Off The Grid: Fellow Paste-ers Describe Their Best Vacations

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Off The Grid: Fellow Paste-ers Describe Their Best Vacations

What makes a vacation great? Must it happen in an exotic destination? Could it be someplace ordinary? Is it adventurous, relaxing, or somewhere in between? Should it be shared with good company or is it best experienced alone? In my experience, the unsatisfying answer is two-fold: 1) It depends on the vacationer’s values, which almost always change with age; and 2) All of the above.

In search of more detailed answers, however, I recently asked Paste editors and writers for their greatest, favorite or otherwise most memorable vacations. This is what they told me, edited for brevity:

Jason Rhode, staff writer:
“Went to Rome with family. All sober (mostly). Ancient people still dead. Bush was President. While visiting Mussolini’s Piazza, riot police emerged to deal with Italian protesters. Tear gas thrown. Escaped untouched. Then we found out riot police were staying at same hotel. In the bar one night, all of us having wine—police too. Suddenly one of the riot shields fell to the ground. Moment of silence. Then we all burst into laughter.”

Alex Crevar, travel editor:
“Hiking on the Via Dinarica Trail, in the mountains and across the Western Balkans, ranks high on my list of most memorable. The combination of Old World traditions, remote landscapes and being in Europe is a perfect combination.” (Author’s note: a man who visited every country in the world also recommends Dinarica.)

Emily Ray, design editor:
“My hands-down favorite trip was to Asia. I spent a couple months with my best friend and her family, who ran a PADI liveaboard on an Indo-Asian pirate ship. While aboard, we explored Bali, Papua and Sulawesi—one of the highlights of my life. And I didn’t mind checking out Namdaemun Market in Seoul, either.”

Josh Jackson, editor-in-chief:
“One summer during my college years, I joined my dad for a sailing trip from Fort Myers, Florida to Grand Cayman Island. After spending the first several hours puking over the railing, I got my sea legs and settled in for the trip. Cuba was the first land we saw, and one night a cruise ship—lit up like a Christmas tree—passed by close enough to make us feel exceedingly small. The reward for our work was scuba diving from the comforts of our temporary home.”

Sarra Sedghi, assistant food editor:
“When I was 16, I visited Iran for the first (and hopefully not only) time. Half of my family is from there, so the culture shock shouldn’t have been huge, but I was still afraid. Like a lot of Western travelers say, Iran surpassed all of my expectations. Strangers I encountered were kind and went the extra mile to make us feel welcome. I felt lucky to experience Iran as it really is—an Iran narrated by its own people instead of major news network talk shows.”

Jacob Weindling, business editor:
“I took a trip last spring to London to visit my sister who was studying abroad and my best friend from high school who recently moved there for work. It was a memorable trip due to the serendipity of it all, in addition to the friendships I forged at one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to: LAB, which stands for London Academy of Bartenders.”

Hilary Saunders, assistant music editor:
“After leaving my day job in 2015 to become a writer, I embarked on the Great American Road Trip I always wanted to take. Over the course of a month, I stopped in 16 states, stayed with five friends, and visited four National Parks. I camped for the first time in my life, filed stories of social import from my car as dusk settled over Southwest Colorado, and I ran pantless in the Pacific Ocean on my 26th birthday. Bucket list trip? Check.”

Thanks to the above for sharing their stories. Have a great vacation you’d like to share with the world? Email me at [email protected] and I’ll consider it for a future travel column.

Lead photo courtesy of Nelson L./Flickr CC BY 2.0

Off the Grid columnist Blake Snow writes epic stories for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies. Follow him @blakesnow

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