We are not on Vacation.

Thoughts on Pacing

We have to constantly remind ourselves (and others) that “We are not on vacation.” We’re traveling full-time, always in a new city with new and interesting things to do, places to go, and yummy things to eat. We love new experiences and we love good food. We’re in trouble.

At the time of this writing we’ve been on the road about 3 months and we’ve been trying to walk that line between living and vacationing.

This week we’re in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and we’re just living. We’re parked at Lake Shelby, with partial hook ups and a nice view of the lake for $15/night. August, our son, met a kid his age and has been running all over the place with him. Sarah is reading on a blanket outside and I’m at the dining room table enjoying that nice view of the lake and getting some writing and work done. Living.

Last week we were in Nashville, Tennessee in full blown vacation mode. We saw the life-size replica of the Parthenon, the Johnny Cash Museum, Hatch Show Print (a 100+ year old letter press print shop), live music at Pucketts, we went on a date to a really cool place called Pinewood Social (thanks to Sarah’s cousin, who happens to be a travel nurse on a stint in Nashville), ate at a few yummy spots, explored the Nashville Public Library, walked around downtown and found a few really cool “work from anywhere” coffee shops. We spent a good sum of money, had a good time, but then we left tired and stressed.

Vacation-mode is stressful. Do you ever go on vacation and have to come home to have a vacation from your vacation? We work hard, save up, schedule time off, go on this elaborate vacation, and cram as much as we possibly can into that one week. It’s stressful. Memorable….fun….but stressful. No one likes to admit this but, no matter how awesome the vacation is, there comes a point when we’re all looking forward to being done, and going home, back to our bed and our routine. There’s an understanding that a pace like that works for vacation, but it isn’t sustainable for every-day life.

We have to find a balance. We’re traveling around and we’re going to be in all these really cool places with fun things to do and great food to eat, but we can’t do it all (or eat it all). So we came up with a set of questions to ask ourselves so we can make the most of our time.

Finding the living vs. vacation balance

  1. What’s an area or state known for? We answer this with little to no research. Just what’s on top of our head. For example: What’s New York, NY known for? NY style pizza and the Statue of Liberty. Boom.
  2. What’s in the budget? With that amount of money and nothing else, what do you really want to do? If we were stationary in a sticks and bricks home, we might spend that money on a few meals out each week at our favorite places. We might go see a movie or check out a museum. We certainly wouldn’t hit 7 tourist attractions in 3 days.
  3. What’s free? often times what’s free, is also slow. If you’re at all concerned about “pace,” what you’re probably pining for is “slow.” Parks, trails, hiking, biking, fishing, beaches, and landmarks all come to mind.
  4. What do we really want to do? What are those things that if you never got to come back to a state/area again you would regret not doing? If you were passing through the Grand Canyon area and never stopped to see it, you might regret that.

We are not on vacation, but we do want to make the most of our trip. We want to soak in new experiences and we want to check off our bucket list attractions, but we have to weigh the cost, not only financially but also mentally and emotionally.

Do you have a system in place to pace yourself?


Hi, I’m Mark. I was born and raised in Texas. I like cheeseburgers, great design and getting my hands dirty. I have a soul patch; everyone hates it.

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