My wife and I are afflicted with a serious travel addiction for all things oceanic, islandish, harborish, and old worldish.
Anyone who shares our malady knows there is no remedy but the good news is there are no known cases of overdosing. The only risk is traveling during peak seasons such as summer holidays with lots of tacky people, just like the ones closely related to you.
The over the counter remedy could be called “having good times in bad weather.” It simply means if you want to be where the people are genuine, the food is fresh, the experiences are really memorable, you will have to go where the weather is lousy.
But you must be brave because your friends will think you’re goofy.
And this is important, you are embarking on a new form of travel, learning to love the ‘wrong’ time of year. Your aim is to break out of the silo where everyone thinks like you, votes like you, eats at the same restaurants at same time as you. Otherwise, you are just replacing a local routine with a sunnier version.
Sunny vacations are a snooze. Golf is boring. Tennis is sweaty. But walking around the Cotswold on a cold, rainy day in your Barbour field coat and stopping in for a pint or a cup of tea at a local pub is heaven. You aren’t looking for luxury, you are looking to luxuriate — in people and experience.
Your objective is to reset your social clock to a different time in our lives. When we were younger, travel meant hanging out with people who did more than tell us how great our tan looks. Those times where if we couldn’t agree with someone about an issue, we headed to a nearby coffee shop where it all got worked out. Or if you went to a tavern instead, soon you forgot what the argument was about.
Enjoying lousy weather on vacation isn’t hard but it takes fortitude. The reason is you have to defend yourself to all your friends who are infected with a form of groupthink that extends to travel. If you aren’t visiting a place your brother in law would be impressed with, what’s the point? The point is to go somewhere you won’t possibly run into him.
There is another special benefit. By avoiding the sun, in addition to staying away from sunscreen drenched crowds wearing bathing suits two sizes to small or seeing dolphin tattoos on 60 year old men, you don’t have to die for your vacation. Because….There are roughly 100,000 cases of melanoma per year, about 10% don’t make it, and another 5 million other forms of skin cancer. This type of cancer is cumulative, meaning regardless of what you do today, you can still suffer from exposure of long ago. The body’s surface is a smart calculator, when it adds up the sun hours and you’ve passed the limit, it’s your turn. By staying in cloudy climes, you keep the bell from ringing.
Herewith, a pictorial guide to the best places I have traveled to in the worst of times….
Central Park, New York in January
Napa Valley winery in March
Windsor Castle, England in May
Lake Placid Lodge in July
West Coast of Scotland in September…
Ireland in October
Big Island Hawaii December
The pleasures of going against the grain, traveling opposite the rush to find tranquility in places other people don’t want to be may be an acquired taste.
But, then again, so are most of us.