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.”

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

42 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: No more vacations”

  1. Janis,

    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.


    1. 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. 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…….

    1. 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. 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!

    1. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  6. 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. (:


    1. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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. 🙂

    1. 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.

  10. 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!!

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