Vacation and travel are often mistaken for each other because they both involve having time off from everyday life and changing physical location. Though they have a few things in common, they’re distinctly different experiences.
You go on vacation so you can escape from your everyday life and relax. You treat yourself, indulge, and savor sweet nothingness. Vacation is basking and loafing and not wearing a watch. You feel good and think “Should I do something today? Maybe I’ll take a nap.”
Travel is the exact opposite. It is meant to shake you up, exhaust you, challenge you, stress you out, and put you out on a limb. It requires flexibility, precision, decision making, and street smarts. Travel is rain, long bumpy bus rides, language barriers, and early mornings. It is filled with moments of inspiration, and often, despair. It is a constant “what’s next? and “how did this possibly all work out.” It is a mixture of vigilance and gratitude.
You are not required to learn anything on vacation, but when you travel it is an ethical responsibility to learn about the history of a place and lives of the people there.
Despite these differences, travel and vacation are both ways of working on yourself. After a vacation you feel relaxed and refreshed—a new you. Vacation is like taking a shower; it’s a magical way to feel better in a short period of time. Travel, on the other hand, is like going on a long, uphill run. You return exhausted and proud, and feel aches in unexpected places long after. It makes you strong, even if in the short term it makes you weak.