I recently joined my mom and my grandma Bernie in good ol’ Treasure Island, Florida for a week of, what my mom repeated about 10 times, “laying by the pool and reading all day long; don’t come if you dont want to do that.”
Ahhh the tell-it-like-it-is simple nature of my Midwestern family.
I had to work the week of the trip, but whatever, I’ll always always have to work, so I found a way to reschedule my jobs and work location-independent.
I flew to Tampa, excited to put to use my new longboard I had just bought from someone off Craigslist (which, by the way, who knew you could take a longboard as a carry-on by just acting like you know what the f*ck you’re doing?). I was picked up by a chatty taxi driver, who said things like, “New York City is so expensive!” and “New Yorkers are so rude!” despite never having gone there. Of course it rubbed me the wrong way, but one glance of a palm-tree and psh, I was happy to be getting chauffeured around – something I never do in New York.
Treasure Island, Florida is a city I’ve been to probably seven times by now, if we count all the middle and high school Spring Breaks. I know it well enough to know how far down South the beach sidewalk goes, that anyone is who anyone wants to eat at Gator’s Bar and Grill, and that as a vegetarian, you’re basically a$$ed out.
Treasure Island is, like most cites in Florida, filled with old people. And I love it! People aren’t stressed. People smile. People ask how you’re doing. It’s the kind of city where people say things like, “Wow, you guys had a bad winter last winter, huh?” (even though I swear people say the same thing every year). It’s basically my home state of Indiana with palm trees and beach.
My mom, grandma, and I spent the week eating at the same chain restaurants we could probably eat in back home, staying in the same hotel we stay in every year (shoutout to you Thunderbird), and doing the same things we do every year (walking John’s Pass).
Before the trip, this kind of travel just annoyed me. My inner travel snob would come out when I’d hear that people traveled this way, meaning that I thought it was a waste that someone would pay to travel somewhere just to sit around and lie by the pool and do the same things you do back home for free.
But during this trip, something changed my outlook.
If there’s one thing my family knows how to do correctly, it is the art of relaxation. Working hard in 9 to 5s and taking care of grandchildren all week, the last thing my mom and grandma want to do is something out of a DamonandJo video.
Which made me realize…
For some, the point of travel is not to exhaust yourself trying to get the most out of a city. Not everybody wants to travel to explore, many people simply want to travel to get away. And with that realization, I finally allowed myself to spend the day reading, soaking in the jacuzzi, longboarding up and down the promenade, and most importantly, not stressing myself out over the fact that I’m not discovering the city like I discover other ones.
Whether you travel for travel or travel for relaxation, the point is: you’re traveling. You could have been back at home.
At least you’re doing something.