Justifying frequent, fun vacations

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 23-29, 1997
Hiking the trails in Kauai
Road tripping through Mexico
Exploring Alaska's Glacier Bay
Solo traveling in Patagonia
Justifying frequent, fun vacations

Justifying frequent, fun vacations
Question: Why do people go on vacation? I'm doing a report on it so I've gotta ask. Thanks for your help.

Orlando, FL

Who couldn't use a few weeks on a sandy beach in the South Pacific?

Adventure Adviser: What a great subject. I hope you get an 'A.'

I couldn't resist your question because I, myself, am dying to go on vacation. Obviously, one of the essential reasons people go on vacation is to escape the stress and monotony of their everyday lives.

Vacation gives you a change of scenery and a chance to lighten your responsibility load, which I think you need to do once every few months if you want to live and work effectively in this increasingly hectic society.

Another really important reason to vacation is because it gives you something to look forward to. You can spend many hours pouring over travel itineraries and trip catalogues, dreaming of the one week or so you'll actually be on the adventure. Living vicariously through future plans, as long as you can still function in reality, is a really healthy way for people to stay positive about their lives.

People also go on vacation to do activities they can't necessarily do at home, like skiing, scuba diving, or mountain climbing. Unfortunately, all of us can't live in the Rockies, and even if we did, we'd have to travel to the beach to get our sun fix.

People also go on vacation to explore new worlds. As the world gets smaller and more and more McDonalds creep into places like Kathmandu, it may seem like every place is the same. But even American cities feel completely different from each other. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and sometimes feel like I'm south of the border. It's quite different from where I grew up in northern Minnesota.

Finally, I think people vacation to see friends and family. It's a great chance to reconnect with people who live far away. These days I spend most of my vacation time shuttling between one family member or another, especially if they happen to be in Hawaii!

Last but not least, vacations are fun, and if the world could use anything, it could use more FUN!

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