Whether actual or imagined, I have come to find a very real issue of travel guilt happening among females seeking girl getaways. Between societal pressures and – even moreso – our own self-imposed expectations, we women may experience a variety of guilt that ultimately influences us not to take that girls vacation we’ve been tossing around in our minds.
- Work Guilt
As an American living in Southern Europe, I’ve seen an incredible paradox. Friends would comment about the vacation month that I would get, followed by a playful grumble about how it must be nice to never work. In the beginning, I felt a twinge of guilt. It did seem excessive to close up shop that long. But then, I observed a few seasons, and I realized an important truth. Europeans truly “vacate”. They recuperate. They come back from a restful August pleasant and focused. They take every. Single. Day. And they don’t apologize. Sometimes with even the smallest budget, they come up with creative getaways to explore new places and be inspired. I too found that I needed it and came back recharged in all my roles again.
As for the States, one survey suggested that in 2015, 41% of them didn’t take a vacation day at all. Some “staycationed” (a.k.a. worked from home with occasional trips to the local club pool.) Americans took paid vacation in their hands then set it back on the table, saying, “Eh…no thanks. I prefer to work through this one.” But why? Is it that we live in a workaholic culture, a feeling of returning to piles of work? A notion that no one can do it but you, and the company will disintegrate in your absence? Or just that Janelle in the next cubicle has been killing it and you’re both vying for that major promotion, so you want to one-up her? The headline of this article alone hit me in my gut – Americans Waste Record Setting 658 Million Vacation days. What?! Come on ladies, it’s time to take them back.
2. The Significant Other Guilt
I’ve heard it time and time again.
“Oh, I hang with the girls, but I only travel internationally with my husband.”
“We do nights out, but I usually take trips with my boyfriend.”
All relationship dynamics are different, and some women prefer only to travel with their significant other. Cue Britney Spears beat – that’s your prerogative! The men and women that make up our “other half” are wonderful, extraordinary people. That’s why we picked them to walk next to us in life. And, chances are, we really really enjoy traveling with them as well – they’re a great time. However, some women would also like to take girls trips, but feel bad in doing so. A girlfriend getaway is a completely different feeling than traveling with our beloved, as is a solo trip an introspective journey in itself. So why do we feel sometimes that we can’t leave them behind for a few days? Is it a fear of having separate experiences, or that our significant other will feel rejected?
Some words I recently read by Oneika the Traveller resonated with me, “Nuturing other relationships is important…even when you’re married.” Balancing all the people we love and care for in our life can be a challenge when we’re so busy. Having independent experiences is healthy and allows us to miss our mates. Traveling with sisters and friends could even have a positive impact on your relationship. Win, win!
- Mama Guilt
I know so many ladies whose children are their world. They are the best mamas I know. But I’ve seen them at times hanging by a thread. Tired, burnt out…especially single mothers who don’t have the opportunity to share the parenting responsibilities at home. Parents need alone time and a little recuperation as well. It’s a full-time job with no breaks or bank holidays. We believe taking a weekend jaunt is the equivalent of a mind and soul power nap – it might be just what you need to come back and give your kids your very best.
- Me Guilt
We ladies can be awfully hard on ourselves. I shouldn’t spend the money. I shouldn’t go somewhere so extravagant. I need to focus. The best part of all is that a trip can renew us and makes us more focused, more creative, more ready to tackle the world, and better able to show up in our work, relationships and families as they need us. It’s about time you take that girls trip!