When Your Vacation Doesn’t Go As Planned


If there were any real justice, do you suppose you’d have the perfect weather during your vacation, and that it would go exactly like planned? After all, if you’re an effective, productive and loyal worker 48 months of the year, shouldn’t your 4 weeks vacation in exchange for that work be laden with all things right?

Well the last two weeks I was on vacation; it wasn’t the time of year I’d originally asked for but after my submission, we received a notice at work that made the time of year I wanted unavailable. So last week of June and first of July it was. Well this year the vacation was a car trip pulling a tent-trailer through Northern Ontario; camping on Manitoulin Island, Nipigon, Timmons, Cochrane, North Bay and home. For those outside Ontario Canada, north of Lake Superior and a circular route starting and ending in Lindsay, about 1.5 hours north-east of Toronto.

Now the weather was great; clear skies, sunny, and warm. However, it’s been a wet spring in Ontario, and wetness combined with the North, and late June equals mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like you’ve never seen or would believe this year. I’m 54 years old, and been camping my entire life. Never have I made a decision to cut a trip short and head home defeated by these pests – until 2013.

As we drove by day, the sights were outstanding and the scenery fantastic. Spotted 6 moose of which 5 were actually living. However campfires were out because it was continuous swatting motions the whole time, and a walk around a campground literally became an Olympic 100 metre dash. Sleeping during the night was painful as they got in from places unknown buzzed relentlessly. I played protector and would stay awake striking out in the night blindly in an effort to kill them before they bit the wife sleeping beside me.

So we came home a week early. Now I could have been annoyed and agitated and felt cheated and angry and wasted all that energy shaking my hands at the heavens and bemoaning my time off. Or conversely, I could take pleasure in the time left and enjoy the time around the house and the backyard gardens.

So my wife and I went to the Drive-in one night, harness racing another night, watched some old movies on t.v., read books in the sun, landscaped some more, weeded and tended to the gardens, barbecued on the patio, and got a glimpse of what retirement might be like if we are lucky in another 10 – 15 years! It was great; it really was.

The danger of vacations for some is that as employees, they put so much pressure on themselves to have that perfect vacation, that if and when things don’t go perfectly as planned, disappointment steps in and can ruin the time. Then the injustice of the situation is what gets remembered. How after all could you have the perfect weather without it being somewhat or entirely disappointing for someone else on vacation at the same time? A person on a beach might love the sun, the flat sea and lack of wind, but a windsurfer might lament the lack of wind and waves. White-water rafters might actually be hoping for heavy rains to swell the rivers, while anglers were hoping for cool overcast weather to draw out the big ones.

A vacation is time away from the workplace spent in the company of whomever you wish, and that may include much solitude if that’s what you are after. Someone else might be looking forward to the big family reunion or a trip to another country. Isn’t it really important to be able to look back at your time away from work and feel refreshed, re-energized and relaxed? Maybe for some but not everyone!

Vacations are really about time where you get to choose what you do, when you’ll do it, who you’ll do it with, and where you want to do it. The ‘it’ is up to each of us.

I’ve got another week coming up at the start of July; and it was to have been a week at home in the backyard. However as our two weeks now were supposed to be camping, we might just change our plans and camp again nearer to home. And if the weather doesn’t work out, the bugs don’t cooperate, some financial obligation arises etc., well we’ll adjust to that as we need to at the time.

May your time away from work be filled with happiness and enjoyment however you find it, doing the things you most love to do. Enjoy it for the time you have and treasure it. When you do return to work, hopefully those memories will sustain you and whet your appetite for more time off. The old work/personal life balance!

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