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Bright blue sky and green cliffs above the ocean look like an inspiring vacation photo

vacation or holiday – which reflects the time?

My spouse and I went on a vacation recently. While we were away from home, I began to wonder if this word – vacation – really reflects time spent in these ways.

Vacation Time

Beyond a porch railing we see a bright, orange sunrise coming through clouds.

Time spent away from home and work is precious. Until we’re really retired from our jobs, it’s something that is rare in our lives. The bulk of our minutes, hours, and days are spent in work. Sometimes that work is our occupations and sometimes it’s “homework”. Before vacation, the to-do list often seems endless.

As we travelled in Maine and a few other states, I began to think of this time as sacred. Why did I keep thinking of it as time “off” of something? What was I vacating anyway? (Vacation basically means we’re leaving something/one/where rather than going somewhere.)

What Are We Vacating?

A waterfall seen through a circle of tree branches

If it’s sacred, I want to be moving towards something. During our vacation, my spouse and I are getting the best quality time we’ve had in months (maybe even years). The natural beauty we’re visiting is awe inspiring. This is a time of renewal and regeneration.

When I lived in Scotland, we used the British “holiday” to reflect these times. In those lands, we’d usually say we were “going on holiday”. I like the active nature of this word. It feels to me like moving towards something rather than vacating.

Sacred = Holiday

In the foreground: well worn grey rocks. Beyond these rocks is a harbor with many small boats. In the background: clouds hover, just barely covering the brightness of the sunshine.

Holiday seems like a much more meaningful and apropos word than vacation. This “time off” is truly a set of holy days. By holding these days (and now memories) in my heart, I reflect the preciousness of these moments.

I know that the word vacation will still be more meaningful to some. But for me, these times are truly a holiday.

4 thoughts on “vacation or holiday – which reflects the time?”

  1. Hi Stan, what part of Maine did you holiday in? I like the difference between those 2 words. I’m craving one as it’s been over 2 years since we’ve taken one for more than 2 days.

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