The Hidden Cost of a Vacation

Just got back from three days of bass fishing with two great friends.  One day’s travel on each end made it a five-day, mini-vacation.  Sounds harmless, right?  Wrong!  Nothing wrong with the activity—we fished mornings and evenings, with a midday nap to recharge our batteries—and surely no fault with the friends (one came in from Denver for the festivities).  We even managed to corral a few fish.  So what’s the problem? you ask.  Permit me to explain.

We all need vacations, whether they be just to rest our bodies and souls, to pursue a hobby, or to visit places we’ve never been to before.  We get that.  But there’s a hidden cost: time. The time we spend on a vacation can never be regained.  We speak of “saving up time” for a vacation, but that’s a fallacy; it’s more like “stealing” time.  In my case, since I am self-employed, every sojourn amounts to grand larceny.  Just three days before I was to leave on this most recent trip, I contracted to publish a novel by a former New York City narcotics detective. But, I couldn’t not go.  The vacation had been planned many months ago. And that’s typical of most vacations.  Try as we might, they always come at the most inopportune time. I assured the author I would read his manuscript while I was away—it would be a kind of working vacation.  (Well, you can imagine just how far I got with that one.)  So now, I find myself facing a self-imposed deadline—with five less days to accomplish the task.  I don’t have a “time bank” from which to make a withdrawal.  If I did, it would have a negative balance.  

When I worked in retail as the manager of the fishing department in a large outdoor store, I dreaded taking vacations. The work load upon returning was so overwhelming that I needed a second vacation just to recover from all the extra work brought about by the first.  As a writer and publisher, the unseen burden can be just as imposing.  So how do we solve such a dilemma?  Answer: We don’t—at least not completely.  It’s one of life’s conundrums that has no easy solution.  Oh sure, we can work longer days in preparation for the hiatus, and we can be better organized; doing those things can help ease the discomfort upon our return. But time is finite (especially when you’re on the wrong end of it), and we’re imperfect beings at our best.  

So, we’ll continue to make grandiose plans for our annual getaways.  We’ll put in the extra couple of hours each day for a month leading up our vacation, deluding ourselves into thinking that “this time, things’ll be different.”  But they won’t.  We’ll still have to pay that hidden tariff, the unseen cost that accompanies every vacation: loss of time.

Hey, I know!  How about a time share?  (Did I really say that? Oh, my, I’m shameless!)  I need another vacation.  Where did I put my fly rod?

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at:
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10 Responses to The Hidden Cost of a Vacation

  1. balroop2013 says:

    Joe, I would say just bask in the glory of those wonderful moments, which were entirely yours…we do need them even if the hidden costs keep peeping at us! Who cares for those fun spoilers! I am reminded of those lovely, inspiring lines of W.H. Davies…”what is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Allie P. says:

    Even if the time is stolen, a good vacation is surely worth the crime.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fisherbob says:

    You failed to mention that you caught the Fish Of The Trip- a fine 4 pound brawler of a largemouth bass. When time forces one to do more in a compressed timeframe, occasionally we are rewarded with an untarnishable memory.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw shucks, ‘twarn’t nothin’ you don’t do on a right regular basis, my friend. Thanks for your terrific hospitality. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m “Goin’ in!” (Private joke)


  4. Good perspective, Joe.


  5. Dave says:

    Boy, howdy, is this right on! Barbara and I are trying to plan a vacation this fall, and after several days of discussing alternatives, we are NO WHERE. You forgot that part of the vacation conundrum.

    Liked by 1 person

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