The holiday season is upon us and for many it is a time of acute stress and busy-ness. Honouring our professional commitments and personal obligations becomes almost a full-time job at this time of the year trying to relax.
Many look forward to taking a vacation to get away from it all. But sometimes the process and planning to get away is equally tiring. This might involve extensive periods in traffic, never-ending queues in airports, followed by often delayed long haul flights. Only then to jostle with the crowds for a patch of sand on a beach and warm cocktail.
One candidate told me he was so exhausted last year “trying to get to the Maldives” that this year he has decided to stay put on a “staycation.”
As quite often happens, over the following weeks I heard the same word “stay-cation” repeated. I had never come across it before. It involves apparently simply staying in or around your home and chilling and relaxing. But staycationers complain that when they talk to alpha vacationers, that they have to be almost apologetic when they mention their “staycation” plans. Extreme vacationers it would seem are not happy unless they are abseiling off cliffs, skiing off-piste in places the more remote and far-flung the better, spiced up by a dose of horrendous adverse weather for good measure.
We seem to have created a vacation hierarchy, and “staycationing” it would seem is definitely not near the top.
One job seeker has given herself permission to take time off from her job search other than tracking some key emails and some light seasonal networking. A keen outdoor pursuits and nature lover is she heading for an exotic destination? “No” she told me in an almost guilty whisper ” I am just staying home“.
Shortly after, my own daughter, an intrepid international traveller herself, told me how she is looking forward to her own “staycation.” She lives in Dubai so there are worse places to chill.
I have also subsequently read pieces about “planning your staycation” to make them more effective. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing surely? The origin of the word is 14th century “freedom from obligations, leisure and release.”
There is nothing in there about location or the nature of the activity. Perhaps this is just me, or do we also need to be released from the obligation of planning?
What do you think? Are you a vacation snob?