Vacation \ vāˈkāSH(ə)n \ n. 1: 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.”