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February 23, 2016 /

GratiTuesday: No more vacations

Vacation \ vāˈkāSH(ə)n \ n1: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday  2: freedom or release from duty, business, or activity


I remember what taking a vacation meant when I was working full time: I’d decide on a destination, figure out how much time I needed to take off work, consult my schedule and my boss to make sure the dates were OK, fill out any necessary H.R. paperwork, work extra hours before my vacation so that I didn’t leave any loose ends while I was gone, then put in even more hours when I returned so I could catch up on all the work that wasn’t done while away.

After one or two days back in the office, it hardly felt like I had been away at all. In fact, I was often twice as busy and felt more stressed than before I left.


Now that my husband and I are retired, we no longer take vacations. Packing our bags and leaving our home for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, isn’t a “release from duty or business.” We might need to stop our newspaper and mail deliveries, have a neighbor watch the house and water a few plants, or arrange for friends or family to stay in our home while we are gone, but, our time away is no longer “a period of suspension of work or study” nor does it require prior approval. Instead, it is a continuation and enhancement of our retired life.

Rather than take vacations, what we do now is travel. We take road trips. We visit. We tour. We go on great adventures. Sometimes we aren’t 100% percent sure of our itinerary or when we’ll return home. If we decide to stay a little while longer somewhere, no problem. If we see a road less traveled and decide to take it, fine and dandy.

I am so grateful that our retirement has given us the freedom to stop taking vacations from something and instead be able to say “yes, we’d love to,” “yes, we’ll go,” “yes, we will be there.”



Leave a Comment
  1. rporter610 / Feb 23 2016 8:17 am


    Your post gave me the feeling that you are quite relieved that the difficulties vacations can cause are no longer part of your routine! I can remember how much work piled up when I was working and had to leave even just for a two-day conference somewhere. When I got back and had to do double duty, it seemed like going away just wasn’t worth it.

    Although I’ve been “retired” (sort of) for 12 years, I still suffer from culture shock when I get home from a trip. I just got back from two weeks away, and have spent the last three days dealing with 180 emails, a huge pile of regular postal mail, unpacking, consoling my pets who dislike such a long stay in the boarding kennel, etc. I am exhausted! I have another long trip coming up in May, and I almost dread the idea because of what I’ll have to deal with when I get back. I wish I could be as relaxed as you are about continuing to travel. I love it, but it does result in loads of work after the trip to resume my retirement routine.


    • / Feb 23 2016 1:20 pm

      You are right that life can continue to pile up when we are away for awhile… even in retirement. I guess it’s because I have no one depending on me to get work done that I’m able to relax more before, during, and after. We have also chosen not to have pets in this stage of our lives just for that reason.

  2. Anabel Marsh / Feb 23 2016 8:26 am

    I can totally identify with this! Well, OK, not totally, 50%. We still have to negotiate the demands of my husband’s job to set up vacation time, but when he retires, the world will be our oyster. He’s not taking the hint though…….

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:25 pm

      I hope your husband is making the choice to continue to work because he loves what he is doing as opposed to staying because he doesn’t know what he would do to fill up his time. I enjoyed the job I left but didn’t hesitate a second when we decided to retire. Fortunately, judging from your posts, you still manage to travel quite a bit.

  3. Encore Voyage / Feb 23 2016 8:35 am

    When hubs and I returned from our cruise a couple of weeks ago (on a weekend), he flew to California for a project on Monday morning. (Remember, we have created our Encore Voyage second career sort of business) So anyway, Frank Lloyd Wright needed to hop on a plane. On the way to the airport I asked him if he had that “Uck, Monday morning post-vacation blues” sort of feeling. He replied, “Not at all! I get to CHOOSE to do this! Great post! This is one of our favorite parts about the Encore, and we are truly grateful for it!

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:28 pm

      That is so true about choosing to work vs. having to work. I know several people who don’t need the income, but love what they do so they keep working… even if just part time. It’s nice hat you were able to design the retirement that works for you.

  4. mercyn620 / Feb 23 2016 9:00 am

    I totally identify with your current lifestyle. Hub retired Dec.31, and we are now in the middle of a two month road trip. We will travel, hopefully, as long as we are physically able. Love it!
    Written while enjoying Big Bend National Park, a.k.a. the middle of nowhere Texas.

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:31 pm

      Wow, a two-month road trip… I’m so jealous! And, national parks… double jealous! Enjoy your journey and please check-in once in awhile to provide updates!

  5. Denise Hammond / Feb 23 2016 9:53 am

    I remember someone once telling me that if you are traveling with young children it is not a vacation. It is a ‘trip’. And then the kids were gone and my vacations were just ‘working away from the office’, what with emails and international phone calls that were cheap. Now, being retired, every day is a vacation and when I go away I am traveling.

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:34 pm

      Exactly! I remember when vacations meant really getting away, if only for awhile. With the invention of email and cellphones, it was hard to hide… and you were expected to stay connected. Yuck! And, you are right, every day is a vacation in retirement!

  6. Keith / Feb 23 2016 11:09 am

    What a relaxed pose. Like someone who travels and can enjoy the moments. I love the road less traveled excursions, as well.

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:36 pm

      So many moments, so little time! It’s so nice to travel without worrying about what is waiting for me when I get back (except a stack of mail).

      • Keith / Feb 24 2016 6:51 am

        Yes, but much of that mail are more labels from good minded charities wanting your money or credit card offers.

  7. Kate Crimmins / Feb 23 2016 11:33 am

    If only I wouldn’t worry so much about my pets! I do enjoy the freedom though. Retirement rocks!

    • / Feb 23 2016 1:39 pm

      Retirement rocks… yes! I miss having a pet but I love the freedom we have right now. When we slow down, I’m sure we’ll get a dog or cat, but not quite yet.

  8. betsysbeat / Feb 23 2016 2:14 pm

    I feel exactly the same way!! I love being able to travel without all the headaches and without a BlackBerry from work!

    • / Feb 23 2016 2:50 pm

      I remember my boss and colleagues saying “go have fun… don’t think about work.” Then a phone call or email would arrive that needed attention. I don’t miss it at all!

  9. snakesinthegrass2014 / Feb 23 2016 5:01 pm

    “Rather than take vacations, what we do now is travel.” Love that. And a great pic of you to boot!

  10. laura bruno lilly / Feb 24 2016 5:29 am

    Sweet! I enjoy reading about your entrance into this ‘new’ lifestyle.

    Just to let you know, I nominated you for a fun 3days/3quotes challenge. Info here on my blog post

    No pressure, just thought you might be interested in considering it.

    Oh and, margaritas are my mixed drink of choice, too 😉

    • / Feb 24 2016 4:30 pm

      I saw that you had nominated me for the quote challenge. I appreciate it but I’ll probably not participate. I have a few too many things on my plate right now (all good) to post three days in a row. I liked your first quote and I’m looking forward to your others! Btw, if you like margaritas, the mango margarita they serve at the Hotel California in Todos Santos is wonderful!

  11. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Feb 24 2016 6:32 am

    This is a very timely post for me. I had just been struggling with the concept of “if retirement is a form of ‘vacation’, can you truly go on vacation from vacation?”. I did several Internet searches, but really could not find what I was looking for. I was just half way through writing my own post on this topic when I saw your post. I love your treatment of this topic and totally agree with your conclusions. Thank you for another great post, Janis. Great minds think alike. (:


    • / Feb 24 2016 4:12 pm

      I hope you still post your take on it; great minds think alike, but always with slightly different perspectives. Just like I prefer the term “traveler” to “tourist,” I much prefer dreaming of possible travel adventures rather than planning vacations and thinking about all the prep that went into taking them.

  12. patwdoyle11 / Feb 24 2016 6:35 am

    I love “What we do now is travel. We take road trips. We visit. We tour. We go on great adventures.” I am so ready to start my great adventures! Although I agree with some others, coming home to 2-3 weeks of piled up (snail) mail is still a bummer….but it’s better than 200-300 piled up work emails!

    • / Feb 24 2016 4:03 pm

      You are right. Anytime you go away, life continues on at home and things stack up. But, unlike work piles, you usually can take your time going through everything. I’ll take retirement pile-up any day!

  13. Carol Ferenc / Feb 24 2016 12:00 pm

    Great post, Janis! When I was working, I often felt that vacations weren’t worth the mess and extra work that awaited me back in the office. I’m so glad to NOT be taking vacations any longer!

    • / Feb 24 2016 4:01 pm

      I know what you mean! Sometimes I responded to work email during my vacations just so I had fewer to deal with when I got back.

      • Carol Ferenc / Feb 24 2016 6:49 pm

        Ugh! It shouldn’t be that way.

  14. joannesisco / Feb 24 2016 6:27 pm

    Yes, I remember those days when I often thought that going on vacation wasn’t worth the aggravation when work was a nightmare to catch up on afterwards.

    Now that I’m retired, I still think of it as going on vacation. I’m away from home and the endless chores that always seem to nag at me for attention. 🙂

    • / Feb 27 2016 3:21 pm

      You are right about being away from home… just because we are retired doesn’t mean that we don’t have chores and obligations. I just don’t have the same feeling of being overwhelmed when I return that I did when I was working.

  15. Terri Webster Schrandt / Feb 24 2016 7:35 pm

    It is so nice to just travel and be in the moment. Of course working part-time 8 months out of the year is like a part-time vacation 🙂 My hubby loves to travel and although he still works full-time, he knows how to travel (he’s been all over the world) and he goes with the flow and does not stress about much. He is great to travel with. Great post!!

    • / Feb 27 2016 3:23 pm

      It really is nice to have a good travel partner! Going with the flow is key… don’t stress about things you cannot change. When is that husband of yours going to retire?

      • Terri Webster Schrandt / Feb 27 2016 6:10 pm

        He’s got a few years yet. Meanwhile I am enjoying teaching part-time. When he’s done, I’m done!

  16. lisadorenfest / Feb 29 2016 4:17 pm



  1. Finding the Art of Saying ‘Yes’ | Retirement_Reflections
  2. Taking ‘Vacation’ from ‘Vacation’: Can you Actually do that? – Retirement_Reflections

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