On July 3, I listened as two administrative assistants in a Minneapolis office prepared to leave for an extended break.
"Should I?" one asked.
"I'm definitely going to," the other replied.
Then the first returned to her desk to retrieve an office-issued laptop. They had been pondering the need to carry their work computers with them during vacation — and both came to the conclusion that they should.
I shook my head sadly. But now, as I prepare to take a week away from the office, I feel the dilemma — and the appeal — acutely.
You keep up with your never-ending e-mails so you aren't overburdened when you return. You nibble on projects that are due too soon after re-entry. The idea sounds counterintuitive, but bringing your work with you on vacation seems almost, well, relaxing.
So what's the harm of waking up your computer over morning coffee with woods and lake as a backdrop?
An e-mail you open may introduce an idea you then chew on all day. That project hits obstacles that raise your blood pressure.
Escaping all that is precisely why we travel. And for good reason. Vacations are good for our health — mind and body.
Nine out of 10 Americans claim their happiest memories were made on vacation, according to Take Back Your Time, a nonprofit organization that "seeks to challenge the epidemic of overwork, overscheduling and time famine in the United States and Canada." Consider your own happy memories. If you're like me, you're thinking of a mountain hike, an encounter with sea turtles or a water park with your child.
The well-regarded, long-term Framingham Heart Study showed that men who skip vacations are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack; non-vacationing women are 50 percent more likely.
Good reasons for all of us to leave our computers behind.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.