Having just returned from my first extended holiday since beginning this blog, I felt it was a good time to re-visit my earlier entry On holidays forever? One of the more notable aspects of the past couple of weeks is that they have represented much less of a change to my normal routine than they did when I was working full-time.
I went out of Wollongong—a weekend in Newcastle, followed by a week visiting family and friends in Brisbane, and finally another weekend in Byron Bay—and of course I didn’t go to my office in Sydney. I put all of my home projects aside and instead spent the time travelling and socialising. But I never felt the clear break between work and holiday that I usually experience; in fact I wasn’t even very sure when the holiday began. Was it the last day that I was on campus, or the day (afterwards) on which I was interviewed for more work, or when I reached Newcastle, or even when I attended the first of the Christmas parties several weeks before?
Missing that break may have diminished the experience just a little, and maybe the first beer upon reaching Newcastle didn’t taste quite as good as the one I’d usually have on the last day of work before an ordinary holiday. But it would seem rather perverse to grind away at something (unpleasant) just for the sake of enjoying a break from it. Reaching a milestone and putting the project aside for a while surely ought to be just as good (in this case I had completed the Zig Zag Incubator and a round of editing for each of my current writing projects).
Of course there’s more to enjoy about a holiday than merely taking a break from the usual: I caught up with friends and family who live in distant towns, I saw parts of Newcastle I hadn’t seen before, and I visited some old favourites in Byron Bay.
So I think the end of work (if it ever comes) is unlikely to be the end of holidays, except in the very old sense of a “holy day” on which no work needed to be done. There’s plenty of reason to travel, to attend events outside the usual, to put aside a project for a later time, or even just to do something else for a little while.