Vacations are Overrated

I rarely take vacations anymore. The main reason is that freelancers don’t get paid when they’re not working.

On the other hand, many people that I know that work a traditional job with vacation benefits seem to be on vacation all the time, or at least several times a year. I was at a family party on Saturday and I asked where some people were—the answer was, “they’re at the Jersey Shore.” I wasn’t surprised because these are people who seem to live to take vacations. To each his own, I guess.

Once you get into a certain rhythm for work, you actually don’t require as much downtime as the traditional 6-week-a-year vacation types insist that they must have. A day here or there seems to suffice.

Old school vacationers playing golf.

Old school vacationers playing golf.

The best vacation I’ve had in recent memory was when Mary and I rented a camp in Steuben, sight-unseen. That was back in 2007, when our Sheltie, Bernie, was still alive. Mark and his girlfriend-at-the-time drove up from Boston. It was a bucolic week spent frolicking along the seashore, walking the neighboring nature preserve, biking off-the-beaten path, and eating clams that we bought each day from a local digger—we even visited the site where a baby whale had washed up on the beach.

My O’Pa never took vacations. Yes, he rested on Sundays and like many men of his day, tended to keep some variation of “the Sabbath.” I don’t remember him ever saying he was tired or bitching about his work.

My last extended period of time away from working for a living that could be considered a “vacation” was two years ago. I’m not complaining, merely stating a fact.

I’m actually going to be away for a few days after getting on an airplane later in the week. We’re headed to a secret destination that I’ll report back from at some point.

It will seem different not being on-call, or driving for the Uber, or even going in for my part-time job where I now spend four days each week. I’m curious how the change will feel to me.

Work of some sort has been central to humans since the beginning of recorded time. Technology and in particular, artificial intelligence, are likely to change that equation. At some point, humans might never have to work.

Will permanent vacations make our lives more fulfilling?

2 thoughts on “Vacations are Overrated

  1. It’s interesting you mention artificial intelligence and the possibility it will make work obsolete. I would posit the long, slow erosion of our monetary system has had the same outcome. Already there are fewer and fewer people working (despite what economic reports state). Most of the people I see on “permanent vacation” are spending their idle hours on their phones, “liking” things, or playing Pokeman.

    The notion of “vacation” is a relatively new one, I think. The general standard was a “day of rest.” The role models we saw growing up were men and women who were always working with the occasional Sunday afternoon “rest” in the lawn chair.

    It’s something we learned and probably something that will die hard in us. Whether for good or for bad, I don’t know, but it sure makes seeing the rest of the world on permanent vacation a difficult and unsettling thing.

  2. I wonder if vacation in this day and age is more about recovery rather than getting away to relax.

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