Its a common misconception that "traveling" is a "vacation".
This is false.
Vacations are when you leave your regular routine to rest and relax, forget your everyday worries, and basically not stress about the day-to-day problems of life.
Traveling means you are willfully placing yourself in different, often stressful, situations daily, where nothing is familiar to you and you must constantly absorb new information and problem solve things that at home you would never even think twice about. For instance, how to ask what a bottle of water costs...when there is no price label, and the clerk speaks a diffeent language. And then figuring out which of your bills you need to produce, and how much change you should be getting, when the currency is completely strange to you and in denominations of 1000's.
Besides the usual challenges of budget restrictions, city and transit navigation, and finding a places to sleep, eat, and sightsee, there are the differences of culture and language to figure out.
On top of all this, for the last week or so I have been visiting two major cities with really depressing histories: Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Ho Chi Ming City (Saigon), Vietnam. I couldn't NOT visit their museums on the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnam War, repectively. I'm glad I went, but they were quite depressing, and I left feeling sickened and heavy-hearted.
Deciding it was time for a "vacation" during my travels, I caught a bus to the seaside resort town of Mui Ne, and booked into one of the few available hostels. It turned out to be not my usual digs- its got a beautiful pool, clean bathrooms, comfortable single beds, hot showers, and a restaurant/bar with a 12-hour-long "happy hour"! The hip, modern vibe runs contrary to the falling-apart, cheapest-bed-on-the-block, grungy backpacker dives I've been enjoying for most of the trip.
But for right now, its perfect. I spent today burning on the beach, swimming in the sea, eating and drinking at the hostel, and catching up on online stuff. I didn't worry about getting all the sightseeing in, or meeting people (though I did hang out in the morning), or finding the cheapest authentic roadside foods. I even had a nap, and I haven't spoken to anyone since after 2pm.
Its been exceptionally restful.
I'm looking forward to repeating the performance tomorrow...