So most people I know define vacation time into 3 categories:

The 1st define a vacation as taking a couple of days off over the course of a year.
The 2nd define a vacation as taking one week off of work.
And the 3rd hoard their vacation time and never take it.

I define vacation time as anything from 1 week to 3 weeks.  When we would take 2 weeks in the OBX the tension in my neck and shoulders never began to relax until the end of the first week.  By day 8, my mind was clearer, I was sleeping better, and I felt rejuvenated.  When we do 1 week vacations, by day 5 I start stressing about how I’ve only got 2 more days until I was back at work.  Not very relaxing!!!  But still much needed time off.  So when people ask me “how much time are you taking for your trip out to Yellowstone” and I respond “3 weeks” the response I get is “WOW!” or “I really wish I could take that much time off”.

So my question is, why?  Why aren’t more American’s taking vacations?  Research as shown that by taking a much needed vacation you can reduce stress, prevent heart disease, improve productivity, and get better sleep.  So if researching is showing us that we could improve our lives by taking a vacation, then why not just go.

After losing both my parents 4 years ago, I’ve had this need to show my girls the world.  Since then we’ve been to Italy, Hilton Head SC, Niagara Falls Canada, Savannah GA, and most recently Bonaire. 

Venice, Italy
I remember my pops loading my brother and I into our 1970 Chevy Impala station wagon, with a make shift bed in the back, for our trip down to Florida to visit our aunt.  I will never forgot those trips.  I know our trip out west won’t be in a 1970 Chevy Impala with a make shift bed however, I know this will be an adventure that our girls will never forget.  Today we are so connected via our personal devices that when we are on vacation, we’re actually disconnected and not allowing ourselves to enjoy our surroundings.  Why can’t we be in the moment?  As a child some of my most memorable vacations were when my parents sat at the waters edge watching us surf.  Seeing the smiles on their faces as they witnessed us enjoying our vacation.  I know my dad felt very proud hat he could take his family on summer vacations.  I know I do when I see the smiles on my girls face.

A Washington Post article from 2015, showed that the average person works 43.5 hours a week in the Washington, DC area.  And we wonder why everyone seems so stressed out.  Another added stress, for those of us with kids, is their extra curricular activities.  We’re schlepping kids from activity to activity, making sure the kids have all their gear, and plenty of water.  And for some of us that coach our kids in sports, we usually aren’t getting home until 8:30/9pm.  This doesn’t give us much time to unwind and release the days stress.  Then we’re off to bed by 11pm and back up at 6:30am ready to do it all over again.  And for me some nights my mind never shuts off, I’m constantly rewinding the days events, playing them back over and over again in my head.  Which leads to some very exhausting mornings/days/weeks.  And all of this adds up to stress. 

So is a vacation a necessity?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  We need this time to explore, de-stress , and reflect.