Vacation Ideas for the Work Martyr

In my last post, I looked at the concept of a work martyr and the data that shows how prevalent martyrdom is. If you want to escape the trap of becoming a work martyr, summer is the perfect time. Take a vacation!

No really, it is time to take a vacation.

A REAL vacation.

It is often too tempting for us to say we are going to get away, but then to check email and get sucked back into the work mindset. In order to recharge and to let your team know that they can survive without you, it is crucial to get a real break.

Taking a REAL vacation, does not have to mean spending a lot of money. In fact, it doesn’t even have to involve leaving home. It just requires dedication to switching your brain over to travel and exploration mode.

A few suggestions:

Itinerary One: Little Money and Limited Time

What is travel, really? A chance to break out of your usual bubble and experience other cultures and places? The good news is that you can do that within your own city or region. Each of us have the same old, same old places that we go in our town. We have parts of town that we have never been to.

Zuni Dancers with pots on their heads

Zuni Dancers at the Zuni Festival at Museum of Northern Arizona

Try these:

  • Check travel apps for your area (Trip Advisor or Yelp for example) and see what the Top 5 destinations are in your City. Have you visited all of them? If not, go see what everyone is raving about.
  • Visit a religious service from a religion that you are not a member of. Not sure how to find one? Just go to and search for “worship”. You will find all the local listings and when you click on the name of place, the contact information will pop up.
  • Look in the local community calendar for cultural opportunities. Is there a parade or dances? Here in Flagstaff, I have been to cultural festivals, watched military parades, visited science lectures, and celebrated business openings. Every weekend there is something new to experience.
  • Get outside! Better yet, get outside with a camera. Anytime I have a camera in my hands, I notice something new and see the beauty in my surroundings. Even if I am just walking around my own yard, I will have a new appreciation for the everyday beauty.
  • Think of an ingredient that you like and then google that ingredient + “recipe”. Pick a recipe that you have never tried. Next, go to a different grocery store than you usually visit to pick out the ingredients. Make the recipe for you or you and a friend and dress up for dinner. Pull a nice outfit out of the back of your closet. Perhaps set up the meal outside or set up a table in the living room for different scenery.

Tulips in my yard

Itinerary Two: Limited Money but More Time

Immerse yourself in nature. Through backpacking, bikepacking, bike touring, or an extended boating trip, you can quickly get away from the hustle of everyday life and experience digital detox. If you are not an experienced outdoors person, I recommend checking out REI or another outdoor outfitter near you. They have free classes as well as packing checklists. Backpacking, while physically difficult, is the cheapest way to get outdoors. You can pull together the minimal gear for very cheap. There is no need to hike far on your first trip. As long as you walk to a point at which you can no longer hear the sound of traffic, you will experience the beauty and blissful contentment of living outdoors.


The Colorado River, “Diamond Down” section

Itinerary Three: More Money (and possibly Time)

Leave the country, or at least your culture.

When you visit a place where the people there speak a different language, dress differently, or act differently, it immediately breaks your day to day doldrums. If you find yourself thinking, “we are not in Kansas anymore Toto”, then you have successfully gotten out! It is much easier to not think about work when you are in a completely different reality.

If you are near a border, then this is much easier and cheaper to get away. If you are not near a border and if you can not afford to fly overseas or get a passport, consider a getaway to an American Indian nation. In Flagstaff we are close to several tribes and most of them welcome tourists. For example, the Hopi Nation has a hotel and cultural center and leads tours of the historic Hopi villages and cultural sites. Since these tribes are sovereign nations, it is an opportunity to visit a different nation within the United States.

If you can afford an international flight – GO! I have really enjoyed getting to visit other countries and I always come back with a new perspective.

mexico 497

Urique Village in Mexico — We drove down to Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre) for a week-long getaway a few years ago


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