Taking time off to take a vacation or travel to a dream destination is really hard for us Americans. We have a lot of pressure on us. We are a hyper-scheduled society and we like it that way. We have work commitments, school commitments, sports and tournaments to attend, family to see and annual family obligations we feel compiled to meet. These are things we feel we must do, but also things we like. They are what ground us and generally help make daily life good. There is nothing wrong with these things.
Having just returned from our year “off” – I have learned a few things. Being one of those hyper-scheduled families that was loaded down with commitments before we left, I completely understand how a schedule can come to dominate one’s existence. People looked at us as if we were crazy to pull our kids from select soccer and leave our annual routine. Well, we did it. We took the year off. We had an amazing experience and we are back. We returned and things are pretty much back to the very full schedule we had before we left. We learned to let go a little and we enjoy an existence that is a little less crammed full, but it is still pretty busy. We are, after all, Americans. We can’t help it. Schedules and routine are a real and normal part of our life here.
In the US, we typically get less vacation time than other Countries. (U.S. Workers Trail Rest Of Developed Countries In Vacation Time: Report ://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/us-vacation-time-report_n_3333563.html) With an average of 16 days per year there is barely enough time to make it to every family get-together, hit the nearest beach or hiking trail for a week, and relax a few days on your couch – never mind visit another country. Taking an extended vacation from your job or career requires serious prioritizing. One that requires closely examining your finances, preparing for an extended absence and/or taking a long hard look at your career choice.
So I am writing today to help you understand that I really get it. It is hard to break away. It is really hard to let go of a schedule and those commitments. So, if you want to do it you have to just make it happen and say no to your regular commitments. You must prioritize your trip. It is really hard for us to do that in the USA. We are not encouraged to do it. It runs counter to our societal “norms”. It might mean saying no to your friend’s wedding or your annual Fourth of July party. It might mean pulling your kids from a sports team for a summer or homeschooling. It might mean leaving your job. These things are terrifying and require a huge leap of faith. There will not be a lot of people in your community that really understand what you are doing. There will be lots of people who support you but are not sure what you are doing or how you are doing it. Online you will find a huge group of travelers who have done it. They will understand and will help you through it.
Take the leap. You can do it. You will not regret it.
Start by making it a PRIORITY.
- You Need a Vacation. Really. (thehartford.com)
- Family Holidays & Travel Directory (free-toddlers-activity-and-discipline-guide.com)
- Study Shows Rise in Number of Staycations (virtual-strategy.com)
- Why save those vacation days? (cnn.com)
- We Deserve Time. It’s Money After All! (raisingjoneses.wordpress.com)