We have recently returned from our three-week driving trip. During our time away, others often referred to our excursion as ‘vacation.’ This small, innocuous-seeming word began to grate away at me. Once people retire, can their travel justly be called ‘vacation’? This word no longer seemed appropriate to describe our trips away (especially this one, which included many of the same tasks and activities that we did at home….only with different scenery and very different weather).
I turned to the Cambridge dictionary.
“Retirement: the act of leaving your job and stopping working.”
“Vacation: a time when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax.”
You can nitpick these definitions for donkey’s years, but if defined as above, both words center on “stopping working” and the “freedom to do what you want” (at least for a period of time). So in that regard, retirement itself can be seen as a ‘vacating’ of sorts. Hmmm, that means I would be taking ‘vacation’ from ‘vacation.’ This is not to imply that retirement is not a very busy, active and meaningful time (I find it incredibly so). I couldn’t put my finger on it, but ‘vacation’ from ‘retirement’ just seemed wrong.
I placed the dictionary aside and turned to Google where I was sure I would find a quick answer. After typing the words ‘retirement’ and ‘vacation’ in the search bar, using both narrow and broad phrases to go with my topic, and then scrolling through pages and pages of posts… the closest entries that I found were “retirement destinations,” “cheap ways to travel” and “Elderhostel.” Google totally failed me here (or my research skills have quickly atrophied in my post-work life)! Still I persevered. Several pages in, I was directed to blog posts asking if vacations were important in retirement. I mean absolutely no disrespect here when I say “duh”! My question was not whether one should take trips during retirement, but rather what these trips should be called.
I was about to give up on the whole topic and once again vow not to be so picky (yeah, right), when I saw a freshly posted blog entry entitled “No More Vacations.” In this post, the author argued that retirement brings the “freedom to stop taking vacations from something and instead be able to say “yes, we’d love to,” “yes, we’ll go,” “yes, we will be there.” Eureka!! I totally agree! My trips away are no longer a separation from my regular life, more appropriately they are an extension of my current freedom and exploring. Thanks to Janis my query has an answer to which I am quite satisfied.
As an aside, an amazing bonus of blogging on retirement is reading different retirement blogs and sharing that connection with others who are experiencing similar journeys!
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your point of view.
Top Photo: A snapshot from our recent road trip Bottom Photo: A snapshot from our daily life