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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

The Beach or the Mountains? The Eternal Vacation Question by Fran Joyce


When I googled “beach or mountains,” I expected to find statistics filled polls about which vacation location people prefer. Instead, I found some far reaching psychological theories and a few personality quizzes all guaranteeing to match you to the location of your dreams.

First Theory: introverts prefer the mountains and extroverts prefer the beach. It sounds good in theory, but I can name dozens of exceptions to the rule. My ex, an extreme type A extrovert prefers the mountains and hates the beach. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he and his friends partied in the mountains… classic rock blaring through multiple speakers, burgers and hot dogs on the grill and beers around the fire pit. He hated the beach unless there were coolers of beer, a roaring fire and The Beach Boys cranked on a boom box. I do sense a pattern here, but location doesn’t really seem to be a factor.

I grew up in Florida and I’ve always been a bit of an introvert. The beach was my sanctuary where I could read a book, go for a solo run, walk along the water’s edge picking up shells or just breathe in the salt sea air. I attended a few beach parties, but they were strictly low key. I’m equally at home in the mountains, reading, camping, hiking, fishing or pondering the vastness of the universe.

Second Theory: Intellectuals prefer the mountains while the “Average Joe” flocks to the beach. I guess someone forgot to tell the dudes from Deliverance (cue Dueling Banjos by Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith). Ernest Hemingway penned some of his best work while living in Key West and Cuba and he spent his free time at the beach (including his favorite beach bars) or on his boat.

Third Theory: People who prefer the beach are adventurous while mountain lovers crave peace and quiet. Not every beachgoer loves jet skis or speed boats and mountain bikes and ATV’s are anything but quiet and introspective.

You don’t need to take a personality quiz to pick a vacation spot … unless you want to for some reason. Think about what you like to do on vacation and what you expect from your space. There are beach retreats that offer peace and quiet and beach rentals in party areas. Likewise there are mountain retreats and mountain resorts proximate to towns with trendy shops and bars. Do your homework and be flexible. With proper planning your vacation can offer the best of all possible worlds.

July 2019 in This Awful Awesome Life

Q&A with Orlando Bartro Author and World Traveler by Fran Joyce