Ever purposely went on a "life-changing" vacation?

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  1. Instead of just for fun and relaxing, is there a vacation that helped to redefine or rediscover the real you? One that may have been an unrelenting challenge and/or diverged from what you were familiar with and knew to get you to whoever you became as an ultimate result?
  2. Looking forward to reading the answers to this!! I've always wanted to go on a "volunteer vacation" but don't think I could talk the DH into it. I imagine it would be really inspiriing and leave me feeling a new sense of gratitude towards my life.
  3. Mine was actually this summer in Paris. I do travel a lot and because I used to live in Italy I try to go back there as often as I can and honestly those trips restore me a lot, I just feel so relaxed and at peace over there, and it's home too. But this year's trip was a different kind of restoration-

    I've been single for 3 years (I've dated but nothing you could call a relationship since 2007 when I was still with my Italian boyfriend) and I was sick and tired of it, I was sick and tired of everything, school, work, being single, all that, it was just getting so monotonous and dull I couldn't take it anymore (when I told people I'd been single "forever" I think people assumed I meant like 5-6 months so they just didn't get it why I had to get away and was so broken down. But no, it's been 3 years, I don't use "forever" lightly) I'm planning to move to Paris in about 2 years so I decided that for my vacation this year I would go there instead of Dublin which I had originally been planning. I also decided to up the ante and go for a month rather than 2 weeks, I really needed to get away, all the failed relationships had just taken too big a toll over 3 years, I was at the point where I honestly couldn't take it anymore, I couldn't take one more failed attempt, everyone has a limit. I just wanted to be on my own for a good period of time like that in the place that I plan to make my future in and just be with myself and my biggest passion in life- travel, and occupy myself with learning my future city. Well I solved my problem, my 2nd day I met a guy who asked me out and we dated the whole time I was there and it was exactly what I needed, just someone to restore my faith in myself and make me feel alive again. Unfortunately we're not together now, but we still talk. And now being back home, I'm much, much, much better, definitely restored and not feeling so desperate about dating, and ready to deal with more rejections if they come along :smile: I was brought back to life, that's how I feel about it like I was just so dead before I left ugh. The time away was also great to just be with myself during the day and wander around because I loves me some alone time! I think all my trips have affected me, but Paris was the only one that I intentionally went on with the intent being to fix my life
  4. It was Italy for me. After a marriage proposal that crumbled, I came to Italy for 2 months. I wanted to be anonymous, and enjoyed walking through Florence not knowing anyone, not having to talk about what had happened, or hear the well intended words from friends and family that they hoped would make me feel better.

    Slowly I began to rebuild my life. Faces became familiar, but the language barrier helped me keep my distance and my innermost thoughts to myself.

    After many nights of peeling back the layers of my feelings, lots of tears and sometimes too much red wine, I found a renewed sense of self. I started taking deep breaths as I walked along the river, and found a new appreciation for the gift of my life.

    I moved here...we'll see what is around the next corner.
  5. I stayed in Japan for 1 month, my whole life perspective was changed and I took many decisions about how I want to live my life from then on. I realized how much I enjoy my own company , how I love being alone and a stranger in a place, it gave me the ultimate feeling of freedom, I love new experiences, constant change and extremes, decided I'm very satisfied with owning the minimal of material possessions, I'm ok with being different and that ideally I want to retire to a Japanese small town/village by the sea with a train station near by.
  6. #6 Sep 28, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
    Although I'd go on a "volunteer vacation" (which means, to me at least, anything from quiet, meditative state on a mountain at one part to a KillBill-esque expedition), I'd do it in a heartbeat if the time and finances were right. I am planning on organizing a trip that encompasses a variety of such activities. I actually would probably have to do something like that alone as everyone in my personal life is merely into leisure when it comes to vacations.

    However, the topic of the life-changing vacation could be "normal" (think Eat. Pray. Love. in concept even if you never read the book and watched the movie as I haven't), and it still changed you profoundly.

    Bravo! One of the best things on vacation can be meeting new, interesting people, and you never know when one or few of them will really bond with you or help reflect who you are and your perspective on life.
    A month is quite some time to fully escape from the life you currently know and the people in it. The longest complete break from everyday life was 8 days for me. :>(

    :tup:This reminds me of Under the Tuscan Sun in terms of escaping from the life you knew for so long including the marriage and finding a new surrounding of a different culture and the people in it where you start fresh again.
    Wow, 2 months; it'd be many years before I can do that.

    This is inspiring to go on a solo trip, which I've never been on, where you do not have prior obligations with your usual trip friends. Going solo at least once is a must for me, but a month is a long time. :Push:
  7. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who uses travel as a method of thinking time. When I first started traveling my mom would tell me I was running away from my problems but I think there's a huge difference between running away and taking time to look things/problems over. I know for me it 's always been the latter
  8. lol at your mom, there is no real running away from problems. When you return your problems are still there waiting kwim? But they will not seem as big as they were before you leave for your travel.

    Travel is very important, if one stays in their own little micro world and have no taste of how life really is in other continents and cultures, then one has no real perspective. I think ppl who have a fear of traveling or belittling travelers are those who are afraid of finding out there are better things out there. Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, said Voltaire.
  9. I agree lily25. I've had people make that same comment to me, but who says that it's better to stay at home to resolve an issue? I can think more clearly when I'm alone. Being out of one's comfort zone too can be a brilliant way to discover facets of your personality you didn't know existed! And strengths too.

    And for you NagaJolokia - time passes as it's meant to...your adventure might seem a long way off, but may be coming sooner than you think. I hope it's wonderful for you when it comes along!
  10. I agree,my mom does believe in travel she's been like everywhere but with me I don't know every now and then I get accused of running from things. That could just be bc she'd do things differently maybe but I know my trips help me focus
  11. I went to Paris last fall to visit my daughter who was studying there. While she was off in classes and catching up on homework I explored the city by myself. It wasn't my first time there-actually my 5th visit but it was the first time I had traveled by myself-dining out,exploring the city,taking day/walking tours of cathedrals and museums. I had the most enjoyable time. I never thought I would be able to be so comfortable doing all of these things alone in a foreign city.
    My daughter will be graduating this spring from college and doesn't know what to do with her life. I am encouraging her to take time out for herself and travel. It is the best way to discover and embrace who you are.
  12. It did a hike this year. A small part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
    It didn't want to do it, it was all my sisters idea. She did the long route the year before. 840KM when she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. She came home and said it was a one in a life experience. I was very happy for her, she was only 20 years. Most do this when they are much older. She told me it was a small part she didn't had the time to do. Only 82 more KM and asked if I wanted to go with her. I said NO way, that was not for me. She finally convinced me. Hey, it was only 82 KM how bad could it get.
    At the same time I had a co worker who told me she wanted to do the route. I told her that I was gonna do a small part of it with my sister and that if she wanted to try it out, before she went on the whole long version, she was welcome to join us. In the end my sister went to Australia for a year and my coworker and I went on our own.

    We flew to Santiago de Compostela, checked in at a hotel and started walking the next day. I had nothing more than a small rucksack with me. The bare essentials so it shouldn't get too heavy. We walked on pavements, woods, mud, stone. Up and down hills in good or rainy weather. You meet a lot of other pilgrims on the way, people from all over the world who do the same thing you do.

    You sleep in pilgrimage hostels. Bunkbeds with up to 50 other people in the same room. You get up early in the morning, get dressed, pack your bag, drink a coffee at a local bar and walk, walk walk, walk. Find somewhere to eat lunch, continued to walk. Find another pilgrimage hostel. You get a bed, take a shower (probably in cold water) relax a bit. Hand wash your clothes. Get some dinner and go to bed by 10PM. The next day it all starts over.

    I didn't think it would effect me. After all, I was only gonna be a four day Hike. But it did. You have all this time to reflect on yourself, your surrounding and what really matters. After a while you stop worrying and just live in the moment and in the end it's all worth it. I got huge blisters and my body ached. I wasn't sure I'd make it but I walked the last 18KM in my flip flops. Not ideal in the woods but it worked.

    On our way back home from Santiago we had a stop over in Barcelona. Once in Barcelona they told us that all the flights had been cancelled due to the Volcano ash. We ended up staying five extra days in Barcelona. We took it with ease, there was nothing we could do about it so why worry. I think we manage much better than most other people. We still didn't have a lot of things with us. No proper clothes, only flip flops or hiking shoes and definitly no make up. We looked very much out of place but it didn't bother me.

    Walking the Camino is truly a privilege. A treat you give yourself. I'm going back next year. We're gonna walk from Porto in Portugal up to Santiago in Spain. This time it's 250KM. I can't wait to go back and hopefully sometime in the future I'll be able to walk the whole France route.
  13. Purposely planned a "life-changing" vacation? Twice. Once to Costa Rica, where I holed myself (and 3 research buddies) in a small cabin on a stretch of beach that was a 45 min drive/boat ride to the nearest human settlement. We were attacked by howler monkeys, bitten by basilisks, had bats in our cabin, stung by scorpions, relocated a batch of pit vipers, had a run-in with some caimen, constantly greeted by poison dart frogs. We ate fruit grown on the land and fished. We fell asleep on the beach reading, explored the nearby forest for hours each day, watched the sunset every night, witnessed turtles laying eggs on the beach. I've never felt more connected to the earth than during those months. It's something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

    The other time was a 8 week getaway to Greece. It was sort of spur of the moment and meant to get me out of a funk - I was kind of floating about aimlessly after graduating from high school a year early and not being engaged with any of the classes I was taking in college. It definitely provided the *spark* I was looking for.

    What I'd really love to do one day is travel by myself to inner asia -- Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet. For years, I was planning that trip but kept pushing it back due to life obligations. I'm still hopeful that I'll cross this off my list one day.
  14. :nuts::nuts::nuts:
  15. About 5 years ago, I took a leave from work and traveled around the world alone for 2 1/2 months. I know many people do this in college, but I was in my 30's, in a relationship and had a career, so it was more complicated. I wasn't looking for major change, but I was looking for adventure, time to reflect and independence. It was an incredible experience. It definitely gave me confidence and helped establish my priorities for my life. Plus it was more fun than I have ver had!