Working Vacation? Get Your Vacation Back!

Image courtesy of worradmu /

Vacation! A great word. One I associate with relaxing, sunshine, the perfect book, enjoying a cocktail at the beach, nice sceneries and quietness. For several months I have been looking forward to my yearly break. Some nice and quiet time off. The perfect recipe to refresh and recharge my batteries. Ready to conquer the world when I come back. Fully recharged.

When being on vacation was really a vacation.

Things have changed over the past few years though. Not so long ago, being on holidays was being on holidays. Away. If not far away. Nobody able to reach us. No call back home if there wasn’t a payphone around the corner. And if there was, it was used just to let them know we arrived safely. That one phone call satisfied everyone. Nobody even thought of bothering us with the daily bits and pieces. After all we were on our holidays! This resulting in being completely disconnected with the daily affairs. Being on holidays meant fully enjoying the temporary reality. Making pictures for the holiday album. Sending postcards. And that’s about it.


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July 2014. Suitcases are ready to be packed. A holiday destination has been chosen very carefully ticking all our desires. We are so looking forward to relax. Recharge those batteries, remember? And what to pack other than our bathing suit and sunglasses? Exactly! Our mobile phone, laptop, agenda, study books and some stuff from work. Because “you never know” and “finally we have some time to catch up”. Recognize it? Are you one of those tempted? Or do you feel like it is your only option to survive?

Summer 2014. No more postcards, but posting pictures on Facebook. Tweeting. Checking LinkedIn. Taking the daily affairs with you. Finalizing presentations. Business mobile at hand. And how about email? Maybe just one conference call?

So what happens to the relaxation and winding down? Can you enjoy the scenery when continuously connected with home or work? Or are you one of those peacefully and productively working on the beach while sipping a cocktail?

Once I was forced to do so, and to be honest it did not go down well. The daily affairs (main reason I needed a break) just continued. My phone did not stop ringing. Everyone knew I could be reached. With a nice suntan I arrived back home, but relaxed and recharged? No way!

Taking back your vacation time

Following this experience I made myself a promise. From now on, I celebrate my holidays old school style! Unreachable, no work, no daily affairs and nothing more than the absolutely necessary in my suitcase.

OK. I must confess. My mobile. Just in case ;-)



Karen van Hout is the founder and owner of OF WOOD. Offering Coaching, Counselling & Training. Individual and organisational (Private and Healthcare sector). OF WOOD started in 2011 as a Luxembourg company and is now located in Woerden, the Netherlands. Karen has had service-oriented, therapeutic, coaching and leadership roles in both Healthcare and Finance. As a systemic coach/counselor, she doesn’t simply look at you as an individual, but as an individual in the system in which you find yourself (or your organization). For more information, visit or email [email protected] This post appeared as a guest-blog on


Image courtesy of worradmu /

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