Vacation?! Make sure to include a hike!
Winter is certainly upon us, and while I definitely prefer a nice chill in the air to sweltering 90 plus degree days, it can certainly put a damper on those outdoor activities.
As the cold is setting in, and you’re dreaming about next summer, imagine a trip where you’re seeing the most beautiful scenery, meeting locals but few tourists, eating all the yummy food you can imagine, AND EXERCISING enough to feel good about that belly full of local deliciousness? Sound too good to be true? Over this past summer my partner and I took advantage of having some time off, and trekked around Europe for a few weeks, under a pretty tight budget. We had been saving up over the year, and spending any free time searching for cheap(er) accommodations, finding deals on bus/train fares, and reading up on the best sights to see that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
I didn’t realize this until we started researching, but Europe is known for its long distance walking/hiking trails. There are tons of them, ranging in distance, difficulty, and style. i.e. you can Glamp (glamorous camp) if you like, but you also don’t have to camp at all if you don’t want to. Check out this site to see what a few of them look like! As we encountered the array of hiking trail options via blogs and websites, we discovered one that didn’t require us to break our backs even more by carrying camping gear.
The Dingle Way, is located on the westernmost peninsula of Ireland. I cannot recommend a destination more than I recommend the Dingle Way. We only ended up doing part of it, as even the 20 lb packs of clothes ended up to be a bit too heavy after a few 20 mile days, but it was THE MOST AMAZING experience. Besides the most impressive views of the Blasket Islands and the sheep that befriended us as we hiked along the trail through their pastures, the best part of every day was being greeted by friendly Irish Airbnb hosts and sleeping in a cozy bed after a long day of hiking. The hiking certainly paid off as we ate our way through fresh fish and chips (fries), Irish milk chocolate, and grocery store sandwiches that tasted exquisite thanks to our post-hike taste buds.
This hiking-based travel experience was unlike any other trip, and I would highly recommend incorporating some sort of trail into your next vacation. There is truly no other way to experience the glory of another country, than by walking through glorious cattle pastures, hearing stories from fellow hikers about island sheep-tossing (not as cruel as it sounds, and I’m happy to tell the story at my next Tuesday class), and chatting with locals in the warmth of their own homes. So, as you’re thinking about the 90-degree days of July, and traveling to escape the heat, or to find a more tropical location, keep a hiking trip in the back of your mind. I guarantee, it will be unlike any past travel experiences and will make it so much easier to make it through that HIIT class when you return!
Or, take a staycation hike! Here are Olivia’s Top 5 Hikes in the Pacific Northwest.