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I know, I know. Months have passed since my last post. Chalk it up to too many other and conflicting priorities. And the holidays. And heavy workloads. All I can say is, sorry folks.

But now, with my new work-from-home gig under way, I can’t complain about being overwhelmed with work. Plus, since the corporate office is out of state, I’ll surely have some business travel hijinx that serve as fodder here. What I’m saying is: the blog is back in business.

To kick things off, I spent a few precious weekend hours at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show today, and was inspired by a question posed to me by one of the exhibitors: “Are you a tourist or a traveler?”

Chicago Travel and Adventure ShowI had to ask for some definitions. According to my guide, a tourist is just in it for the beaches: someone who vacations on cruise lines and doesn’t venture off the all-inclusive property. A traveler, then, is the opposite: someone who searches for total culture immersion. I guessed his goal was to convince me it’s more desirable to be a traveler.

When I told him my next vacation will be to the Caribbean island of St. Martin, the travel guy cringed a little. It definitely falls into the tourist category. We’re leaving baby girl with my parents and the plan is to avoid anything that causes even a minimal amount of stress, spending as much time as possible accomplishing nothing on the beach.

I figure, after the year we’ve had, we deserve some R&R.

This is supposed to be one of those “don’t-plan-anything-except-how-you-get-there” trips, which is difficult for me because I love to plan. I love to read about the local musts– must-gos, must-sees, must-dos– then find a way to accomplish every last one. But this trip, by nature, rails against that. And I’m struggling. Typically by now, I’ve already built the itinerary. I’ve read reviews of all the hotels and have booked our best match. At this point on a typical vacation-planning cycle, I’m just counting down days, weeks, months. Not having to plan has left me perplexed.

So, I thought, why not spend an afternoon at the Travel and Adventure Show for some inspiration. I can’t really say I achieved anything besides falling short of a stranger’s expectations on my current travel style. But, I did have a nice afternoon away from home. And I picked up some tips on what to do differently for next year’s show, which I’ll share next time.

Just out of curiosity (and perhaps to assuage my guilt over my sometimes-non-traveler status) … are you a tourist or a traveler?