I did a search of the Idaho Statesman archives for the word “vacation.” The first 19 instances of the word’s use were for St. Michael’s Parish School in Boise, announcing its term schedule. Most early mentions of the word were about schools or government institutions taking a vacation. It wasn’t until 54 results into the search that I found a reference to a citizen taking a vacation. That was in 1881 when Mr. W.W. Calkins intended “shortly to take a few weeks vacation, during which to visit the picturesque lakes in Alturas county, for the benefit of his health.” The paper then editorialized a bit with, “He is very much in need of recreation, and we hope to see him return with rosy cheeks and beaming eyes.”
Good for W.W. Calkins! That’s what a vacation is for, right? Oh, wait. You’re from Idaho, so you may not know what a vacation is for.
According to a 2017 travel industry survey, Idaho ranks at the top of the heap when it comes to vacations. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong heap. It turns out that 78 percent of Idaho residents left vacation time unused in 2016. The worst record in the nation. Why? The same survey indicated that “showing complete dedication to their job” was one reason. Twenty-seven percent of Idaho respondents didn’t think their company culture promoted time off. And, 28 percent worried that they would appear replaceable.
Come on, Idahoans! Take a vacation! You live in a vacation wonderland.