Sunday, June 28, 2009

Avoiding the usual together on our own

Planning, planning, planning...

So we're planning a vacation. Or, at least, we're trying to. I haven't requested additional days off for marriage counseling, but that's because I think I've finally Figured Us Out. And Deborah agrees with my analysis.

See, each of us approaches the idea of a vacation with a slightly different bias. It's subtle, but the implications are huge. Deborah's idea of an ideal vacation is that she doesn't do the things she normally does. My idea of an ideal vacation is that I do things I don't normally do. Theoretically, these two definitions amount to the same thing; in practice, they're quite different.

Deborah's idea of a great vacation involves going somewhere, and staying in that one place, relaxing (or, better yet, playing games) and having someone else does the cooking and cleaning. This, in short, would drive me nuts. My idea of a great vacation would be to go someplace we've never been, and go exploring, moving constantly, following whims, trying things, having adventures, not knowing what's going to happen next. Deborah likes to make a plan at the beginning of the day and stick with it until the end.

To make matters tougher yet, I am an introvert, and I am energized by being alone with my thoughts. Deborah, the extrovert, has an almost physical need to have other people around.

Oh, and, we've got three kids. Three! They have their own needs and personalities, as well.

So: How in the world do we plan a vacation that we'll all enjoy? It's taken many months of discussions and planning, but I think we've got something that will work.

Deborah has always wanted to learn horseback riding, and wanted to make that the central activity for this trip. (I'm neutral about horses; Deborah and Fiona are quite excited.) We mentioned this to Deborah's mother at one point, and she cheerfully pointed out that there were quite a number of stables dotting the countryside up there, mere minutes from their house. Say, that could work! Free lodging, child care, and a chance for four generations + cousins to interact? Bonus! So, lessons each day, and side trips are being planned during the week, such as climbing Mt. Monadnock, visiting Plum Island, and catching the latest Harry Potter movie. (I'm trying to somehow sneak in a trip to Maine, too. I've never been. Why miss a chance to claim another state?)

The unique aspect of this trip, though, is the transportation. I'd rather take the scenic route, and go all day. Deborah wants to take the highway, and drive at night. So... with great love and admiration for Deborah, we're doing both. I'm leaving early in the day, by motorcycle (adventure and solitude for me) while Deborah and Paul will leave in late afternoon (two drivers, companionship, and sleeping children for Deborah) in Paul's Jeep. We'll meet up for the night somewhere in Pennsylvania. (Preferably a hotel with a pool. Pools are good for wearing out kids.) The next day, we'll all drive together, but Deborah will ride with me on the motorcycle — much more romantic than getting lost!

View Motorcycle Route in a larger map

View Car Route to NH in a larger map

There are a ton of details left to tack down... but I'm getting excited about this!


Jonadab said...


My idea of a perfect vacation is to tell everyone I'm going on vacation, stop the mail, unplug the phones, close the drapes, lock the doors, send the family elsewhere, and stay home, all by myself. (Well, the dog could stay. He doesn't talk too much.) I wouldn't at all mind doing all my own cooking and stuff. It's people I'd want a break from.

Linus said...

I just did a Maine road trip with someone that sounds a lot like Deborah. We did it more my way which resembles Andy's preferences more. While fun, I think my next one will be with my husband, who shares my sense of adventure.

Incidentally, what is the end location? New Hampshire?

Andy said...

Yep, New Hampshire.