I just got back from a long vacation. I was traveling out of the country with a group from all over the world. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. But it was one of the first statements one of my fellow travelers made that sticks with me… and I’m writing about today.
When she learned that I was from the US, her comment was, “Wow, you people don’t usually take time to travel.” Granted, compared to Europe, where my friend calls home, our 1 week vacations placed here or there throughout the year probably doesn’t sound any fun compared with the 3- 4 weeks she takes every summer plus other travel.
But then I heard that similar comment other times. And I wondered… don’t we? Or better, why don’t we get away more often?
I have set up a tradition of closing the business in January every year. Last year, I took a week to get away and this year I was gone 3 weeks. Next year, I’ll be gone all month. Really… do you think it’s wise to close a business for a whole month?
Well, our business has a great selling season for the holidays. After Dec 24th, we see that people are done shopping for a bit. Staying home, regrouping, paying bills might be a more common priority in January that shopping for art and fashion. But that’s not the real reason we close. I’m beginning to see it as a survival tactic. When you run a small business, you are the staff. And creating goods and staffing a store for long hours leaves me feeling pretty empty by the end of the year.
So I go away for me. I close the business that sustains me and run away from home. That’s not quite a “nose to the grindstone” sort of mentality that a good entrepreneur is supposed to have and that’s precisely why I do it. We as humans need down time, fun time, change-of-pace time. We need to play and relax and explore and laugh. We (or at least some of us who dwell in the north) need the sun, the ocean… we need to feel heat in our bones.
How can I afford it? Well, travel can be conducted in many styles and if you plan ahead, travel light, consider public transportation and one or two star hotels… travel can be much more affordable than you might expect. Airbnb or Vacation Rentals by Owner have some great values in housing. Eating at local restaurants is affordable and gives you the real flavor of countries you might be visiting.
Plus, getting away gives me a calm feeling that might have taken many visits to the therapist if I had continued working. Taking time off is good for our mental and physical health… and that can be priceless.
So can I afford to take time for me? How can I afford not to. The money spent on travel experiences will live in my memory forever. I could have spent the money on a new sofa or a bigger tv… but I’d rather run away from home. And just thinking about my recent trip makes me smile… and encourages me to get busy planning my next trip.
Travel, see the world, and give yourself a break today.