Holidaying and purpose

post by KatjaGrace · 2021-06-06T19:30:12.433Z · LW · GW · 5 comments

I’m on holiday. A basic issue with holidays is that it feels more satisfying and meaningful to do purposeful things, but for a thing to actually serve a purpose, it often needs to pass a higher bar than a less purposeful thing does. In particular, you often have to finish a thing and do it well in order for it to achieve its purpose. And finishing things well is generally harder and less fun than starting them, and so in other ways contrary to holidaying.

This isn’t a perfect relationship though, so a natural way to mitigate the trade-off is to just look harder until you find things that serve a worthy purpose while being non-committal and consistently non-arduous. For instance, you can exercise or learn about history or practice guitar or write half-assed blog posts without real conclusions or narrative consistency.

There is also probably good holidaying to be done that doesn’t seem obviously purposeful, and maybe that is more in the spirit of holidaying. Perhaps one should avoid too much purpose, lest one end up not holidaying?

Today I travelled by rowing boat across a lake and back, with my boyfriend and some of his family.

Now we are going to the zoo.


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comment by Dustin · 2021-06-07T00:38:35.126Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I try to do a mix of different types of holidays.

I'd say roughly 50% of my holidays over the past 15 years have been very purposeful.  For example, I had an extremely planned-out educational trip to Italy where prior to leaving I did a lot of reading of history and while there went to museums and sites at pre-planned dates and times with specific goals of things to learn and see and do.

25% of my holidays have been very purposeless.  It's not very stylish to say so, but up until Covid Times I'd go on cruises.  I find them to be extremely relaxing and purposeless.  You can sit by the pool or in some quiet corner and read tons of books or people watch or think.  Basically anytime you are hungry you can get decent food without worrying about having money or anything (because you paid for it all as part of your cruise package).  If you're tired of reading, you can swim, or get off and tour a museum, or walk around a new city, etc.

The other 25% are a mix of both of those things.

I enjoy all these types of holidays, but I often find myself thinking I need a vacation after getting back from my very purposeful vacations!

Replies from: KatjaGrace
comment by KatjaGrace · 2021-06-08T19:01:40.243Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I too thought the one cruise I've been on was a pretty good type of holiday! A giant moving building full of nice things is so much more convenient a vehicle than the usual series of planes and cabs and subways and hauling bags along the road and stationary buildings etc.

Replies from: Dustin
comment by Dustin · 2021-06-08T19:30:01.562Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, exactly my thoughts.

For anyone considering a cruise, I will note that different cruise lines cater to people looking for different kinds of things.  Some are more aimed at people looking for non-stop partying, others at people looking for a more relaxed on-board atmosphere.

comment by mingyuan · 2021-06-07T00:17:52.191Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait we are IN THE SAME PLACE

comment by rockthecasbah · 2021-06-07T16:29:33.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love this.