Everybody takes a vacation at least once in a while, but how come you can’t break away from work and life to travel more often?
I don’t have to remind you about the physical, emotional, and refreshing rewards of using your paid vacation days for travel. When you feel burned out at work, the desire to visit a relaxing or sunny place to unwind and recover is strong. Due to the nature of work-life balance (or imbalance, critically so in the United States), we often get into the habit of taking annual vacation without questioning the motives.
Before you free yourself from the burden of work and life to travel more, first stop to think about your reason for wanting to travel more often. What does taking more vacations mean to you?
> Does it rejuvenate you?
> Does it lead to happiness?
> Does it create everlasting memories?
> How does it enrich your soul?
> How does it let you spend time with those closest to you?
> Where in the world do you envision yourself visiting?
What types of experiences can you only have by breaking away from the endless cycle of work and home life to travel?
This wake-up call is designed to convince you to treat travel as an equal player in your work-life balance. Instead of putting travel in a box that you open up only once or twice a year, make travel, enrichment, and adventure an essential part of your world.
Everyone has heard of “work-life balance” but why are there only two categories? Is everything outside of “work” simply “life” and nothing more? Why blend home and family responsibilities with travel opportunities?
Finding ways to work less is one way to benefit from greater balance. However if leisure time is an essential element of your life, you must separate life and vacation to have the ultimate balance.
Let’s redefine vacation as something beyond your yearly paid vacation days and holidays. Vacation is a mindset. It is what you are doing when you are not working and not taking care of personal, home, and family responsibilities.
Vacation can involve travel near or far for just a few hours to a few days, weeks, or more. Vacation time is also leisure time spent with family and friends as well as personal time engaged in energetic and enriching activities. When you get to decide what to do with your free time, you are “on vacation.”
The meaning of travel goes beyond the typical week of paid vacation and certainly does not require you to drive long distances or fly to a distant land. Here are some examples of travel that can happen close to home and without taking any of your limited vacation days:
The list can go on and on, but the point is to show you that the purpose of “vacation” goes beyond our cultural norms. Taking time off from work AND life means getting away from both types of tasks, demands, and responsibilities.
When you feel like you are on vacation, you are! Allow your mind and body to feel the benefits.
Striving to achieve the dated notion of work-life balance leaves what I feel is the most exciting part – vacation! That is why I invented a new way to think about, measure, and optimize it. Let’s call it “Work-Life-Vacation Balance“ and put travel (or any form of vacation) on equal footing by separating it from traditional work/life balance goals.
Dictionary: Work-Life Balance for Travelers
noun The amount of time dedicated to work as compared with the amount of time an individual is engaged in home, family, and life activities. Usually associated with reducing overwork to achieve a desired ratio.
verb Optimizing the time spent at work versus life in order to achieve an ideal fit based on the needs of work, family, and personal fulfillment.
noun The amount of time spent at work versus life versus vacation (e.g. traveling); the measurement of the goal to free up time from work and life for travel.
verb Maximizing opportunities for leisure time by reducing the amount of time allocated to work and life so that travel wishes can be fulfilled.
The studies about “vacation deprivation”, the lack of mandatory paid time off laws in the U.S., and the statistics that show that Americans take so few vacation days paint a grim picture. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Now you are ready to take the next step by embracing the concept of work-life-vacation balance. Make it a goal to not just balance work and life, but to treat vacation and travel time as equally (if not more) important to your total well-being.
First stop and consider your own measure of work-life-travel balance. Here is a short list of where different activities fit into the equation.
Commuting to Work
Long Lunch Breaks
Being On Call
Bringing Work Home
Looking for a New Job
Hours of Enrichment
Thinking About Work
|Chores & Errands|
Once in a Lifetime Trips
Here is a bit of inspiration for the endless ways in which you can “travel” during your vacation time off from work and life.
Week or More
Big City Exploration
Wining and Dining
Bus and Train Travel
Are you ready to maximize your time off from work and from life to travel more? Here is your official project plan. Divide your time off from work and life into buckets based on size. Travel can take the forms of micro vacations, small trips, and major vacations.
Are you ready to join the movement to make vacation time part of your work-life balance? Sign up for the newsletter to learn the best ways to take more time off to travel.
Whatever your age, relationship, family situation, or career stage, Work-Life-Vacation Balance is the pathway to happy, productive, and vacation-full living. Make the commitment to travel more this year and every year.
Use the comments box below to share your own time-off and work-life balance challenges today. Do you consider time off from work to be an opportunity to travel? Do you take all your vacation days each year? What are your goals for work-life-vacation balance and how do you plan to achieve them? Let us know!
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