Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Vacation guilt

Posted May 5, 2009

If you have a chance, check out our special online series on New Zealand this week in the Travel section. We started the series Monday and will add stories each day this week. Using airline mileage that I had saved over several years I took a budget vacation to New Zealand. My wife Cindy and I flew economy class to Auckland and back. With air travel already covered, the overall cost of the trip was quite reasonable, as I explain in the series.

See a quick slideshow of the trip.

We planned the trip long before the economy tanked. We would have lost the tickets if we had pulled out. One viewer was determined to make me feel guilty about taking the vacation. She wrote: “Might I remind you that we are in a recession?” This viewer went on to say: “I don't CARE that you have spent two weeks in New Zealand. Once again....remember that most viewers are lucky if they can afford to take a vacation in their home state. For that you should be ashamed of yourself.”

I apologize if I have offended anyone for taking the New Zealand trip. 98% of my vacation money has been spent in North Carolina over the years. Every once and a while I think it’s good to explore the rest of this beautiful world for inspiration, relaxation and appreciation for different cultures. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get there.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks.


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  • shannoncouncil May 7, 2009

    I thought your slide show was beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Since I am one of those who can't afford to take a vacation like yours, I appreciate you sharing your pictures!

  • Liam May 6, 2009's YOUR vacation. Take it and enjoy life!

  • carlapbatchelor May 6, 2009

    Bill, I was so excited to see this blog post. I lived in New Zealand for a year after graduating from Western Carolina University (GO CATS) before I moved back to Raleigh. Your comments and pictures made me miss it so much. I actually lived and worked in Lake Tekapo for about 2 months and to see your pictures of the small town brought back alot of memories. The country as a whole has so much to offer visitors. One day I hope to go back again.

    It looks like you had an amazing vacation, it is hard not to in New Zealand though. Thank you for posting your pictures and video, you got some truly wonderful shots. I hope that you had a wonderful time and there is no need to feel guilty. While times are tough everyone needs to take some time and getaway from things every now and then. As a North Carolinian I do not hold it against you one bit! We all need a break and a good vacation! :)

  • firedrake May 6, 2009

    I'm guessing that rude person just lost her job or a family member did, and the reality of having to live within her means just crashed down on her head. Ignore the negative, people like that just try to bring folks down who aren't miserable. I'm thrilled that you were able to save up (maybe for years?) to get to go to such a beautiful place. NZ is a dream vacation for me, so thanks for giving me a taste of it!!! If we can all dream of vacations like that, it makes getting through the tough times a lot easier!

  • roanmtnman2 May 6, 2009

    Great Pictures! We visited the South Island in 2004 when our daughter spent a semester at Canterbury University in Christchurch. Your pictures brought back many great memories! The South Island is one of the most beautiful places on earth and we are looking forward to returning some day, recession or not!

  • YOMAMA May 6, 2009

    OMG!! These pics are awesome!!Several made me think of Biblical story sites!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • leaderlady May 6, 2009

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful vacation, it makes me want to add New Zeland to my places to see. I am also a very budget conciense person, so I use all avenues to save money and I congratulate you on being able to take such a beautiful vacation on a budget. Keep up the great work you do and don't ever apologize for living life the way god intended.

  • gastonboater May 6, 2009

    Hooray for you! One of my favorite things to do, is to go some place I've never been before. Last year we were fortunate to be able to go to Germany. Pictures are memories! Enjoy!

  • jedichick May 6, 2009

    If you can take a trip, then do so! Those in the travel industry need to make money, too, so they can keep jobs during the recession and so the travel industry can keep going. But sometimes people don't think about that. Those are the same kind of people that fuss that no one is spending any money so business are failing. I'm going back to Austria next summer. Should I feel guilty about that? Absolutely not! So I am glad you enjoyed your trip and I enjoy your pictures!

  • rnparm May 5, 2009

    Great pictures. It is on my top ten list of places to see as well. Thank you for the motivation...glad you had a great time.




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Bill Leslie