Last week I was perusing the #travel tag on twitter when I came across a link to an article about “sharecations.” I clicked it, hoping a sharecation was something new and exciting. Nope. A sharecation is, apparently, a vacation with friends or another family. Not so groundbreaking, after all.
The more I thought about it, the more the word started to irk me. Why do we need all of these words for what is basically the same thing: a vacation? Staycation. Solocation. Sharecation. Couplecation. Dogcation. Catcation.
Ok, I made up the last three.
Oh, wait. I just Googled and apparently I didn’t completely make those last three up. Because some of them are already a thing too?!?
Listen. I completely understand the utility of these words. They kind of sound good (except couplecation, which sounds like either a mad scientist’s medical procedure or something I couldn’t learn in 8th grade math class). Ok, so they don’t all sound good, but they stand out. They are descriptive.
Sharecation is a nice buzzword. It obviously caught my attention. I clicked the link. It got my eyeballs to the page.
I read the article, but the idea that this is really an up and coming trend surprised me. There is even a new show on PBS about it called Getting Away Together* that highlights the “rapidly growing trend of sharing a vacation with friends and family.”
But a sharecation isn’t anything new. It’s just a “rebranding” in the same vein of solocations and staycations. They’re just terms bandied about as the latest and greatest the past few years. Then, it’s on to the next.
As someone who wants more people to give slow travel a chance, I am actually pretty pleased that the idea of renting a place and possibly going on a trip with a group is popping up more and more in articles and on TV.
I even understand that there is a real difference between these types of vacations. Taking a trip on your own certainly requires different considerations and planning than going with a couple of your friends.
So I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why these travel-themed portmanteaux tend to annoy me so much.
Maybe it’s because there’s no need to pretend we’re reinventing the travel wheel with new words, guides, articles, suggestions, shows, etc. Because I don’t think different types of vacations should be trendy as much as they should be considered time-tested, always available options—different ways to explore, experience, and figure out what works best for you.
We don't need to classify everything with a new word. Rumi said, "There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." I think there are hundreds of ways to travel too.
Or maybe Stephen Fry would just tell me to quit being a pedant in his unique, lovely way with words.
I would love to hear what you think. Do you like these words, hate them, don’t care either way and think I’m being pedantic? Calling me pedantic is a completely acceptable answer, by the way.
In the meantime, I will probably continue pondering and laughing at the thought of a catcation.
*As a side note, I watched a bit of the first Getting Away Together online and found it pleasant enough. The cinematography was very pretty. I think all of the episodes will be set in the US, so it will probably be a nice way to see some places and/or get ideas for trips. The first episode is about a group of friends in St. Augustine, Florida. You can watch online here.