Lately all I can think about are vacations.
I think this is for a few reasons. The first being that I feel like everyone is going on vacations lately - WG1 is taking the week of 4th of July off to go to the Shore, one of my friends just got back from Miami, and another one of my friends is off to Disney World in a few days.
Second, I have my own very exciting vacations coming up. One is a trip in August to go visit my sister who is studying abroad in Spain. My family and I are going to meet her in Venice and then take a cruise to Croatia, Turkey, and Greece (don't let my calm facade surprise you - I can't stop thinking about this trip). AND in addition, WG1 has planned this fantabulous trip for us and all our college friends to go to Vegas at the end of September. Yes, color you jealous.
Third, and finally, one of my bff's just got engaged (eek! yay!) and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids (double eek! double yay!). And even though the wedding isn't going to be until next year, I still have started thinking about how I'll have to take a significant chunk of vacation time to be in the wedding since she's English and will be getting married in England...which translates to me taking like a week off for hen parties and dress fittings and tea parties (haha probably no tea parties, but it's just so English).
Which was the longest introduction ever to let you know that I would like to go live in Europe.
Yes, readers, I need to move there. Mainly, I would like to move there so I can have more vacation. Did you know that the average European gets 6 weeks paid vacation?
According to a commentary piece on ABC News's website, the average British worker gets 28 paid vacation days a year, Germans get 35, the French get 37, and Italians get a whopping 42 days to lay around in the sun (or just a few days off to do laundry if they feel like it).
In contrast, Americans get about 10 paid vacation days off a year and America doesn't have a set vacation policy for the country, unlike some European countries. (Which is most likely why last year at my first real job out of college in NYC, I got 5 paid vacation days, 1 sick day, and 1 floating holiday).
And I have to mention that those 10 paid vacation days are a starting norm for a full-time job. Part-time employees usually don't get any paid vacation at all. And even when people DO get full-time vacations, they can hardly find time to take them with conflicting schedules or they just take their computer/Blackberry with them so they can put in some "weisure" time.
According to the National Survey of the Changing Workface, US employees in 1997 were "working 3.5 more hours a week than they did 20 years earlier". Meaning, Americans work harder, do more overtime, bring more work home, and go on more business trips than ever, yet they still don't have enough time to get things done and still have to take work on vacation with them.
Juliet Schor makes a good point when she says, "American corporations seem downright ungracious about vacations when viewed in this light, or when we consider that they give their European employees the same month to six weeks that European companies do."
Which is so true! WG1 and I have one friend who works for a European company that is based in New York, and she gets the same amount of vacation that their European counterpart does. Why, oh, why can't we make this an American lifestyle change?
It makes sense! Europeans see the value in letting their employees take time to relax, unwind, and recover from working. We Americans like to burn out to the point where we are forced to take vacations - and Juliet Schor points out that even when we are on vacation we use the opportunity of vacation to "consume more" by staying at expensive hotels, spending absurd amounts of money, or going on adventurous treks to exotic locations because we only get one vacation a year so we may as well go big or go home!
In conclusion, I'm moving to England where they work just as hard as Americans but get vacation like Europeans. Sounds like a perfect solution to moi!