Looking for alternative vacations - something a bit out of
the ordinary? Perhaps you don't want another trip to an amusement
park, a week at the beach or an ocean cruise. Why not try one
of the following instead?
Vacations In Monasteries
Not only monasteries, but spiritual centers and retreats all
over the country will rent you a room. Some may require participation
in certain activities or help in daily chores, while others require
nothing of you. Some are expensive, others cheap, and some just
ask for a donation. And generally, you do not need to share in
their beliefs to stay at these places.
A few years back I stayed at a Zen center in upstate New York.
For $18 per day, I had a simple bed in a plain room. Two meals
were included, and there was a nice library and even a hot tub.
I walked the trails on the property to sit by the pond, read
books, or collected butternuts on a hill overlooking a valley.
It was very peaceful and relaxing.
When you want a peace and quiet, these are the places to look
for. They are usually in beautiful settings. Whether a catholic
monastery full of monks, or a Hindu meditation center, most now
have web sites, so you can find them online.
People are looking for others to stay in their houses, water
the plants, and keep an eye on things. You can find these caretaking
jobs online or in one of the few newsletters that have listings
of this sort. You might find a house on a lake for a month, and
occasionally you can even get paid for your services.
Locations? Every part of the United States and most other
countries. If you have experience with house sitting or caretaking
it can help. If you try it and like it, get letters of reference
from those who you do house-sit for, so you'll have a better
chance at getting the next position.
How much of a vacation is this? That will depend on how much
work the owners require in exchange for the use of their home,
of course. At least it is a cheaper alternative than most vacations.
Not all outdoor vacations involve backpacking or hunting.
For example, friends of mine recently took part in a week-long
bicycle tour in Michigan. These kinds of bicycle tours take place
in many areas, or can be done anywhere if you want to do your
own arranging. Although they can include camping, you can also
plan to stay at a nice hotel each night.
A great outdoor vacation that can be done in comfort is hiking
hut-to-hut in the mountains. There are some places in the United
States where this can be done, but it is much more common in
Europe. No tent or sleeping bag needed - food, wine, beds and
bedding are available at each hut. You just hike a few hours
from one hut to the next each day, through beautiful mountains.
Do you like rock and gem hunting? Rent a van to camp in and
head for the eastern Arizona desert. Always wanted to explore
underground? Check out the caves of northern Tennessee. Just
look around and think about it a bit, and you might find your
own "alternative vacations."