Sunday, September 14, 2008


There are two kinds of vacations: forced march and beach. The former consists of constant motion, Michelin green guides, history, art, hundreds of photos, half-a-dozen espressos a day. Beach trips are the opposite: sloth, sleep and books.

This was, mostly, a beach-type trip. It was also my longest vacation since my honeymoon (and I've been divorced for a decade). Two weeks is a long time to be away from the office. And a lot of reading.

I'm home and happy about it. I've got tons of work waiting--and looking forward to it. Plus the pennant races. And pro football.

I even returned in time for USC-Ohio State last night--but gave up at the half.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Great first paragraph. I'm stealing it for my son, who said near the end of our forced march through England and Scotland in 1997, "I get it now. This is a trip, not a vacation."

OBloodyHell said...

> There are two kinds of vacations: forced march and beach.

No, there's a third type: Walkabout.

You might have a general goal, but no specific goal. You stop when, where, and as you please. You may suddenly change direction and never again head back towards that original goal, as something catches your inspiration. The classic "Road Trip!!" is of this type.

It has some qualities in common with both types. I think they are the best ones most of the time. You go places and see strange new things, but you're not in a hurry, don't HAVE to do anything or get anywhere, and poke your head into nooks and crannies it might never have been to on a Forced March.

I haven't gotten to do these too often, but, if I ever went to Europe, or Japan, it's how I'd do those places. I'd have the Michelin guidebook, probably, but only for reference: "Where am I? Anything here that looks unusual? No? Well, I gueess I'll have to find my own spot of unusuality"

The classic "15 cities in 15 days" tour of Europe strikes me as the most utterly useless, stupid way to tour ANYWHERE. It's like being at a competition of world-class chefs and only using a coke spoon for tasting. Better to go to a couple of the chef's restaurants and have a meal.


Anonymous said...

Welcome home.

Carl said...


Thank you. It's good to be back--and resume debating.