We all deserve a break -- even if we don’t get a traditional paid vacation.
The ability to take time off isn’t just about margaritas and sun tans. It’s just one piece of what we like to call Meaningful Independence: Having the ability to pursue your passions and take time to recharge when you need it, secure in the knowledge that you’re connected to people, groups, and institutions that have your back.
One-third of small to medium-sized business owners have no plans to go on a vacation any time soon. The primary reason? Six in ten said that financial hardship was the culprit.
Yes, freelancers’ episodic income and gig lifestyle can make it difficult to plan in advance. But taking an affordable vacation is important and possible -- if we work together.
How do I know this? Because people have been coming together to build affordable vacations for themselves for centuries -- and it’s about time freelancers did the same.
It's time to reclaim summer, and the model lies in an unlikely place: co-working.
Think about it -- most independent workers can't afford to lease an office on their own. So as the freelance workforce has grown, freelancer-run co-working spaces have started popping up all over the country. This way, freelancers have the workspaces and collaborative, creative atmospheres that they need -- without the solo financial burden.
Vacations can happen the same way and making it happen is easier than you think. You can get a group of friends together and rent a cabin in the woods, for example. By pooling resources, vacations can become far more affordable.
In fact, there’s a historical precedent for this. These places have been providing cooperative summer getaways for years:
- Three Arrows Cooperative Society: A cooperative summer colony located in Putnam Valley, NY
- PG Pool: A private pool in Maryland run on a cooperative basis by its members.
- Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center: A worker-owned cooperative and intentional community on 154 acres of wildlife sanctuary.
- Wiawaka Holiday House: A vacation/retreat center on Lake George, NY that operated on a nonprofit basis and provides affordable vacations.
This is what can happen when communities decide to build together. It's what can happen when we pool our resources in ways that help all of us live better.
Being independent doesn’t mean that we have to wave goodbye to vacations forever. Taking a break shouldn’t be some unreachable dream. It’s crucial to be creative, energized, and grounded -- and it’s entirely possible if we bring back that tradition of working together.
How are you making time for a rest this summer?