Americans work more than anyone else in the industrialized world. According to ABC News, we work more than the English, French or Norwegians. We work way more than the Germans. And since the mid-90s, Americans work more than the Japanese. Reuters news agency confirms that Americans work more days and longer days, take less vacation time and retire later than any other nation.
Perhaps that is why when Americans do take a vacation, they treasure it. A survey taken by Orbitz, the online travel agency, revealed that 77 percent of Americans plan on taking a vacation this summer, with nearly half of those planning a beach destination filled with sand, sun and seashores. Forty-five percent will be traveling with the entire family, while another 33 percent will get away with just their significant other. The average family of four will spend $4,000, including travel expenses, for their getaway.
What are the things that we love about vacations — and is there some way that we can bring that back home with us? Over the next three weeks, we will visit three beaches that may give us some insights into why vacations are so appealing. Hopefully, we will also find some strategies for improving our times when we are not on vacation.
Journey with me to the southern stretch of the state of Georgia, to the renowned Golden Isles on its southern Atlantic coast. About 18 square miles in size, St. Simons Island is the largest of the handful of Isles. Originally developed by English colonists for rice and cotton plantations, her streets are lined with stately houses and willowing moss that adorns the arms of the live oak trees. Much of the island remains marsh or wooded areas. As of the last census, just more than 13,000 people call St. Simons home.
Wander toward the old village at the south end of the island, to the famed fishing pier. Shaded picnic areas, locally owned restaurants and shops, and quiet welcoming streets whisper the first quality of this vacation gem. Peaceful. Our boisterously loud lifestyles are not set aside at the Isle; they melt away, evaporating completely like the morning mist doomed by the Southern sunlight. The Island reminds us that we long for peace in life — from the demands of business and jobs, from the stresses and trials of relationships, from the chaos caused by unseen circumstances and from the spiritual uncertainties of tomorrow.