Published June 1st 2017 by Tantor Audio
(first published May 29th 2017)
Ah, I love happening across a title from a basic search in a library database that I'd likely never have come across otherwise. Psychology/sociology and travel... what's not to love?
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." -Anonymous
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The included questionnaires were fun and enlightening, including not only figuring out your personality traits, your comfort zone and your own recipe for happy travels, but also for determining if a potential travel partner will make the trip better... or more stressful.
Will a last-minute surprise trip make you happier than one you get to plan and look forward to? Will an overall pleasant trip make you happier than one with highs and lows? Will a longer vacation really make you happier? Should you squeeze out every last minute of vacation or factor in a buffer to ease back into real life? Should you plan one big blow-out vacation or several smaller ones? Yep, she addresses all of these.
Years ago, I worked a job that had me on the road about 95% of the time and regularly flew round-trip every 2-3 weeks, staying in hotels in cities I didn't choose, sometimes at the worst time of year for that area (think Arizona in the summer), but overall I look back at that time with fondness and miss constantly getting to experience new places and meet new people. While these weren't "vacations", I did get to check out local attractions on my off time. There were definite highs (seeing Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, watching the Olympic gold medal swimming relay race standing in Times Square - so surreal, no one moved the entire time except to cheer or boo depending who was ahead at each turn) and certainly some lows (the Thanksgiving morning I flew home to find the airport hadn't lost my bags, but they had lost my car - yes, really, my car*). The author explains how we tend to rewrite the bad things that happen to make ourselves feel better and often, we get a good story out of it to boot. Hearing about someone's perfect trip is much less entertaining than hearing about the goof-ups and missteps.
We don't even have to plan a trip away to put some more excitement into our lives. Why not be a tourist at home? I loved Kurtz's suggestion of pretending you'll be leaving the area where you currently live in 30 days. What would you miss not having seen? Go! We all tend to think we have more time to do things. There are no guarantees. I don't know how many times I would be chatting with hotel staff, talking about where I was heading and discovering they had never been there or didn't know about monthly activity deals in their own city (many offer free admission to museums periodically). Check out a guide book to your own city and see what you're missing and inject more adventure into your daily life!
*I laugh now, but at the time it wasn't the most entertaining way to spend several hours on a holiday after being away for 3 weeks! I flew in/out of the Indianapolis IN airport and when I flew out, I parked in long-term parking as usual. Knowing that the old airport would be closing and the newly built airport would be opening while I was gone, I asked about the parking and was assured all would be fine. You see where this is going, yes? I fly back in on Thanksgiving morning, go to take the shuttle to my car and ask the driver to be sure it would go to the old lot. Nope! So back off the shuttle (with all my luggage) and inside to the information desk where they say no, there are no cars in the old lot. They moved the cars that were still there. My car? Not on the list. They asked if it was really old because sometimes people wold steal cars and dump them in long-term parking where they wouldn't be discovered quickly. Um, older but not so old. I ended up in a van with a nice guy from the parking authority who drove me to the old lot - no car - then to the tow company that moved the cars - no car. A couple phone calls and lots of waiting later... they found my car! Where was it? In the garage directly outside the airport entrance. LOL Someone had messed up and left it off the list when they towed it there. He said, no worries, we won't charge you for parking. Gee, thanks, I didn't pay for parking myself, my company did. But honestly? Everyone has a lost bag story... how many people have a lost car story from the airport? =)