Sunday, May 24, 2009

A nephew of mine lives and works in Paris. He, his wife and his children... | Travel | Wichita Eagle

ED NOTE: I've been intuned to this life style of travel for my family, friends, partner since I was 25. Now 64, I can truly say "You only live once" I've adopted this life style and plan to explore the World, until my legs no longer carry me. Join me???
nephew of mine lives and works in Paris. He, his wife and his children take frequent vacations each year of a duration that would be regarded as scandalous in the United States. They sign up for cheap charter flights to islands in the Mediterranean, check in to modest, all-inclusive, beachside hotels lacking TVs and telephones, and spend several weeks together as a family. They do this not only in the summer (the entire month of August), but often during school vacation periods in the winter, jetting to such places as Luxor in upper Egypt, or Morocco, or Bulgaria. The children, who attend public schools, are frequently taken by their public schools on free-of-charge, overnight excursions to Switzerland or the French Alps.
Despite all this leisure, my nephew and his wife are regarded as highly productive employees of the firms for which they work, and their children excel in school. At the ages of 10 and 14, they study the kind of texts that U.S. college students encounter in their junior and senior years. The children have had exposure to more foreign countries and cultures than most Americans enjoy in their entire lives. They are multilingual. The 14-year-old is presently reading Rousseau's essay "On the Origins of Inequality."
According to a study published in Gadling.com (yes, I occasionally --though rarely -- sneak a look), the French enjoy an average of 35 days a year of paid vacation. They sleep an average of nine hours a night, an hour longer than us, and also spend two hours a day on eating -- twice the time Americans spend eating.
In our public policies toward travel and vacations, we really need to heed the lesson that these highly sophisticated people are demonstrating for us. Rather than averting our eyes, we need to think hard about the lifestyles that other people have adopted. And the first practical step we need to take is agitation in Congress for a federal law mandating a minimum of three weeks of yearly paid vacation for every American worker.

A nephew of mine lives and works in Paris. He, his wife and his children... Travel Wichita Eagle
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