Same vacation, more leisure! A future vision of travel and work

What makes a good vacation? Find out how the rise of shared economies can let us use remote work for our own good

Vacation. Saying this word brings some memories like from an old movie. Will it ever be like before this pandemic, or will it change forever? My personal opinion is that it will eventually come back with all the good it brings, but what if we are the ones who changed? What if this year(s)-long restrictions changed the way we think about vacationing?

We all have different and very personal ways of experiencing vacation. Here is a definition of vacation according to the Cambridge Dictionary: “a time when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax”. However relaxation without travel (staycation we might have called it) no longer feels like vacation after such long periods of stay-at-home restrictions.

No matter if it was to go to a place where I had already been before, vacation was for me an excuse to change my every day routine surroundings. If possible, I would go to a place having experiences not available at home: different food, music, architectural style or landscapes. For example, even as an adult, I loved returning to Disney World parks in Florida, not only because it reminded me of good moments of the past, but because it allowed me to taste and see things that are not available at home, independently of the number of times I had been there.

If you were asked to extract the core of what makes a good vacation, what would it be ?

What makes a good vacation

In a survey we ran, the majority of respondents replied that they travelled to discover new things. 91% of them strongly agreed to preferring the experience of travelling as a local. Why is that? I like to think that for a lot of people, travelling is about experiencing things that you cannot experience at home.

Iceland discovery box “Give me Iceland”
Iceland discovery box “Give me Iceland”

Did you ever order a “discovery box”? You know, this popular trend in the past decade about a subscription you could get, in exchange for boxes delivered at home containing local products from different places every month. I don’t know for you, but as much as it could try to replicate the real thing, using pictures to go along with the food, or music, it could never transport me out of my home. For me, vacation and travel is about living some experiences that I cannot have at home, to be transported out of the familiar and expand my view of the world in that current moment.

Can we do better than paid holiday?

As a french person, I have been lucky to get 7/8 weeks of paid holiday each year to vacation in new places. Sounds like enough? It never was. But it’s not that I wanted to work less, but more that I wanted to live more experiences than the current routine. But no matter, time and money are always a limited resource for us. Then one day my employer announced a policy allowing us to work 2 weeks per year from anywhere in the world. It instantly resonated with me : “So I do not have to be a digital nomad in order to experience more of the world? I can have a regular desk-job, with all the stability that it brings, and still choose to experience new things when I feel like it? - Wow”. Before, if felt like being a digital nomad was the only way to travel and work. Suddenly, you could have it with a stable job, home, family and still be able to meet colleagues regularly at the office. This new policy sounded great.

Then, before we knew it, the pandemic happened. With it came the mixed feelings about remote work, ranging from “this is so cool, I do not want to go back to an office-routine ever again” to “I miss after work drinks”, “conference calls are so hard for team cohesion, I haven’t even met the new joiners”.

Is there any good coming out of this?

Most people would agree that work, post-pandemic, will never be the same. Much (digital) ink has been spilled on the topic of the future of the office. Some famous tech companies have taken decisions to allow full-remote employees, such as Twitter and Facebook. Remote job offers are on the rise. According to Owl Labs very comprehensive report, 1 out of 2 employees do not want to return to jobs not offering a remote option after the pandemic.
In my opinion, the pandemic has brought flexibility to the table, into the employee’s hands.

What vision of the future does this lead to then?

A future, what future?

“Many people are realizing they don't have to be tethered to one city” — Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb

My vision of work in the future is that - thanks to the pandemic - workers will be responsible for an amount of work rather than an amount of hours. Employers will trust that employees can work from anywhere. In the future I imagine, people will be able choose to spend a couple of weeks working from outside their countries. What about commitments and family? In the future I imagine, places I will go work from will provide services for kids to continue their education at the closest international school or with a tutor, along with other family activities while in that other city. Work will no longer be a constraint binding you to a location 40 to 50 weeks per year : travel will become detached from vacation. In a couple of words, same vacation, more leisure!

When you project yourself into this vision, one thing stands in the way though: how can anyone afford that lifestyle? Who can really pay for rent at home while travelling around the world paying for short-term rentals? Vacation by itself is expensive enough.

The rise of shared economies

Do you remember the first time you heard about Airbnb? How crazy it sounded that people would accept to leave complete strangers into their homes. Yet it spread like wildfire, and I find it virtuous that unused spaces can be used, whenever travellers do not need hotel-grade service, and prefer experiencing local life. Shared economies are now all around us, from shared bikes and scooters to cars and houses. On top of making unaffordable things affordable to individuals, sharing also reduces waste, which will become increasingly central in the next decade for the environment.

In the expensive future lifestyle we imagined earlier, what if the housing was free? What if hospitality during your travels was rewarded by free accommodation? With STROLLÿN, we are building a community of working professionals ready to host and be hosted, with the assurance of good remote-work conditions. Perhaps you’re think no one wants to visit your small town in the center of UK? Or that your tiny apartment in Brooklyn is too small for anyone to want to visit? That’s not what we’re hearing, your everyday routine may be exactly what someone else needs to change up theirs, and feel alive.

With STROLLÿN, we aim to build a sustainable ecosystem of accommodation and services to support a frequent and affordable work and travel lifestyle. Join us today, and travel more without having to accommodate for more vacation.