The Importance of Taking a Real Vacation


I hadn’t taken a real vacation in a long time, one away from home, with a clean break from work and the computer. In the years I actually did take vacation, it was at home, where all the responsibilities still loomed. I got to relax, sure, but I also felt obligated to do stuff around the house I had been putting off, like scrapping and painting the windows. And that’s when I didn’t check my email and get sucked into “just doing this one little thing”.

This year, I finally took a real vacation, a plane flight away. I finished up all pending work, gave my clients the names of trusted colleagues in the event of a translation emergency and off I went, leaving behind all responsibilities, both work and personal.

While some of the traveling was exhausting, it was tiring in a completely different way than my usual day-to-day.  I did not have any deadlines or to-do lists. I didn’t have to check my email or keep up with anything. All I had to do was get up in the morning and decide, along with my traveling companions, what I felt like doing and seeing. It was glorious.

For once, my head felt quiet. I didn’t have to remember hundreds of things I had to do. Besides occasionally looking up some information online, I stayed away from the computer and rarely even turned on the TV. I had time to read an entire book over a few days, something I had not done in a very long time. I visited mountains and canyons and got to spend real quality time with my family, face to face, no distractions. I didn’t have to worry about all the little details day-to-day life, the errands that have to be run, the appointment that need to be scheduled, etc. Everything was in the now, basically. And not a single thing was urgent.

Taking a vacation away from home can be a little expensive, with travel and lodging and such (unless you stay with family or friends), but it’s really worth the mental break, even for a few days.

I will definitely be doing this again.