Like most of you in July and August every year, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about vacations or, as other English speakers say, holidays. While my knowledge of classics extends only marginally beyond the name of the fraternity I belonged to in school (Delta Chi, in case you want to know!), out of curiosity, I decided to investigate the Latin origins of the word. I was thrilled to discover that it comes from the verb vaco which means “to be empty or free”.

We’re fortunate that our work as Business Events professionals is incredibly fulfilling and validating. That said, it’s also all-consuming, often filling our minds, hearts and souls to capacity, sometimes even enslaving us to the point that we live to work, rather than work to live.

This is not good as it is fundamentally imbalanced. It knocks everything out of kilter, particularly our relationships with others. Without significant relationships to sustain us, our work starts to fall apart and we enter a vicious cycle where nothing in our life is healthy and whole and our work starts to resemble a prison sentence.

But vacations break the cycle. They “free” us from the tyranny of routine and bad habits and force us to escape, empty ourselves, embrace idleness, or what Italians call the dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

It’s certainly part of the reason why incentive travel is the most popular and successful element in a company’s reward and recognition program. Incentive travel experiences offer qualifiers once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities. They offer extraordinary rest and relaxation experiences as the ultimate antidote to hard work, dedication and commitment. They’re the perfect quid pro quo (now I’m losing the run of myself with Latin!).

So enjoy those precious vacation days. But please take them. As our industry cranks into motion again, we may be tempted to press the accelerator. Do this only when or after you’ve taken a break. Only when you’ve emptied yourself, freed yourself, embraced vacation in the real sense of the word.