The State of Travel and the America Dream
You may be scratching your head saying, “NEVER.” That’s a typical holiday in other highly-developed nations like Europe.
If you think the issue is just our current economic woes, it’s not. Twenty years ago, a two week vacation for Americans was average. In the last decade we squeezed down to mini-vacations. Long weekends became the trend.
Lately, we’ve ushered in even shorter vacations – the staycation. No travel, just spend a night or two at a local hotel to kick back for 24 to 48 hours before jumping back into the fray. Oh, and bring your laptop and your cell phone along.
Why? For millions, take home pay has stagnated or shrunk for years while costs keep going up, up, up. People take their vacation pay (if they get it) because they need money for bills. Most entrepreneurs I know rarely take a vacation. What’s happening?
There is a sea change taking place. A massive cultural shift. I’m reading a book titled, “The Great Reset” by Richard Florida (pictured left). The author says the shifts are not simply related to the current economic sluggishness. It’s been happening gradually for a long time. Florida says our lives will become less about houses, cars and suburbs. We will flow more toward creativity and innovation.
The American Dream is based on keeping your job for many years to keep paying a mortgage. Keep making those big car payments monthly. (We just paid off one car last month after five years.) Did you know some car loans now stretch out for eight years? Honestly, what car isn’t a rolling ball of trash after eight years?
Currently, the market for big houses and cars is shrinking, based on our need for greater flexibility to deal with life in 2010. Rentals are on the upswing. People who track cultural shifts say it’ll be true for years. More people are cutting back to one car, sharing a car with another family or choosing public transportation.
People are spending money differently. We’re spending less on the appearance of what we used to view as American success. Spending more on things that help you enjoy a life that suits your interests and passions.
If ever there was a time to reconsider the worn out American Dream and embrace an excellent adventure instead, this is it.
Click for a YT video of an interview with author, Richard Florida: “The Great Reset”