I quit my last full time job about 10 years ago. As I was about to take my last ever annual leave, I wrote out my contact details – a phone number I could be reached at and my personal email address – and gave them to my supervisor.
“What’s this for?” he asked.
“Just so you can get in touch in case you have any questions or any problems while I’m gone,” I replied.
Was I ahead of my time?
“This is your annual leave,” my boss replied, returning the piece of paper to me.
“I don’t need this. If any problems arise while you are gone, either we will deal with them while you’re gone or you can deal with them when you get back. Enjoy your trip.”
What a difference a decade makes.
According to a national survey conducted by British travel web site Inntravel, the art of holidaying, as the Brits refer to taking a vacation, has taken a turn for the worse. Brits are simply “unable to escape their daily routine while away”.
“Nearly a third of respondents admit to thinking about work and checking their work emails when on holiday, and a staggering 75% of them feel they need a holiday to recover from the holiday that they have just had,” the press release says.
“With the long winter and on-going recession, Britons should be eager to make the most of their time away. Yet this new research shows the nation has forgotten how to relax and how to succumb to the freedom that holidays offer.”
Impossible to Escape When Away
According to the report commissioned by Inntravel, while 63% of Brits believe that “getting away from their daily routine is the real highlight of a holiday, nearly one third (30%) find it impossible to truly ‘escape’ when away.”
It gets worse. Fully six out of 10 Brits actually leave home feeling stressed when they go on holiday!
As a travel writer, I don’t really take holidays.
When I travel either north of the border to China or overseas to other countries, I am, in fact, working, spending much of my time interviewing people, touring the facilities, doing research, or typing away on my laptop – albeit in very nice surroundings.
But I totally identify with that “leaving home stressed” sentiment.
I’ve come to think of it as PDSS or “Pre Departure Stress Syndrome”. I wrote about it, in fact, last November: Travelogue: Dealing with Pre-departure Stress Syndrome.
I can – and frequently DO – get extremely stressed out in the final days before leaving on a trip.
I worry if any of my cheques will bounce because there wasn’t enough money in my current account, if there will be a power outage and all the food in my refrigerator will spoil, if there will be a typhoon and I won’t be home to prepare for it.
And all of these things actually HAVE happened to me!
And then there is the stress of packing and unpacking (before, during, and after the trip).
Not to mention, will I wake up in time? Will the taxi driver that I call to take me to the airport actually show up? Will the flight be delayed – or canceled? Will I forget anything – my passport, my mobile phone, all of the attachments to my computer?
And then there are the lines … checking in … going through customs … passing through security … and arriving at my destination, and there is no one there to greet me.
Yes, that HAS happened MORE than once, and twice I had forgotten to write down the names of the hotels that I was supposed to be staying at – so I couldn’t just jump in a cab and go there!!!
And then, when all is over, when my wonderful adventure has ended, when I have returned home, when I open the door … there is that dreadful pile of mail that awaits my return …
Just as some of the respondents in that UK survey put it, when I return from a trip, I often feel as though I’m in need of a vacation!