Time off makes us happy. So why aren’t people taking it?


I’m a steadfast believer in the power of travel.

Taking a plane ride away from your comfort zone, waking up in a strange place surrounded by sights you’ve never seen, food you’ve never eaten, people you’ve never met — staring up at a new sky — it’s fairy dust. It’s magic. And it’s unquestionably transformative.

Right along with the importance of travel is the importance of taking time off. A workaholic culture kills (literally). We weren’t put on this gorgeous earth, its 197 million square miles teeming with possibilities, to spend 40 years trapped in a windowless office. We just weren’t.

Statistically, most people agree with me (at least about the time off part). According to a new study (part of the USTA’s Travel Effect initiative), 96% of American workers polled said taking paid time off (PTO) is important.

Yet four out of ten don’t. Four out of ten Americans are leaving PTO days unused. They’re pouring precious vacation days into the garbage disposal with banana peels and coffee grounds.

“Work martyrs”, they’re being called.

Time off (and travel) are an immensely positive part of the human experience. Essentially, time off makes us happy. According to the study, jobs that encourage PTO equate with happier employees. And employees who say it’s easy to take PTO are happier in general — with their mood, their relationships, their job, their finances.

That’s pretty significant, wouldn’t you say?

The bottom line is this: don’t sell your soul for a paycheck. Don’t spend your life glued to a computer. Don’t let fear keep you from living. Travel, explore, embrace adventure. Live your best life — seize your moments. Then come back to work and regale co-workers with stories of your epic feats and unforgettable treks.

Work to live, not the other way around. Your happiness might depend on it. <3

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