Sunday, 3 August 2014

Vacation vs Holiday

My daughter is away this week on holiday, and it got me thinking about the difference between vacation time and holiday time. Is there a difference? It’s all semantics, I guess.

The dictionary gives the meaning of vacation as: a scheduled period during which activity is suspended.

Holiday is defined as: a period taken as leave or a break from one’s normal occupation, esp. if spent away from home.

And there in lies the difference. The reason my daughter was so excited about her vacation this week was that she was going away on holiday. Vacation time spent at home is basically the same as an extra long weekend. Even if you fill it with day trips and activities, it still doesn’t have that invigorating, isn’t-life-grand, holiday feeling.

My daughter is away visiting the in-law family, at a family reunion. They had to travel, not just out of the province, but out of the country to the state of Michigan. The long drive was shortened by a night in a hotel, (a water park hotel so a mini holiday right there) a new experience for her and the kids.

I understand why she needed this break away. Work can call, and does, even if you’re on vacation, especially if work knows you’re at home. When I was on call for work, it was pretty much a 24/7 deal. Even if I wasn’t the one on call, my staff would still contact me because they knew I would listen and advise without any negative response. And they knew I was most likely at home.

My son and his family are also away, camping, sleeping in a tent and fishing on the lake all day. This is for them, a holiday, a break away from work both as a job and work about the house, even though all that work awaits them on their return home, the break away is worth the effort.

I have a friend who talks about going on a retreat, for writing. I think it sounds like a great idea. It sometimes seems easier to write away from home, away from the phone, the television, the chores, the refrigerator, all things that can tear you away from the work of writing.

I’ve written some of what I consider my best work sitting in McDonalds, writing long hand. No work delaying trips to the internet, no distractions, no looking at house work that needs done. When you need a break you scan the restaurant and take a moment to laugh at the kids, smile at the elderly couple having lunch, shake your head at the rowdy teens…and get back to work.

I’ve heard the phrase ‘stay-cation’ which means taking your vacation time at home. That’s just vacation time, but it ain’t no holiday. I really do think there’s a difference.




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