10 September 2014

Why you deserve more holidays as an expat

Why you deserve more holidays as an expat. Amsterdam and Den Haag (The Hague) on Instagram.
Remember the days when visiting your parents and other family members was something you did without much planning? When catching up with friends was just a normal activity on any ordinary day? And when holidays were spent exploring new exciting destinations, travelling to places where you didn’t know a single soul? Yeah… those days are definitely gone as soon as you become an expat. 

I realise that I’m probably one of the last people that should complain about the amount of travelling they get to do. I get to travel quite a bit for work, and most of my friends will join me for a weekend away as soon as I mention the words city trip. But when you live in an other country than your (old) friends and family, you’re going to spend a fair amount of your well-deserved holidays on trips back home.

Because I hadn’t been home much this year I decided to spend my summer holiday in the Netherlands. I felt optimistic at the time that I booked my ticket when temperatures in London (that are exactly the same as in the Netherlands) were actually feeling like summer. I saw myself relaxing in my parents’ backyard, reading lots of interesting books, going to the beach and in between catching up with all the friends I hadn’t seen for so long.

Good plan. Not very realistic. Not so much because of the weather (which wasn’t so summer-like in the first week). But because catching up with everybody is – yes – a lot of fun, but anything but relaxing. I was staying at my parents’ house in between The Hague (where one half of my friends lives) and Amsterdam (where the other half lives). Of course I could have asked them to come my way, but The Hague and Amsterdam are so much more fun! So every day I took the train up north to Amsterdam or south to the Hague, and some days even both.

Because I desperately wanted to feel like I was on holiday as well, I spent exactly 1.5 day sitting in my parents’ garden as planned. Divine! Got to page 200 of the first book I started reading (out of a reading list of about 5), but still. It’s something.

So now I’m back at work. I still remembered my computer password (I love it when I don’t!) which is ‘exhibit A’ that this wasn’t a real holiday. And I don’t have any funny travel anecdotes or amazing sunset/rise photos to make my colleagues jealous (‘exhibit B’). Which is why I think expats should get at least two additional weeks to ‘recover’ from their trips back home. And to finally finish that damn summer reading list!

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