'I'm gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fine vacation,' Or maybe not
Travel has been much in the headlines lately, and not always in a good way. All the talk of travel bans, visa restrictions and disturbing rumors about security have fueled a general sense of uneasiness about where we’re going and what’s going to happen when we get there. Before, some of us would not have given a second thought to heading out to parts unknown; now many are giving it a second thought, and a third and a fourth.
The argument could be made that there’s some good to come from this. We should all of us give more consideration to our well-being while we’re on the road, whether that road takes us across town or around the world. Carefree and cavalier can quickly descend turn into careless and compromised. So it pays to do a little homework on your destination and use some commonsense precautions – getting travel insurance, having the right documentation and staying in touch with home base, for example.
On the other hand, it’s a shame that so many people no longer feel they can just take off and go. After all, part of the joy of travel is the feeling of spontaneity, the adventure of discovery. Hard to feel that way when you’re getting patted down in some never ending security line somewhere.
Of course each of us carries our own personal trepidation about travel. For me, the apprehension begins as summer vacation approaches; I must confess that I’ve never been very good at taking time off. Perhaps it’s a hyper inflated sense of my own indispensability, or maybe it’s the nagging suspicion that in my absence, people will discover exactly how dispensable I really am. Whatever the motives, this is the time of year when I begin to ask myself – in the words of one hotel chain’s snappy television ads – “should I stay or should I go?”
Apparently I’m not the only one thus afflicted. According to a new survey from Alamo Rent A Car, nearly half (49 percent) of the workers in the US say they are‘ vacation shamed’– made to feel guilty by co-workers for taking a vacation. That’s up two points from same survey just last year. Even more surprising, over two-thirds (68 percent) of Millennials – that perpetually self-assured cohort whom Time once dubbed the “me me me generation”– reported they’re made to feel guilty for taking a vacation. Of course all that castigation from our fellow employees often means we simply don’t take vacation. The Alamo research shows that fewer than half of all workers – only 47 percent – use all their paid vacation days, and only 18 percent use all of their vacation days to actually go on a vacation. Most of us take a day off here and there to run errands or tinker around the house. Every spring, stories cross my desk detailing research about the amount of vacation time American workers leave on the table each year, and the impact of‘ workplace martyrdom’ on employees and their families. “When employees don’t use their PTO,” one press release read,“research shows it affects their happiness, health, and performance and productivity at work, all of which can undermine company success.” So here’s a thought: Go. Take the vacation. Travel. See the world. Or get to know a little more about your own country, its history and culture. And don’t let anybody in the office convince you you shouldn’t. Just ignore them… and go. After all, it’s possible that the worst travel ban is the one we impose on ourselves. BT