The Forum, Rome, Italy credit: wikipedia.en

The Forum, Rome, Italy
credit: wikipedia.en

Every week on Monday, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Where Would You Go On A Weeks’ All Expenses Paid Vacation?

Stately McDaniel Manor: If given an all-expenses paid vacation, I would hasten to a little-known redoubt of Paradise: Thermopolis, Wyoming.

In Thermopolis there is substantial geothermal activity and several facilities for enjoying the kind of naturally heated mineral waters people pay thousands to simulate in hot tubs. I enjoy Thermopolis, particularly in the winter, when one can lounge in enormous outdoor pools, warm and comfortable in a bathing suit in the perfectly heated water, as snow falls all around. It’s particularly beautiful and peaceful in the night.

There are, of course, multiple motels and hotels and restaurants. It is a quiet, unhurried place were one can retreat to rejuvenate body and soul without the blather and overwhelming noise and humanity of far too many tourist attractions.

During my Wyoming days, I often did just that. When I retire, I’ll reacquaint myself with those simple but profound pleasures. There is, at least for me, no need to travel far and spend vast sums of money to vacation.

Bookworm Room : My dream vacation has always been for everyone else to go away and for me to stay home, without any demands being made upon me. If that dream vacation came with all expenses paid, I’d have take-out every night from my favorite restaurants.

If I actually had to go somewhere on this dream vacation, I’d like to take a cruise around America’s northeast region in the Fall. Holland America, which is the cruise line I’ve traveled on several times before has some lovely cruises that allow you to visit places important to America’s Revolutionary War heritage and give you a chance to see the beautiful nature all along the coast up into Canada.

The great thing about cruises is that they’re relaxing for me: My hotel room travels with me, so I don’t end up packing, unpacking, and repacking every single day, and I sleep through the more boring parts of getting from Point A to Point B. The stewards take beautiful care of the rooms. Delicious food is available all the time. If I pay a little extra, they’ll do my laundry for me.

Lastly, I’d love to repeat my Civil War/Revolutionary War trail trip from last year, only I’d do it in either the Spring or the Fall, not the summer, and I’d want my companion (if any) to enjoy American history as much as I do. Seeing it with two disgruntled teens in tow was painful.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : I’ve always had a wanderlust and have visited many places and checked them off my bucket list. I’ve been to Stonehenge and visited the Tower of London and many other sites around London. I went to Munich in 2000 for Oktoberfest. I’ve been to Mexico and many islands in the Caribbean. All were wonderful trips and I loved meeting the people and seeing the sights.

But with the world as it is today my wanderlust is being tamped down with a concern for safety. And it seems not as important anymore where I go as who I am with. The place we keep returning to is the Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Georgia. I am drawn to the mountains, woods, creeks and waterfalls. It is where I am always able to find peace and contentment.

Walking along the creeks or just sitting by the creek watching the water flow rejuvenates my soul and reminds me how connected we are with nature and the natural order of things. A perfect all expenses paid vacation would have to be a family vacation; bringing all of our siblings and their families up to the mountains to reconnect. We are all in various parts of the country and rarely get to see each other anymore with our various work and school schedules. A week in a private resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains reconnecting with family would be my dream vacation.

JoshuaPundit: I’d have several choices to pick from. It would probably end up being Israel, and I’d take the free week and pay for an extra one because there’s so much to see and do.The combination of sheer fun, natural beauty, spiritual input and the fascinating history of the place are irresistible. Plus, it would be great to visit some old friends.

Another place I wouldn’t mind seeing again is Alaska. I’d go in late May or early June before the tourist mobs on the cruise ships arrive and  avoid more than a brief look at the Inner Passage where they mostly hang out.

Alaska is what I call one of the ‘strong places’ on earth and it is like nowhere else. The impression a lot of people have of it being a barren ice cube is completely mistaken.

Australia would be a consideration, simply because I’ve always read and heard about how unique it is and because  every time I meet an Ozzie (with one exception) I seem to get on famously with them. I have no idea why, but it would be interesting to check out their home turf and find out! My wife lived there for a number of years, so at least we’d have people to visit.

The Razor : A week limits me to somewhere in Europe or possibly Israel but that’s cutting it pretty short for anything beyond Jerusalem.

I spent 8 days in Rome last year and am going back again soon. There are some cities in the world that you could spend a month in and still not scratch the surface. London. Tokyo. New York (of course). Rome – definitely. And Jerusalem.

But due to expense, even guaranteeing constant jet lag, I’d go for New Delhi. I’ve been wanting to visit India for a while now and only the distance and cost has stymied me. But the week would allow me to eat my way through the heart of one of the world’s great cuisines. Although some may consider Indian food an acquired taste, once I acquired it I was hooked. So far I’d rank the top 3 world cuisines in no specific order Italian, Indian and Chinese. The airfare, accommodation and food bill covered by someone else makes India my top choice.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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