How to Vacation and Why People Suck at it

Alternative title option: How to try to vacation and why most people generally suck at it. But, I once read something about how concise titles draw more attention.

Briefly I considered the 1,000+ emails that were surely awaiting me upon return from my beach vacation. So I drowned out the thought with ice cream sandwiches and the like.

Blue Bell Pecan Pralines and Cream

Circa 2020, when I took a similar beach vacation, I fielded no less than 4 phone calls and did some “telework”. I’d like to think it was because my job really needed me, but it was probably more like I didn’t set any boundaries. Lesson learned.

This year I ensured work was where I left it, approximately 12 hours away. With the instructions: don’t call me, I’ll call you. And I never called. If my coworker can go away for 2 weeks and leave incompetent me to hold down the fort, then she definitely doesn’t need me to help her. As my sister chatted away on another work call, I rolled my eyes and packed for another day oceanside.

Shell shocked

(I’m only sort of sorry these posts sometimes seem out of order because I jump around a lot.) I write like I talk – with many ideas swirling around at once. You should see what I deal with at work. Geez.

Anyway…people suck. I mean…suck at vacationing, getting away, unplugging, being around people. I love to fly. Because airplane mode is expected. Turning my phone off was my favorite part of being out to sea. And the battery lasts forever when only used as an alarm clock! Occasionally we’d get computer access to check email but optimal hours were midnight to 2am so choices had to be made. Sleep / no sleep.

Focus, Kel. How many cups of coffee have I had today? I can’t remember. Must be the lack of blood in my sugar stream. We found the cutest coffee shop, Cafe Karma, on the island. Apparently they got the memo for a book nook meets ice cream shop meets coffee house. And the chai tea latte was amazing! Good thing my small, local town also has a great coffee shop. And they’re super inexpensive!

Smash House Coffee

Really, I don’t know “how” to vacation; I just wing it. Eat all the food, drink all the drinks, and avoid any work-related thoughts. It can be tough to step away, but we all need time and space to recharge.

Next time, I’m leaving my phone at home.


I ask you –

Do you think you know how to unplug?

On average, how much coffee do you drink daily?

Name one coffee shop requirement (not coffee)!

10 thoughts on “How to Vacation and Why People Suck at it

  1. I completely agree with this post, which was suggested from another of your posts.

    My hubby (he’s from Spain) always tells me that many folks from the US do not know how to vacation. The European vacation mindset: I am on vacation from X to Y, and work can wait. The US vacation mindset: I am on vacation from X to Y, but I’ll still do some work from a different location. We do not follow the saying of never bring sand to the beach in reference to work. Also, I am vacation from X to Y, but I better do some work while vacationing because I’m going to have 4X the amount of work when I return.

    What I have tried do to on vacations is check email ONCE day and if something is important (i.e. someone is on fire) then I’ll respond. My problem is that once I open my laptop on vacation to answer 1 or 2 top emails, I’ll keep going. Kind of like I might as well do A, B, C, and D since I already have my computer open. When I was a scientist is was pretty easy not to fall into this trap . . . it’s kind of hard to run oncology experiments when you are not in a laboratory.

    Here are a couple of tricks that I hope to use for my upcoming trip.
    -Changing the passwords for my work email will make me physically log in on my computer or phone. This will make me less likely to constantly check email . . . especially on my phone.
    -Setting up filters to automatically sort all incoming emails so that they will go to a random folder instead of my inbox. That way if I happen to open my phone’s email app, I’ll actively have to go to the other folder to check email instead of seeing everything as soon as I open the app.
    -I hate to say this point, but I think that I’m going to be team I do not give a damn. I really need to use this time away from work, NYC, and the US to really focus on what I want going forward in my career.

    Ok, I’ll stop here because I pretty much wrote a blog entry as a comment. 😉


    1. This is excellent advice!!! I love the password change idea because it makes it harder to “just check my phone”.
      I hope you have zero desire or ability to work while on your upcoming vacation. You deserve to get away!


  2. I absolutely do not know how to unplug. It’s so hard to relax because often times I find myself trying to relax and getting anxious that I’m not relaxing. I can relate to what you said about writing how you talk. I too find myself all over the place. Great post!


  3. I’m not very good at unplugging either, but I am working at it. I am working at reading more, both physical books as wells as blogs, and feel victorious every time I read instead of play online solitaire or check email for the 400th time in a given day. Thanks for the food for thought.


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