Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obscure Interests + Family Far Away + Wanderlust + Limited Vacation Time = Augh!

I don't get how people do this. As R. often mentions, I have a really great job: great benefits, great pay, relatively easy, 35-hour workweek (!), and a theoretically generous 4 weeks of vacation (!!), plus 2 personal days, plus 2 days comp time after our annual conference. Nonetheless, I can't seem to shoehorn all of the travel I *really really* want to do into that time.

I haven't taken what I would consider a real vacation since 2006. All of my travel since then has been for a purpose of one kind or another--conferences, visiting relatives, unschooling camp. I haven't been to a new country since 2005. This is really appalling. I almost dropped out of college to be able to travel more. I lived on peanut butter sandwiches in an apartment with no heat so that I could afford to travel to Egypt! Yet I still haven't managed to get my butt over to India, despite having wanted to go there for almost ten years.

I was supposed to go there last year. Then I found out about unschooling camp and did that instead. I was supposed to go there this year. But I'm committed to visiting my parents in Korea, which really needs to be a two-week trip just to get over the jet lag (the aforementioned Christmas present), and I also want to do unschooling camp again if they'll have me back.

What about next year? My parents should be back from Korea, but they'll likely still be a plane ride away, as will my brother and both my grandmothers. I'll still want to do unschooling camp. That leaves me with maybe two weeks for India. India is huge. All of the major cities and sites are ages away from each other. And who knows if I'll ever go there again? Two weeks is not enough.

Everything requires giving something else up.

Here's what I've got planned out for my vacation time this year:
literary conference in March, where I'm giving a paper
one vacation day in Hawaii after our annual conference
trip to Korea (two weeks)
family reunion in North Dakota (? hoping I can do this over a three-day weekend)
unschooling camp (one week)

Here's what I'm not doing that I would very much like to do:
a convention of fans of my favorite author, happens once every five years
another literary conference I went to last year (probably better than the one I'm going to, but I committed to giving the paper)
National Novel Writing Month in a cabin with a bunch of teenagers (a friend of mine runs this and offered me a position on staff, but I obviously can't)
trip to India
another session of unschooling camp

Each of the things on the second list is a sacrifice for me to not do. Each one relates to a major interest of mine that I have few outlets for. And I don't see any way I could possibly do them all while holding down a traditional job.


Anonymous said...

Solution: get a non-traditional job. Haha.

I don't think a lot of people do travel much, really. Some people are fortunate enough to have a job that lets them see fun places, but aside from that, I don't hear much about non-retired people going anywhere.

Scarlett said...

"Get a nontraditional job." Yeah, thanks. :) Working on that.

I don't really hear about it, either. Which I think is pretty sad.

I think it's the obscure interests that do it for me. I don't talk to people who are passionate about unschooling, kidlit, etc. on a daily basis and I kind of have to travel to do it.

Anonymous said...

Some non retired people DO travel alot. I only get three weeks vacation a year and I managed to make it to two exotic trips last year (Galapagos Islands and the Carribean - ok the last one isn't that exotic but it was relaxing!) Can you ask for a leave of absence? unpaid time off? can you fib a family emergency? (not the most ethical but you do what you can). If you're good at your job, have put in sufficient time, it might be worth asking. I have 4 weeks off this year and am going to push for a couple of extra days off so I can go to Russia.

My other advice is try to get a government job. they seem to have liberal vacation policy.