It is apparently common outside the United States to ask people what they are doing for their next vacation as a conversation starter.
I learned this last weekend over breakfast with an old friend.
An avid traveler, she brought up this fact shortly after posing the question directly to me. While I stumbled my way through a response that didn’t include details, plans or anything remotely close to anything that I could be tied down to in the future, I realized that my answer was that I HAD NO ANSWER.
And that in and of itself was the basis for starting a new line of conversation.
This meant that the conversation quickly turned on my admission that while I technically don’t have plans, I have two vacation days to use before August 31st, and that presents an opportunity to get out and do something. Perhaps I’d look into a quick trip. Maybe I’d use the time to get back on track in the gym. Or maybe a few days of simple rest and relaxation are in order.
You see, the question of what you plan to do on your next vacation isn’t about WHERE you are going, or even if you are taking a vacation at all. It’s about what you choose to do with your time away from work.
What we choose to look forward to, and what we choose to experience offers a glimpse into people’s lives that we don’t normally make an effort to understand. It’s far easier to ask what people do for work, but it’s far less interesting. Not everyone can relate to the nuances of your job, and that often leads conversational dead ends.
Ask someone what they are most looking forward to on their next break from work, however, and you’ve got a road map for a great conversation!
All we have to do, is ask.