This week’s edition of ‘world of inspiration‘ is brought to you by Liz Borod Wright who hails from New York. It is a delightful story about the amount of free time we have and using this time in an optimal manner to achieve a positive balance in our lives.
Traveling the World Ten Days a Year
On our last night in Santorini on our trip through Greece last July, my husband and I finally made it to the beautiful town of Oia to watch the sun sink into the horizon. While all of Santorini oozes romance, this activity is not particularly romantic because everyone crowds onto the far edge of the town, jockeying for the best sunset vantage point and relentlessly snapping pictures. My favorite was the couple who was having a full-blown photo shoot right next to us – he set up a tripod and she struck about 20 different model poses.
As soon as the sun dove into the ocean, applauses with oohs and aahs broke out. Then the masses dispersed into the winding alleyways of Oia. We decided to seek out the restaurant Red Bicycle, which is renowned for its creative take on Greek cuisine. By sheer luck, we found it easily and settled into a choice table on the terrace.
Shortly after we sat down, another couple was seated at the table next to us. As I’m prone to eavesdropping, I soon found myself listening to their conversation and enjoying their Australian accents. They were enthusiastically perusing the menu and planned to make a meal of the appetizers, which is something that always appeals to me because I like to sample as much as possible. When our first course arrived, they asked us what we were eating and from then on the four of us carried on a conversation as if we were all dining together – the tables were close enough, after all, that we practically were.
Five weeks of vacation! I couldn’t get over it.
I quickly learned that the couple was from Sydney. She was of Polish descent and he was of Greek descent. First they had spent two weeks in Poland and now they were spending two weeks in Greece. I don’t remember what the rest of their itinerary entailed, but I do remember that they were traveling for five weeks. Their jobs allowed them to take six weeks off per year, and they had opted to take five of them in a row, which was perfectly fine with their employers.
Five weeks of vacation! I couldn’t get over it. At the moment, I am self-employed so I am unrestrained by corporate vacation policies. But last summer I was working with the typical American arrangement that gives you 10 vacation days (two work weeks) off a year, not including major holidays. Over the past eight years, I have worked for a few different companies but all of them had the same policy.
I told the Australian couple how little vacation time Americans got. Although they had heard about that before, it never ceased to amaze them. They were especially floored when I told them that we were discouraged from taking it all at once. They only time I ever heard of anyone taking off two weeks was for their wedding/honeymoon. Our trip to Greece was 11 days, but only seven of those were work days thanks to the 4th of July holiday. And I felt guilty about all seven of them.
This couple had managed to travel all over the world and have great careers – they were living the dream. I felt very inspired by them. I think it was their unapologetic love of traveling and vacation that inspired me, as well as that they were able to find such balance in their lives. It was a very eye-opening experience to realize that while Americans usually had to limit their exploring to one-week or 10-day bites, other nationalities could really spend the time to get to know a place. My new Australian friends, it seemed, were really citizens of the world. While I could never hope to emulate their travel patterns, I felt that I was right in my quest to squeeze in as many trips as I possibly could.
About this week’s guest writer
Liz Borod Wright is a former staffer at Zagat.com, ABCNews.com and Fortune.com who recently turned her attention to her biggest passion: travel. Her travel blog Travelogged chronicles not only Liz’s own adventures but reports on other people’s travels too. That way this lifelong New Yorker can cover as many destinations as possible.
Read more about Liz’s travel stories on Travelogged.
Follow Liz on Twitter.
Read other ‘World of Inspiration’ articles:
- An Inspiring Safari Field Guide
- A Familiar Face in a Foreign Land
- The Cellist & the Historian
- His First Flight
- The Man Behind the Miracle