Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Apple #185: Vacations

  • Vacations were established in the United States in the late 19th century.
  • Lots of people used vacations, even then, to accomplish things they couldn't otherwise during their regular work days, such as attending religious lectures, taking classes in how to be a teacher, embarking on rigorous programs of exercise, and so on. They saw idleness as a danger to be avoided.
  • Resorts, which had long been used as places to go for "cures" for various ailments ranging from tuberculosis to a vague malaise, now became places to go for self-improvement.
  • However, people realized that visitors to the resorts could adopt alternate personalities. Someone claiming to be a wealthy socialite might actually be a poser or worse, a con artist. Someone claiming to be a renowned artist might actually be a stuffy businessman. And so on. So those resorts became suspect, in some cases.
  • At that time, white collar people got paid vacations, about a week to two weeks. Blue collar workers didn't get paid vacations. They did have time away from work, but it was called "unemployment."
  • Blue collar workers didn't start to get paid vacations until the 1920's and 1930's.
  • In Europe, employees are given four to six weeks' worth of paid vacations each year. These longer paid vacations are considered a right of employment.
  • One scientist who researched what people do on vacations found that people generally watch less TV, they exercise more, they talk to other people more, and they learn more.

See you in a week!

(Photo from Villa Rental & Marketing in Bali)

American Public Media interview with Cindy Sondik Aron, discussing her book, Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States. Interview available on RealPlayer
Summary of radio piece called Vacation, produced by the Infinite Mind public radio show, broadcast the week of June 29, 2005

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