What Is the Difference Between “Vacation” and “Life”?



My experience of being in this part of Spain (in the countryside near Valencia) is different having Dennis here with us.  Mostly in the past, I came here with just the kids, to visit my boyfriend.  Though I enjoyed it immensely, I always knew that it was just vacation, that I would eventually have to go back to my life in Sarasota, because that is where my “life” and Dennis (the kids’ dad) lived.

But this time, I am here with my immediate family.  (People think Dennis and I are strange for taking family vacations together even though we are divorced.  We think it is strange not to.)  We are enjoying ourselves so much we are considering the very real possibility of spending part of the year here.  We have the intention of “world-schooling” our kids and most of our business can be done online, just 6 hours ahead of our usual schedule.  (Which, by the way, permits me luxurious time in the morning to do yoga by the pool, cook for my family and even take a nap before my clients and business associates crawl out of bed.)

Am I enjoying this? YES!! But it is more than that.  It has me wonder why I even had the thought – the intention – to TRY to enjoy life, just the way that it is and just the way it isn’t.  Here, I don’t even feel like I am trying.  I just am.

Granted, Molly and some of you nay-sayers , are thinking, “Yeah, but you are on vacation!”  That’s true….sort of.  But I seem to be attending to all of my responsibilities; caring for and feeding my family, exercising, doing laundry and working.  So, what is the difference?

I don’t have the school schedule, but I still keep a work schedule.  Instead of Trader Joes, I go to Consum.  (Where, incidentally I just bought 3 organic cucumbers for 42 cents!)  I got my bills paid online.  I still am managing Raffa’s allergies and Marcella’s broken arm.

The lines between “life” and “vacation” are blurred.

I am now wondering…..what is it (besides obviously Molly who remarkably doesn’t speak Spanish) that keeps us in a less peaceful and relaxed state when we are “home”?

What is this thing we call vacation?  Vacating our normal life?  As parents we don’t get a “vacation”.  We don’t get a “vacation” from being a law-abiding citizen, unless of course we are willing to accept a long-term, all expenses paid vacation, with orange jump suits at no additional cost.

If we start exploring what “vacation” is, we are forced into look at its opposite….”our life.”

Why is it that we have to take a “vacation” from our life?  Is it that crappy? Is it just location? Is it because we are so attached to our “stuff”?

What would it be like if we lived our lives as if there was no need to take a “vacation”?

What if the whole idea was to love your life, do meaningful work and play with your kids?  What if and you weren’t bound by location? What if getting a break was irrelevant because we weren’t trying to get away from a life that we hate?  (Ok hate is a strong word……how about a life you don’t LOVE?)

I don’t have the answer…I am grappling with this.  Logically it makes sense….but Molly isn’t so sure.

Please comment below. Give me your perspective.

Tell me why you need to take a “vacation” from your life; what is it in your life that you need to get away from?  And then….why do we keep those things in place anyway?

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  1. says

    Wow. Great post Cherie. My short answer to your question is “fear”. Said another way, what makes me want to take a vacation from my life is fear. Not the kind of fear like someone is mugging me on a dark street with a knife, but that kind of fear that’s so hard to even see or notice is present. Sometimes it’s just an useasy feeling or a quick negative thought, but enough to confirm the idea that something is wrong in my life. That my life should look different. Don’t we all take vacations to take a break from our life? Otherwise life in general would just be a vacation all the time. And Cherie, I believe what you are pointing at is that out lives CAN be a vacation all the time. It’s all context I suppose. We can choose to live in a context that everything is perfect exactly the way it is. Everything. That nothing is wrong, and there is no person lurking around the corner with a knife.
    So, we could be on vacation every moment of every day of our lives. Then I suppose, it’s just a matter of where we want to live!? Spain sounds lovely!
    Love this post- thanks for letting me share

    • says

      Thanks for the great insight Chris! I realize that sometimes the mugger lurking in the dark is my iPhone. The fear that I am missing something important if I don’t check it all of the time. The fear that I am supposed to be doing something else, something “productive”. Even here, I constantly have to battle with Molly, because in my heart of hearts I know being in the moment, coming from love and experiencing life is the real journey. When I do that, the “productive” things come to me and I am inspired to do them. You are an inspiration!

  2. Amber says

    Great question! Maybe we need vacations for a change of scenery, to put our everyday lives into perspective and appreciate them more. It always feels nice to come home, you know? But I do like the idea of bringing the vacation mentality into everyday life…see it through new lenses, become more aware of everything, really look at the tree in front of the house we see every single day but never really acknowledge, etc…

    • says

      I agree Amber. I think in our normal lives we get complacent and don’t notice things that the tree blooming in our front yard. Getting away allows a “shake-up” for our brains and allows us to see different things.

  3. Cara Levitt says

    This reminds me of the “infantile will to power” I think even if you love your life, and love your work, it’s not loved all the time. Nothing can be great all the time just like sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. Eventually you get sick of it and start to take it for granted. You need a break, a vacation. A chance to miss what you love or get reflective distance. It’s like how I love to paint, I and think I want to do it 24/7, but really I don’t, I get sick of it. If I take a break from it, when I go back to it, I see it with new perspective. It occurs to me differently and I’m motivated and fall in love with it all over again. Maybe you loved your life in FL, but when you got to spain, you discovered new water to swim in and maybe it better….so stay awhile and find out…when you get sick of it, take a vacation to FL:)

    Those are my thoughts 🙂 xoxoxo
    more pics please!

    • says

      You are right Cara. The “infantile will to power” of our incessant minds has us take things for granted. Vacations and a change of scenery can help snap us out of it. Maybe that is what we should all do….create our own mental “shake-ups” to enjoy the lives that we live all of the time. Hmmm….how to do that? I have found here that because of the time difference, I allow myself the mornings, when you all are asleep to just be and experience and relax. Then I “plug” into my work life in the afternoon. I can see that is definitely something I could do at home, but don’t always do. 🙂

  4. Michele says

    hahaha, hilarious Molly doesn’t speak Spanish ~
    yes, agree with not having to escape an unhappy life for a just a few days a year. but a do see value in having some downtown where there is no work, school, typical routine so there is space to later evaluate how things are working.
    my latest mantra has been #livinglifeonvacation
    xo, M-

    • says

      I am serious about Molly not speaking Spanish! I do have another voice. I call her Rosario. But she got created when I lived here later in life and doesn’t have the same defense mechanisms that Molly has. She is freer and more open, less defensive and masculine. Dennis says he likes me better here. He says I am more relaxed and more fun. It is fascinating to see how the conversations we have in our heads colors the lens through which we view life.

  5. Amy says

    For me, a vacation is a respite from work and my daily life-not necessarily an escape. My business, unlike what you are up to currently, can’t be done (effectively over time) from Spain, Tampa, the beach, etc.

    Vacation offers me the opportunity to not have to be available to my clients, to not have to get showered, dressed, etc for the day ahead. My business days are purposely crafted to grow and expand my business. My vacation is about not being purposely crafted, but for simply being. My daily life has seconds for opportunities like this, but it’s not the same kind of freedom that exists when on vacation.

    That’s what I got. Wish I was there with you now eating paella and drinking wine. Love to you all. Xoxo

    • says

      It was fun when you were here with us Amy! What you point to is interesting. Depending on the “intention” we have….expanding our business or relaxing has everything to do with our experience. Like you said, you craft your business days to work and craft (on purposefully or not) our vacations to simply be. I am working to figure out how to do both of those at the same time. Like I said to Cara…what if we are able to mix both in the course of a day? For me, I think that would be much more restful and create more balance.

  6. Deb says

    Who is Molly? Am I missing something?

    Having just gotten back from a vacation to Sarasota – I can promise you it is nothing like my life. And I LOVE my life. I love my job but I can’t do it from Spain. I LOVE my kids but a break with my hubby is magical. I LOVE St. Louis but I wouldn’t give up our trips to Sarasota. I adore my family and my friends and all the gifts I’ve received but I still need vacation. Vacation isn’t MY life. They are two different things. Both equally wonderful
    In Unique ways. Vacation is not an escape from your life, it is an opportunity to enhance it.

    • says

      I really love that Debbie! An opportunity to enhance it!

      Molly is what I call the voice in my head…..she is mean and vicious and someone I would not be friends with haha!

      Glad you had a good time in Sarasota!

  7. Mary Anne says

    Love the question; I think the answer comes in how we live the answer. Recently I’ve learned through my Young Living Essential Oils classes that everything has a frequency–a rock , a flower, a happy person, a sick person, etc. For instance Normal person at 66 MHZ, depressed person around 55 MHZ. Lots of things can effect your frequency, either upwards or Downwards.
    Quite simply, for most people, choosing a life and lifestyle that raises your frequency is much easier when on vacation. There are fewer negative people, more opportunities to meditate and have exciting adventures, etc. So, go for the gusto of life like Cherie does and there really won’t be any difference between vacation and reality. Know that all of our life is a journey of love; just engage and enjoy!

    • says

      Wow Mary Anne, I really love that. I have always had the feeling of experiencing living life at a different frequency here. Maybe it isn’t just the thoughts of a crazy lady! My intention is to practice living from a higher frequency, and carrying it with me wherever I go.

  8. Lucy says

    It is fundamental, our right to pursue happiness. Even our founding fathers recognized this desire inherent in all of us… I have moments of bliss throughout the day, some moments longer than others – but all day? just not there yet – but in hot pursuit!

    • says

      Lucy, I think you know I have a theory about that…..as Americans we are always in the persistent pursuit of happiness, but we never actually get there!!! (Because I know you and I can “hear” the irony/sarcasm in your words, but what you say is important. What if we intended as many moments as bliss as we do closing deals or making money?

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