Should We Call It Vacation If We Don’t Vacate?

This week while on vacation I got to thinking about vacationing. Did my activity, or the lack of it, qualify as a vacation?

A Fun Day in Oregon on the Rogue River
A Fun Day in Oregon on the Rogue River

As far back as I can remember I’ve vacationed. It’s been an important part of my life. And my well-being. We Gudgels love vacations, and we are good at them.

Of course my first experience with vacations was when I was a kid. My school year included time off for two weeks at Christmas, one week for Easter, and an amazing wonderful three months off for Summer.

It’s All About Time Off

Yes time off. That’s the basic meaning behind vacation. Time off. Suspension of work or study. Time set aside for rest, recreation, recess, refreshment, fun, travel. Suspension, freedom or release from duty.

I can still remember how I felt as a kid when I was on vacation but I didn’t actually get a vacation. Like when a teacher saw Christmas or Easter break as a time to assign a paper to write, or a book to read, or stuff to study because there would be a test on the first day back from “vacation.”

I gave up a good part of my vacation one summer to go to summer school. (Talk about an oxymoron!) Doing so bummed me out. That’s why I never did it again. I missed my much needed, deserved, and anticipated three months of a school-free vacation.

Something Must Be Vacated

Vacation 101 says, “Vacation happens when something is vacated.” That was easy when the thing I was vacating was school.

Family Time on the Rogue River
Family Time on the Rogue River

It’s harder for me to vacate now as an adult. When you have a job that never ends. When there is always another project to do, need to meet, or problem to solve. When someone wants your help, input, or advice. When people are counting on you to make decisions and lead the charge. When your livelihood is dependent upon you being there. When you’re used to being available 24/7…it’s really hard to vacate for vacation.

It may be harder now to vacate than ever before. It sure seems like that to me. Of the thirty-five years I’ve served in my role as a Lead Pastor, I think I can say it’s harder for me to vacate for vacation now than it ever was before.

Living in a Connected World

You want to know why? You can probably guess. It’s connected to three primary culprits: email, cell phones, text messages. In today’s cyber world it’s too easy to stay connected to work through all of that. For my current vacation, on a scale of 1-10 I’d give myself an 8 or 9 for vacating from these three vacation killers. Good but not great.

So my suggestion for you – and for my next vacation – is to step totally away from your electronics as far as work is concerned. Go off the grid. Don’t look at emails or listen to messages. Ignore the texts that are work-related. On your next vacation… vacate.

by Dave Gudgel

Question: Is it hard for you to vacate when you are on vacation? You can leave a comment below or by clicking here.