There are two types of vacationers: the go-go-go people who want to see everything and try everything, and the laidback folks who just want to relax.
After a week in Martha’s Vineyard — with 21 of us packed into one house, ranging in age from 8 to 71 — I now know it’s possible for both types to get along … it just requires some finesse.
I’m a go-go-go person, hands down, and I always have been. I get it from my father. Our family vacations, when I was growing up, were never to the beach. We always visited big cities, which meant climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty, or hopping on a trolley in San Francisco, or walking the Freedom Trail.
So as a mom, I’m always the one with the itinerary. The one who does the research months before a trip to find the out-of-the-way donut shop, or the obscure-but-must-see museum, or the hiking trail with the best views. And each day of vacation, I’m up early, comfy shoes all laced up and guidebooks stashed in my purse, ready for the day’s adventures.
My sister is the same. And we are both married to go-go-go husbands and have go-go-go children.
My brother and my other sister? Not so much. They work so hard that for them, vacation is a chance to unwind. No plans for the day? That sounds just perfect to them. They wake up late, make dinner decisions on the fly (without checking Yelp or making reservations?! The horror!) and could easily spend hours lounging on a beach.
Can the two types of vacationers co-exist? Well, I’d say we spent half the vacation getting on each others’ nerves. But after a few days, I think we all realized if we want to have fun, we have to find some common ground here, or at least adjust our expectations.
For me, that meant more beach time than I typically want, but I have to say it left me feeling refreshed and — blessedly — kept me from constantly checking in on the newsroom and forced me to relax.
Sometimes, it meant we split up — there’s no rule that says all 21 of us had to do the same thing, all together, every single day. I even got some very welcome one-on-one time with my two older nieces.
And sometimes it meant compromise. On our last night in the Vineyard, the go-go-go folks had made plans to watch the sun set in Menemsha (you know me, if the guidebook says do it, I must do it!), complete with dinner and ice cream from one of the seafood shacks near the beach. The “relax” crowd was reluctant to come along — on the last night of vacation, they just wanted to chill at the house. But they gave in, and ended up enjoying what may have been the best night of the trip. The sunset was truly spectacular, the food was delicious and having the whole group together one last time made it even more special.
The key to anything with family is compromise, right? And sometimes, you’ll find out you actually like trying something new.
As always, we thank our sponsor, Saint Anne’s Hospital.
Lynne Sullivan may be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism and subscribe today!