Nicole Dunn (second from right) says her favourite holiday was a houseboating expedition on B.C.'s Shuswap Lake in 2007.
A great holiday should bring one peace and tranquility as well as nourish one's body, mind and spirit.
The dynamics of a holiday involves more than seeing all the hotspots and eating and drinking everything in sight.
It should also be about breaking old patterns and strengthening relationships and personal growth. The most valuable part of any vacation is what occurs internally, not what goes on externally.
That's why some holidays last forever in our minds, and we remember them with fondness, while others not so much.
Nicole Dunn, assistant director of development with Living Water College of the Arts in Derwent, says the summer holiday which ranks highest in her books is a houseboating trip to the Shuswap Lakes in British Columbia during the summer of 2007.
Fresh from earning her bachelor of arts in California, Dunn was ready to relax and leave the books behind her. Seven days floating on the Shuswap was a more-than-refreshing start to the next phase of her life.
"We spent our days enjoying perfect weather with endless sun, swimming, hiking, fishing, no schedule, pleasure reading and family time," the young mother of two related.
"I discovered I could get a better tan in B.C. than in California and was reminded of what it meant to have no homework hanging over my head. Living on the water also meant that the family couldn't avoid each other and this proximity led us to spend some much needed time enjoying the moments of life.
"I would return in a heartbeat . . . especially if this Alberta winter lasts any longer."
In the summer of 2008, Rosa Gregory, an Edmonton social worker currently working in Lethbridge, and her husband Adam packed their Jeep and hit the road to Seattle.
Their first stop was in Nordegg where they spent the night at the lake watching the sunset in their lawn chairs, while taking in the crisp mountain air and peacefulness of the area.
Their second stop was Penticton, where they spent the night before driving to southern B.C. through the Okanagan Valley past rows of vineyards, lakes and through the mountains to Osooyos.
"Osooyos is a bit of an anomaly as it boasts our country's warmest lake and is the hottest, driest, desert climate in the country," related Gregory. "You could literally see the heat rising from the sidewalks and the divide of desert and regular region."
After spending time at the nk'mip cultural centre walking and sea-dooing in Osooyos Lake, the Gregorys drove to Vancouver to visit Stanley Park and to walk the sea wall and English Bay.
Seattle provided many new experiences for the couple. They went to the top of the Seattle Space Needle and looked down on the city and Mount Rainer. They sailed Puget Sound in the duck boat and spent the day at the music museum.
"I really enjoyed the day at the Pier Public Market as it was a hub of food, crafts and music and truly an enjoyable shopping experience," Gregory said.
"This trip to Seattle from Edmonton and back was close to 10,000 km in 10 days. Traveling the open road was a wonderful way to travel as you really get to enjoy the diverse nature and climate Canada has to offer."
One of the most unforgettable holidays for Mike Landry, a school chaplain in Spruce Grove, was his honeymoon in 2005, during which he and his bride drove south to Montana and Washington State, went whale watching, camping, drove go-karts and just enjoyed the scenery around them.
"The company was the best part of that vacation as it was the beginning of the great adventure of our married vocation," Landry says.
"We treated those two weeks as an adventure, not planning too far ahead and picking which place we would drive as we went."
For Sandra Talarico, religious education consultant with Edmonton Catholic Schools, every holiday is the best.
"For me, when I can literally remove myself from the scheduled meetings and anxieties of 21st century living to experience life in a slower and less systematic way, that is a holiday to remember," she says.
Several years ago, Talarico travelled to Turkey with her sister retracing the steps of St. Paul.
"We spent a few weeks in that beautiful country, journeying from one end to the other, meeting the people, interacting with its culture, and experiencing the serenity of a hot air balloon ride above the city of Cappadocia, a unique area in central Turkey for its volcanic formations and early settlements."
For Talarico, Turkey really was a curious mix of the West and the East. "Even though much of the country is Islamic, its interpretation of the faith varied vastly across the country," she recalled.
"This was a revelation. Despite its large Muslim majority population, Turkey officially remains a secular country, with no declared state religion – intriguing to me since so much of our own Church history dwells within its borders."