Ten Lessons from a Long Vacation

Are you ready to step up to an outrageous vacation?  Here are ten lessons I learned from a one month vacation in Buenos Aires.  Use the links to see more detail about each lesson.  Linke to these lessons are also on the Lessons Page.

  1. Don’t be too specific with your expectations.
  2. Be open to all possibilities- don’t pre-screen.
  3. Don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking.
  4. The ‘real’ vacation starts when you exhaust your things to see list.
  5. Don’t expect everything to be perfect.
  6. When things go wrong, deal with it and move on.
  7. Take chances.  Go for the adventure. Take the risk.   Accept the occasional dud because the reward will be exceptional surprises.
  8. Don’t blame your partner for anything.  Any problems are your responsibility to fix.
  9. Don’t panic.  You can deal with almost anything that comes along.  Real disasters rarely happen and whatever you experience will make a great story – in time.
  10. Take a day off and vegetate- after all it is a vacation.

These are my first draft of lessons from our first outrageous vacation- a one month vacation to Buenos Aires..  I have wanted to step up to a long vacation (one month or more) for some time. Stepping up a vacation to one month makes it an  outrageous vacation .  Last month we completed our first outrageous vacation and it was fantastic.

Now that we are back, it is time to do some analysis.  Some of these lessons began to form in my mind after 10 days in Venice last year. Ten days left us wanting more time.  We decided that a one month vacation would be our standard from now on.  Buenos Aires was our first test of our outrageous vacation strategy- not only did we plan to stay for one month, we were going someplace that neither my wife or I had ever visited.  We were taking chances. Now that we are back, I can report that we love the one month vacation.  There were moments when we doubted both the choice of Buenos Aires and the length of time but those doubts   passed quickly and provided inspiration for new lessons.

My plan is to write posts for each of these lessons, refining and providing more detail.  Some of the lessons may be obvious but many of them were surprises to me.  I had not yet appreciated the difference between a two week trip and a one month vacation. A long vacation rocks but it is important to have the right preparation.  All in all, the trip was remarkable and unforgettable but along the way there were challenges and obstacles that might have turned the trip into a disaster.  I think that the list might be summed up by saying that you must approach the trip with a positive and confident attitude.  Whatever happens will be mostly wonderful and you are competent to handle any problems that come along. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded to any other conclusion- however reasonable it may seem to you at the time.  Things will go wrong (i.e. not match your expectations) but there are wonderful  possibilities outside your sphere of knowledge and ‘going wrong’ may just be something wonderful that you never knew about.

The corollary is that you are responsible for it all and you are capable of fixing whatever goes wrong (or at least getting past it).

Our first long vacation puts me in much better shape to prepare for our next one- Rome in June.  Thinking about each lesson as I write the posts will give me opportunities to examine each lesson in detail and find ways to deal with each situation more effectively.

Part of effective learning is using the experiences of others.  I would love to add more lessons and increase my travel effectiveness using experiences besides my own.  So if any readers have suggestions for additional lessons, please add them in the comments.  In addition, if there is any lesson that you have questions about or would like me to write about first, please say so in the comments.  Finally, if anyone is planning a long vacation, tell me about it.  Where are you going and why? What are your reservations and concerns?  I’m always looking for new ideas.

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