A Thousand and One Posts…Going on Vacation!

Mali – Scott #879 (1997)

According to Wikipedia, a vacation is a leave of absence from a regular occupation, or a specific trip or journey, usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism. In the United Kingdom, the word vacation once specifically referred to the long summer break taken by the law courts and then later the term was applied to universities. The custom was introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it facilitated the grape harvest. In the past, many upper-class families moved to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual home vacant. Vacation, in English-speaking North America, describes recreational travel, such as a short pleasure trip, or a journey abroad. People in Commonwealth countries use the term holiday to describe absence from work as well as to describe a vacation or journey. Vacation can mean either staying home or going somewhere.

In some places, such as Canada, people often use vacation and holiday interchangeably referring to a trip away from home or time off work. Here in Thailand, as in Australia and the UK, holiday can refer to a vacation or a public holiday. We have a lot of the latter with the next major one taking place in mid-April for Thai New Year (known as Songkran). The Thai word for holiday is wan yut.

France – Scott #3812 (2004)

People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations. Vacations are often spent with friends or family. A person may take a longer break from work, such as a sabbatical, gap year, or career break.

The concept of taking a vacation is a recent invention, and has developed through the last two centuries. Historically, the idea of travel for recreation was a luxury that only wealthy people could afford. In the Puritan culture of early America, taking a break from work for reasons other than weekly observance of the Sabbath was frowned upon. However, the modern concept of vacation was led by a later religious movement encouraging spiritual retreat and recreation. The notion of breaking from work periodically took root among the middle and working class.

Gibraltar – Scott #960-963 (2004) first day cover
Russia – Scott #6838 (2004)

Recent developments in communication technology — internet, mobile, instant messaging, presence tracking, etc. — have begun to change the nature of vacation. Vacation today means absence from the workplace rather than temporary cession of work. It is now the norm in North America and the United Kingdom to carry on working or remain on call while on vacation rather than abandon work altogether. Office employees telecommute whilst on vacation. Workers may choose to unplug for a portion of a day and thus create the feeling of a “vacation” by simply separating themselves from the demands of constant digital communications. Antithetically, workers may take time out of the office to go on vacation, but remain plugged-in to work-related communications networks. While remaining plugged-in over vacation may generate short-term business benefits, the long-term psychological impacts of these developments are only beginning to be understood.

Moldova – Scott #468a (2002) I love the fact that, apparently, the two most popular vacations in Moldova constitute going on an archaeological dig or visiting a winery. My sister loves the latter and I studied physical anthropology at university, even participated on a couple of digs with the Kansas Archaeological Society.

For me, a vacation (or, holiday if you prefer) is simply a period of time during which I do not need to be at any specific location or do any specific task at any specific time. Under this definition, I have not had a break at all since a short trip to Cambodia in April 2013. Prior to that, my last vacation/holiday was 10 days or so spent in Laos during April 2010. My journey to Bangkok in November 2017 to pay respects to His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej was a partial vacation as I lingered at the Royal Crematorium for hours before returning to my hotel. I still published an ASAD article for each day I was on that trip.

Croatia – Scott #552 (2004) “Summer Vacation”

As of this evening, however, I have nearly four days before I need to be somewhere at a specific time. My lesson finishes at 7:00 p.m. tonight and my next one starts at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Since I am putting this blog on vacation as well (no entries needed until such time as I decide), I can be as lazy or as energetic as I want. For tomorrow, I pick the former and am currently thinking of taking a bus to the coast and spending the day at the beach. I have not even set foot on the sand in quite a few years, despite living about 45 minutes away from the Andaman Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) on one side and perhaps 15 minutes from Phang Nga Bay in the opposite direction). I live in a beautiful tropical setting and yet I very rarely see it except when traveling between work locations. My rare days off (one day per week usually) are spent at home getting caught up (on non-ASAD blogs, for instance, or much-needed cleaning). I will take advantage of this short vacation and will take at least one more later in the month for the Thai New Year.

Australia – Scott #3351-3355 (2010) “Short Holidays”

When I noticed today’s stamp a few months again, I knew I had to order a copy for a “going on vacation” blog. It expresses the feeling of freedom of starting a holiday much more than those stamps I have from the 2004 Europa omnibus, the theme of which was “Vacation”, a few of which illustrate this entry along with a couple of other depictions of holiday enjoyment. The souvenir sheet released by the Republic of Mali was issued on March 1, 1997, and is denominated at 1,500 Central African francs, printed by offset lithography, and comb-perforated 13¾. It depicts Donald Duck’s three sons — Huey, Dewey and Louie — running from their one-room school house while throwing their books in the air as their exasperated-appearing teacher looks on. I don’t know the name of the character portraying the teacher (is it just Goofy in a dress?). For somebody that once stated (either on this blog or another) that I didn’t care for Disney stamps, I certainly have featured a fair number of them!

Thank you and see you when I bring the blog back from vacation (it may be a while longer than my personal vacation, if you don’t mind).

Cayman Islands – Scott #854a (2002)

flag of Mali

Mali – Scott #879 (1997)

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