Saturday, March 16, 2013

What American Vacation?

Americans do not take vacations anymore. Not really. Paid vacation days are down from even 2011. Fourteen days was the average then and now we are down to twelve days. But here is the kicker. Most Americans didn't even take them all. Ten days. That's the average. The Europeans bust out at twenty five days of vacation and take every one of them. It gets worse. If we do take them we don't even go away for a week. Three days. We take a whopping three days then it's back to work. So I go back to my original question...what American vacation?

It used to be our right. We deserved a vacation for busting our collective hump all year. And that vacation was a glorious two weeks or more. But somewhere that all was lost and vacations became something to be looked down upon. I know a man who ends up with two weeks at the end of each year of vacation days and then he stays home because he has to take them or lose them. What does he do with his two glorious weeks? He said he does projects around the house. Fuuuuun!

When I was growing up we always went to beach for at least two weeks and usually three. My dad worked for a corporation and was a manager and so he had good perks. We would go to North Carolina and hang out in a cottage for our two, then three, then (are you ready for it) five weeks of vacation. And this wasn't odd. Everyone went on at least two week vacations. Many on three weeks. And here is the kicker. My dad would drive down to some salty weather beaten store after the first week and half and use the phone.  He was on the phone for about ten minutes and then that was it. That was staying connected!

Now we can't be disconnected for a day. That's really what killed the American vacation. Us. Sure the companies are stingy but we bought into that we have to stay connected or the world will fall in. The sad thing is those family vacations are what I remember most about my childhood. Everyone was relaxed and while I was bored (what kid isn't) I still loved being at the beach and reading and going out to dinner and just being with the family. Who wouldn't right?

Compare that to my vacation in the North Woods where I tramped through the woods in the middle of the night to get a Wifi signal for my Iphone. Pathetic. But I have bought in too and while we used to always go on a two week vacation now if we can squeeze in a week then it is a victory. Such is the state of the American Dream.

Or at least the American Vacation.

Rocket Man...the American dream turned upside down
 

Books by William Hazelgrove