All About Vacationing
By: J. Marlando
I can’t be the only crazy work junkie around so there’s got to be a lot of people out there just about as crazy as I was. Maybe you are one of them or know someone who is?
I’ll explain: I spent well over twenty years never taking a vacation until a couple of years ago when my wife insisted that “we get away” or…else. I didn’t want to go because vacation sounded far too much like a waste of time to me. Now I realize this might sound a little weird to some readers but living with my nose to the grindstone was never a sacrifice for me, my work is my pleasure so being devoted to it day after day and year after year was fully my choice. I was doing exactly what I wanted to do! In fact, forget vacation time for a moment, I never took a single day off in all those years unless you count sick or travel time. Anyway, my wife kept insisting that we get away and so I finally agreed…reluctantly agreed but agreed nevertheless.
One thing for sure, I never realized that vacationing is about more than taking time off from work, eating in different restaurants and sightseeing. For another thing, I never realized the merry-go-round lifestyle I was living until I got off “the ride.” That is, up in the morning, and then it was ho ho, ho ho it’s off to work I go…come home, take some time to watch T.V., have a cocktail and go to bed—repeat process the next day and…the next…and the next.
Sure. Sometimes we’d have some guests over, visit friends or go out to eat but, by and large, even those activities were pretty routine too. Some would say that we were living in a “rut” and sure enough we were without realizing it. We were, like most people, also living under the clouds or stress and strain —you know there are always the demands and responsibilities of daily life, the bills, the broken water pipes and so forth. Well, as I say, I would still be in that constant loop if my wife hadn’t said, “We’re going!”
And so, after the experience of going, my entire worldview changed—it is simply healthier to get away and simply do and experience some R and R. If you can’t afford a cruise to the Caribbean or a flight to Paris, go rent a cabin in the mountains or go visit relatives but just get away!
The problem is, it takes some time to shake the cobwebs of ordinary life out and to get rid of the baggage in your head. You know, worrying about next month’s expenses, is the person you hired to watch your pet pooch dependable; what if your boss discovers that he doesn’t really need you? You simply tend to find a lot of stuff to worry about as you get further and further away from your house or apartment. Did you really turn off the oven or leave the lights on?
Then after three or four days you start settling into your new environment you meet a few new people, see some sights, maybe lay around the pool or go hiking, boating, dancing, water skiing or whatever else you enjoy. Soon enough your blood pressure has lowered, the anxiousness that you generally live with simply goes away and you’re actually having a great time. While you absolutely didn’t want to go, now you absolutely don’t want your vacation to end. Well, you at least don’t want it to end right away. The problem is, if you are a staff member or employee of a company, you are condemned to the days that you are permitted. Let’s say 10 days which is the average vacation time for most workers in the U.S. Well, before we talk about frustrations of this let’s peek at a few places around the globe that give their employees yearly vacations.
The countries that allow you the most time to remember how to relax and let loose of the concerns you’ve left begins with France. The workers in France are given 7 weeks in total vacation days to self-indulge and enjoy. Finland and Austria give employees 35 days while Denmark requires 6 weeks with the right to “sell back” one week if the employee chooses. In Italy workers are given 20 to 30 vacation days with 12 public holidays. Ireland requires 20 days off with 9 public holidays. The countries that give the least vacation days are Mexico, Hong Kong and Singapore. Workers in those places only get 7 days but the United States is nearly as bad. There is no required vacation days in America but workers generally are given 10 working days off plus 8 national holidays. Since it takes at least three or four days to, as the old song says, leave your worries on the doorstep and truly start relaxing that’s not very long especially if there is travel time involved. In this view 10 days turns into 5 real vacation days but then, by the time you start enjoying yourself it’s time to turn around and go home, isn’t it?
I’m fortunate in that I have been self-employed most of my life but people who aren’t should be given at least 3 weeks of vacation time plus holidays a year. Vacationing is about more than lounging about and seeing and doing new things. Vacationing is about clearing the mind and reenergizing the body; it’s about getting out of the “box” of one’s life and having some freedom for a change. And, if you will, for recharging motivation and enthusiasm for whatever it is that one does for a living.
As I said, I would not have taken that first vacation had my wife not insisted but after taking it. And, I had no idea how really uptight I had been before taking the time off. The toughest thing I believe is to leave your worries and responsibilities and just get up and go. But don’t worry I promise you that all your worries and responsibilities will be waiting for you when you get back anyway.