|Penguins on Tour|
|A blog dedicated to stuffing a Two-Week vacation into just Six-Months|
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|Vacations are the reward we give ourselves: a treat, an indulgence, a deferred gratification that adds spice, variety and depth to our lives. Vacations are one of the daydreams that get us through the tedium that creeps into every life. Visions of travel and adventure punctuate our fantasies, but like other indulgences when it comes time to turn our dreams into reality they shouldn't be gobbled and they shouldn't be dictated by others. Vacations should be savored at a leisurely pace.
People who have dreamt of a landmark vacation should not end up cramming it all into a two-week or month-long hell in which they spend most of their time being sick, tired and bored. Returning home not having experienced any of the fantasies that led them to this vacation in the first place and wishing there were some way one could get their money and time back.
Most of us have had the opportunity to take a whole variety of vacations. After many traditional vacation trips we were:
returning home exhausted,
feeling like we had only touched the surface of places we visited,
making no personal connections,
missing out on local events and activities.
Overcoming these irritations required a little creativity.
So we did some radical re-thinking, and the resulting experience was wonderful beyond our expectation - so terrific, in fact that we've done it again! We wanted a vacation that had an impact on our lives, which we would remember forever, that we could share with family and friends and that would enrich us. The next time we considered a big vacation, we decided to move to our vacation destination, at least temporarily, for six months. We chose to live like permanent residents: living in residential housing and cooking for ourselves from the local markets. The result was a rewarding, authentic travel experience:
We lived at a tempo that left us fulfilled,
at a pace we could handle,
and with time to explore the new area to it's fullest potential.
This arrangement also allowed us to maintain most of our personal interests:
keep up with news of our home region as well as our vacation area,
maintain contact with our friends and families.
With a little careful planning, six months doesn't cost much more than a two-week vacation and then staying home for five-and-one-half monthsand wishing that the vacation had lasted longer. We rented out our home while on vacation. This solved two problems:
what to do with our house while we were gone
earning cash to offset some of our vacation expenses
This gave us the opportunity to experience a vacation that will be a landmark when our life story is told.
Having a place to call our own was key to setting a pace consistent with our needs and abilities. Having a home base didn't just add to our adventure - it was the cornerstone of the whole experience. A home base, a safe haven, gave us the ability to withdraw from the world when needed. It gave us a balance between the new and the familiar. The furniture fitted us, the kitchen was stocked with familiar foods and spices, and the lighting actually encouraged reading, knitting and everyday living. We watched local news and programs. The neighbors and local merchants knew us and took a personal interest in our adventures. We had a local library card and included the local newspaper in our daily routine. We had time to volunteer and to pursue our hobbies. Nancy quickly became a core member of the local knitting guild and was a welcomed guest at guilds remote from our home base and I was able to join the local golfers. Even with us living comfortably, we were able to see and explore our vacation destination to a depth that astonished both the locals and friends at home. In contrast to our previous shorter vacations, we loved every minute!
This website hopes to show how to make it happen step by step. It will discuss choosing a destination, setting up housekeeping, and money issues. It describes the opportunities available to you when you live in one place for an extended period, offering encouragement and incentives for this kind of comprehensive travel. The blog examines the various problems and pitfalls of extended travel, and suggests practical solutions.
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| Mission Statement
How to stuff a two-week vacation into just six-months.
The intent of this website is to promote extended vacations. The goal is not to take long vacations and tour the world but rather to spend the time to learn and know one region well. It is suggested that an extended vacation be targeted for at least six months. A premise of this concept is a temporary move to your "vacation" destination for a period of six months, financed, possibly, by renting out your home.
This site is aimed at adventurous, curious travelers who have a desire to explore other cultures at a sustainable, comfortable pace. Our experience with Six-Month Vacations proved to be a landmark events that profoundly affected our lives - done at a leisurely pace on a modest budget.
Topics to be covered include, but not restricted to:
The promotion of long and intense vacations.
Six-Month vacations, 6-month vacations
Self-directed vacations, self-directed travel, self-directed tours
Long vacations at a reasonable price - long vacations, well planned, can cost no more that a quick, hectic two-week dash.
Systemic vacation problems
Adults as exchange students - Acculturation
January 10, 2009
| Why would anyone want to take an extended vacation in one place?
We put a lot of time, energy and money into planning our dream vacations only to find that reality gets in the way and we find that:
our bodies can't keep up with the pace we've set
here are a whole lot of things at our vacation destination that we didn't know about that we would like to investigate
we've budgeted our time wrong and are spending too much time on things that are boring.
Many of these problems could be solved if we just had more time. More time means either more money or a different approach. The different approach advocated is to stop being a tourist and start living and paying like a local. This will allow you to:
live at a pace that that won't ruin your health
not only absorb the tourist attractions that you knew about but to add the ones discovered locally,
give you time and opportunity to meet the locals to establish friendships and allow understanding the culture - to become an adult exchange student,
pursue your passions such as genealogy, local history, art (to study and to do), observe nature and the changes of the seasons
scout the region as a place to retire
| How can anyone afford an extended vacation?
Vacations can be expensive and landmark vacations tend to be very expensive. Transportation, accommodations and food can add up to a tidy sum. If one were to propose taking more time on your vacation, it might follow that the expenses would expand proportional to time spent. This isn’t necessarily true.
It is assumed that your six-month vacation can start before the “high tourist” season and end after. This means that your transportation costs will be at non-peak rates. This can save you half or more on air travel. Traveling by car can also be cheaper if there are one or more overnight stops.
By renting housing similar to that lived in by the people who reside at your vacation destination, your housing can easily be a fraction of what the tourists pay. If this same housing allows you to feed yourself similarly to they way you eat at home, you could avoid expensive restaurants for the requisite two to three meals per day. Eating your own food is not only cheaper but could reduce your caloric input as well and have other health benefits.
It would not be unusual for the price of three star hotels to cost as much for a week as the locals pay for an apartment, flat, or small house for an entire month. An added benefit of renting accommodations that the locals rent, particularly ones that are furnished for residential living, is the comfort of being in your own place. The furniture is actually comfortable. You won’t have to sit on the bed to watch television. The lights are such that you can actually read by them, and they are placed near chairs that invite you to sit in for extended periods of time. You will have a bathroom that you can actually leave things to dry. The big bonus will be that you have your own kitchen. You can snack at any odd hour of the night without inconvenience and breakfast can be a simple bowl of cereal without having to dress and pay a couple of bucks for a tiny glass of OJ.
Depending on your living accommodations at home, the price of living at some interesting vacation location can be the same or cheaper than not traveling at all. If you really are saving money by traveling in this manner, the money you save could be applied to vacations within your vacation. You may find lots of interesting places within easy reach of your new center. Day trips, overnight trips or longer sojourns would have the same expense as your weekend entertainments, had you stayed home.
What if your living costs at home are fixed (you own your home or don’t want to lose your lease) and the logic of applying your normal living costs to your vacation budget isn’t appropriate. Some portion of your living cost can always be transferred to your extended vacation budget. You will need to feed yourself no matter where you are, so your food and restaurant budgets can be transferred to your vacation fund. Similarly, there are several other expenses that don’t get consumed while you’re gone: newspapers, consumable utilities, and automobile expenses for your second car(s) (insurance can be temporarily suspended). If you aren’t going someplace you can’t drive, all auto expenses can be suspended. And, if your situation allows it, you can rent out or sub-lease you home.
| Now is a Great Time for an Extended Vacation
Curling up in the prenatal position in a corner and waiting until the economy gets past its doldrums is just a waste of time. If you happen to be in a position to consider an extended vacation, the chances are that this might just be a great time that you should be taking one. Right now most foreign destinations are cheap and easily available. Even destinations within the United States are “affordable”. If you have retired early, just regular retirement, have a job that you can take with you or are ready for a sabbatical – this is a great time to move!
Right now your money goes further, the opportunity for perfect living accommodations could never be better and the places you would like to see are still there – waiting. In comparing the rate of exchange from a couple of years ago with today, the buying power of the U.S. dollar has not changed significantly and in some cases we’re doing better. Today the U.S. dollar will buy more in Great Britain than it did even two years ago. Hotels, motels and travel are available at bargain rates.
One of the bigger problems in an extended vacation is what to do with the house while you’re gone. Obviously the need for rental houses is up due to the high number of foreclosures and the displacements that entails. Chasing the job markets also has created a need for temporary housing for those who are forced to move to different regions. Children and their families forced out of their homes by a loss of jobs may need to move back into their parent’s homes. Having your children living back in your home might be a solution to their problems, but may create a problem for you. Maybe this would be a great time to simply turn your home over to your children’s family and take an extended vacation – solves a lot of problems.