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The Two-Week Vacation

When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop. Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign in solitude.

– William Wordsworth

In my working career, I have taken many types of vacations. They have ranged in duration from a rather luxurious 6 weeks to nothing at all. Experience has shown that a contiguous period of at least two weeks is the most valuable. This is for me the minimum time period required to restore a state of optimum mental and physical health.


Typically I will spend the entire first week of a vacation decommissioning all the habits of mind that come from incessant mental focus on work. During this time I remain trapped in work’s worries, pressures, and routines. Only as I enter the second full week am I able to finally slow down enough to start enjoying the simple pleasures that vacation offers. My schedule and my thoughts will reduce. The tasks that need to be accomplished in a day might be no more than a conversation with my kids, blueberry picking, or catching a fish for dinner.

Once this new routine fully sets in, the restorative possibilities of a vacation truly begin. In an ideal world, this state of simple living could be extended for as many as a few weeks, but even one has great value.

So this year, starting today, I will be taking a two-week vacation. The office and all its responsibilities have been handed over to other capable hands, and I am on my way to this c. 1921 log cabin on a remote island in northwestern Ontario, a place I have known since my earliest youth.

For the next two weeks, I will be utterly unencumbered by the conveniences of any kind of electronic communication, any electricity at all in fact. I will have only the wind, the rain, and the call of the loon.

See you in two weeks.

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