The Vacation Explanation: What Your Travel Choice Says About You

Your choice of vacation says a lot about you… and it’s not always good.

You’ve busted your hump at work for months (or, more likely, fooled around on Candy Crush as much as you could plausibly get away with) but that’s all done now. It’s finally time for a holiday!

But you have to be careful. In a world that marinates in social media, anyone’s vacation plans become fair game for comment. In fact, whatever you do – and ultimately choose to share – will probably be judged far more harshly than you’d ever guess. See for yourself.…

VACATION #1 – THE MISSIONARY

How you see it:

Determined to give back, you scheduled two weeks to help people in a third-world country. Long days of building homes and digging wells in the hot sun will be followed by hard nights in bug-infested huts on thin mats. Comfort and treats may be at a minimum, but the personal rewards for your soul are limitless.

How others see it:

Unfortunately, because you never fully grasped how much Facebook posting is too much, your “friends” have already had just about enough of your do-gooding. You’ve droned on and on for six months about how selfless and important this trip is and how much giving back should matter to them, too. That means any photos you post showing some trench you’ve dug or villagers you’ve helped will be received like fingernails on a chalkboard. Don’t be surprised if your snazzy BMW back home sees a few keys dragged along the side before you return.

VACATION #2 – THE REBEL

How you see it:

Ten straight days riding a Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide along classic Route 66. You’re heading to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota, wearing full leathers and wrap-around shades, and enjoying a lifetime experience you won’t soon forget.

How others see it:

Folks were already concerned with the constant quotes from “Sons of Anarchy,” not to mention the deep depression you fell into when the series ended. Add in the leather chaps you recently started wearing to work, and suddenly your rebel holiday looks less like some weird biker fantasy and more like a specific club initiation. Watch closely for friends wearing a “wire.”

VACATION #3 – THE HEDONIST

How you see it:

Deciding to visit a famous naturist preserve was a lifelong fascination you simply had to explore. Sure, you’ve been uncomfortable with your own nudity for years – even in the shower – but a chance to overcome such a thing is positive growth. What a tremendous opportunity to refresh and improve your emotional well-being at the same time.

How others see it:

Cheers to your personal growth, but you’d better skip the shoulder rubs you used to offer so generously around the office. Thanks to your, um… inspired choice of holiday, “desk massages” from you have now acquired a somewhat creepy connotation. Fair? Not by a long shot. BTW, you might want to cool it on pushing for an office volleyball team. Some things – even imagined – can’t ever be unimagined. Know what I mean?

VACATION #4 – THE JOCK

How you see it:

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to follow their favorite sports team for a whole two weeks? Great seats at super stadiums, pro jerseys, and tons of cheering – it’s an incredible chance to bond with fellow fans and share some of the realties experienced by professional athletes on the move.

How others see it:

While friends may finally understand why you insist on painting your face in team colors at every opportunity, you are providing insight into your aggressive attitude on days your team wins and the petty outbursts you utter when they don’t. Expect either an intervention or a moratorium on discussing sports when you get back to the office.

VACATION #5 – THE FANBOY (OR GIRL)

How you see it:

A solid week dedicated to everything Harry Potter – you get to dress in Hogwarts robes and enjoy the visceral magic of the films, brought to stunning life in one of the most amazing theme parks ever created. Riding the Hogwarts Express, munching on Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and getting photos with a roaming Hagrid spell a magical adventure for your senses.

How others see it:

While slightly charming at first, any grown adult over-identifying with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is clearly a problem. Things like insisting on “holding your wand” at all business meetings, dividing the doughnuts in the break room with a “sorting hat,” and making endless Slytherin jokes at your boss’ expense already had you marked for a sit-down with the company shrink. Enjoy your holiday because after this trip, the spell is officially broken.

VACATION #6 – THE GAMBLER

How you see it:

Everybody loves Vegas, and this trip was a great deal. Top-of-the-line shows, crazy-cool hotels, and more slots and blackjack than you can handle. It’s a great chance to blow off some steam and (maybe) win some cash.

How others see it:

All of a sudden, your constant attempts to bet on everything at work appear more worrisome. Also, weren’t you the one who handled all the cash in the March Madness pool? Without a doubt, asking the accounting department to look into the mathematics of card counting a week before you left was not the best idea. Expect to see some pamphlets from Gamblers Anonymous posted in the lunchroom.

VACATION #7 – THE DREAMER

How you see it:

You’re off to Burning Man, an annual gathering in the Nevada desert dedicated to the precepts of community, art, and decommodification. You’re looking forward to a week of artistic self-expression and the giving of one’s unique talents for the enjoyment of all in a communal, non-commercial way.

How others see it:

While the folks at work learned to accept the hammock you replaced your desk with, they are having a bit more trouble with “no socks-no shoes Wednesdays.” Add to that the scents produced by your all-hummus diet and your idea to ditch the office radio in favor of a CD playing Native American chants on a loop, and your co-workers have reached the end of their collective rope. Fearful of appearing racist for opposing whatever comes next, they simply voted to close the business down before you return.

VACATION #8 – THE MILLIONAIRE

How you see it:

You’ve saved for almost 10 years to take the ultimate vacation: first-class air and five-star hotels combined with backstage passes and VIP entrances to only the best of the best. It was awful skipping vacations for a decade, but for the next two weeks, you will finally get to splurge and see how the one-percenters truly live.

How others see it:

As the photos of luxe living and high-end travel start to populate your homepage, don’t be surprised when management initiates a targeted investigation into potential fraud or embezzlement. Welcome home!

Contributed by Jarrod Thalheimer

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