Saturday, February 20, 2010

Defining a Vacation

Did you ever notice that you use words that when you are asked to define them present some difficulty? Or that your definition of a word varies widely from the definition provided by someone else, even if that person is a good friend or family member?

If we were to test out this word definition premise on the word vacation, what do you suppose the answers would be? The most immediate response for most people would be paid or unpaid time away from work? If the person is retired, it might be time away from the normal routine. If a student, time away from school, etc.

For a civilization that is very frenetic, this "time away" carries so many individual meanings as well. What is the time away to be used for? Classically in my family, vacations took place twice a year. Once during the summer, the family would pack up and go to Minnesota, land of a 1,000 lakes, and rent a cottage. Various members of the extended family would join the excursion and the stories of various good times were told by family members down the generations. It seems that many of my cousins were able to build strong family ties on these vacations and at family gatherings, the stories start with some version of ...Remember that time at Lake...? Our family photo albums are full of vacation pictures. There is something "extra" memorable about vacation experiences and they really make the list of those special events for which a camera or a video recorder are on hand to capture the memories. The second annual vacation usually occurred over the Christmas holiday and involved the extended family and various visits from the out-of-town relatives (the occasion when children usually give up their bedrooms for older members of the visiting family and the kids have the giant sleep over in the living room for several days on end).

From a quality of life point of view, how we spend our vacations can alter our sense of well-being. A great vacation can be a remedy for stress. A break in the daily grind, etc. How we use the leisure time that has been available to us isn't generally something that we take for granted. Some of us actually live for vacations! This dedication to vacations has also produced a number of products and services that support us in our quest for that special vacation experience. Some of these options accommodate our needs when traveling generally, such as hotel and airlines. However, some of these vacation services are targeted to fulfill our ultimate vacation fantasies. These would include resort destinations, cruises, wilderness experiences and the like.

I happen to work in a company that is dedicated to helping families achieve the best vacation experiences possible at a reasonable cost. One that is aimed to promote the best quality of life for our member families by assisting them in making the best use of their leisure time. I think of all of this as a special, a very special opportunity.

Here in America, our Constitution protects the "pursuit of happiness." In the end, I believe that the experience we are essentially seeking in our vacations is personal and familial happiness. Here's to your next vacation and fulfillment of your constitutional right to it!

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