Summer vacations are wonderful. The idea of getting away from it all and unplugging from responsibilities and technology. To do what is desired in a place that is not home. The weather, the beach, the mountains, the food, the family, the friends - all are wonderful things. However, I am drawn to having less vacation.
There is value in getting away and resting. The commandments to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy are biblically rooted and psychologically beneficial. However, there is a difference in sabbath and vacation. There is a difference from rest and "getting away".
Vacations give us permission to "vacate." Escapism is very popular and fun. Vacating or escaping is not evil or harmful. In small doses it can be the reprieve that is needed to give energy to fight another day. And therein is the seed of the problem of vacations - they give energy to keep fighting rather than providing the resources to stop the fight.
Religious traditions of all sorts have the practice of pilgrimage. Some might say that life itself is a pilgrimage, but more often than that the word pilgrimage calls to mind going on a specific type of trip. The pilgrimage trip is different from a vacation for a number of reasons and one of those is that the pilgrimage is to help gain a different perspective of life. This perspective gaining is so that when we return to our lives, we better know which battles are worth fighting or perhaps how to fight differently. Vacations do not allow space for this sort of perspective taking because on vacation we are encouraged to "get away" from your life. Pilgrimage asks us to engage our lives differently.
Vacations and pilgrimages both have rest built into them. Both are helpful, but for different reasons. Vacations can help us catch our breath in the ocean of life, pilgrimage can help us lean to trust in the buoyancy of God.