. And sometimes traveling almost feels like a job. If you really want to get to know the world, it’s hard work! Do you understand what I mean or am I confusing?

        1. I totally know what you mean too which let’s me know you knew what I mean. That WAS confusing.

          It’s not like I’m not interested in getting to know places I vacation in, but I do tend to keep it more at a surface level or else I’d never be able to relax. That’s why the Caribbean is so awesome – it’s island life so for the most part relaxing is what you are expected if not forced to do.

  1. Sometimes you just need to get away and relax. I’m starting to hit that point right now… I haven’t gone anywhere in a while to just drink on a beach and admire the beauty of a place. I understand how trips can be completely different when you’re ‘working’ versus having no itinerary. After going to Latvia and working with the tourism boards there in two different cities, I’m done with it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t really blog as a job, so there is no need to have my trip determined for me. Sometimes I don’t if I’m going to get to a place and want to explore or just chill out. Sadly, Belarus turned out to be more of a chill out vacation than exploring (ok…thanks in part to food poisoning and bureaucratic issues). I think St. Lucia seems like a far better relaxation destination than Belarus haha!

    Great photos…this has inspired me to book something similar of the sort in the next few months. My mind definitely needs it.

    And enjoy every moment you get to hang out with good family and friends! I’m very jealous and would give anything to just fly back to the US and see them soon!

    1. Oh no! More bureaucratic issues? And food poisoning? Seems like you were/are really liking it though so that is good.

      Glad I inspired you to book something similar and trying to think where that’s fairly close to Norway. Maybe Greece? Even when I was living in Odessa practically on the beach, it didn’t feel anything like the relaxation you get from an isolated island close to the Equator.

      I’ve been really lucky in that every tourism board and PR company I’ve worked with has created such awesome itineraries and been so flexible that I’ve never felt like I’ve been forced to spend my time in a place in a way I didn’t want. The only thing that always gets me is stressing about when I am going to have wifi next and how much I can Tweet, Instagram, Facebook about while still tryng to remain in the present. That’s what was so cool about the Caribbean – even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. The internet was sooo slow where we were at that it just go to the point where we said screw it and gave up trying to be even a little productive.

      Enjoying every moment with the fam, believe me! I didn’t anticipate staying as long as I have but there has definitely been a reason for it which perhaps I will chat about next time 🙂

  2. My husband and I have traveled full-time for 6 years in an RV and a sailboat, and there is a massive difference between vacationing and traveling.

    Before we set off on our travels, we vacationed like everyone else in the workaday world. Pick a spot anywhere, go there for a week, take in the sights and come home feeling you’ve “been there and done that.” It’s great, but it’s not travel in a deep sense.

    Once we started traveling full-time, it took us an entire year to slow down and get out of vacation mode. In that first year we’d go somewhere, stay a few days, and move on. Do Yosemite in a week, hit Yellowstone for a week, visit Vancouver Island for a week. It was like a year of vacations. Thrilling, but exhausting.

    Now we TRAVEL. That is, we go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stay a month. Or we hit Sun Valley Idaho and stay a month ( Or we sail our boat to Huatulco Mexico and stay 3 months.

    If we like a place, we become friends with the local people, visit their homes and invite them to ours. (here’s our most unusual “family homestay” in Huatulco Mexico: — what great fortune!!) We ask them for recommendations of what to see in the area, and usually they suggest things that aren’t in any tourist brochure.

    We love our traveling lives — and we’re never bored.

    1. Wow, a year of vacationing like that does sound exhausting! You have definitely transitioned into having “traveling lives” and it sounds incredible. Wondering if you ever crave a tropical vacation though? I never did but then once I finally got down there I realized that it can be nice to take a vacation from all the traveling every once in a while, especially when you start to parlay that into a profession. Safe travels!

    1. Thank you and I agree. Exploring/traveling is much more enriching, vacation is for recharging. Thanks for sharing your post!

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