Our Vacations, Ourselves

Arthur C. Brooks has an op-ed in the Times examining various studies that look at our relationship with vacations and what they reveal about us. Some of the findings aren’t very surprising (introverts love mountains, and extroverts love the beach), some make you go “hmmmm” (many people derive more happiness from planning their vacations than actually going on them), and one finding makes you feel good about taking time off from work if you can:

Those who left between 11 and 15 days unused were 6.5 percent less likely to receive a raise or bonus than those who used all their vacation days. We don’t know if this is because the vacation-less employees were overstressed, or because incompetent employees who couldn’t get their work done skipped vacation. But this does indicate that vacation takers are not paying a career price.

In addition, Brooks, an American married to a Spaniard, points out that in Europe, people use “where are you going on vacation this year?” as an icebreaker rather than “so, what do you do?” — which I really love.

As for me, I enjoyed going to Italy this summer — traveling to various cities and organizing various excursions — but I think for my next trip, I’d like to do something quiet and leisurely where there’s no pressure to do anything but eat good food and take naps.