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What an oblication…

Vacation. Ideally, budget permitting, we’d like at least a couple of them per year. Luckily for us who live in France (and many parts of Europe), time is usually not an issue given the generous annual leave allowance that we get. Then came staycation following economic downturn where many opt to enjoy their break a little closer to home and hopefully need not spend as much by staying local. A few other portmanteaus cropped up quickly – foodcation, nudecation, etc – you get the idea. And now there’s oblication too.

Tulips in Luxembourg Gardens

Initially, I thought it refers to compulsory vacation time imposed on overworked folks given the risk of burnt out. Errr, no. Collins dictionary online has received suggestion to accept this new word as “[a] vacation that’s scheduled and/or planned to allow you to fulfil some obligations, like visiting friends or family”.

Oh my… it makes these visits sound like a real chore so I’m not sure where the “-cation” part comes in to play. Isn’t there a fun part normally, and perhaps some down time, to actually make it a vacation to look forward to? Maybe oblication should be swapped for oblivisit, or something a little less “yay holiday!”?

In the next few months, F and I have a number of weddings – apparently something also fall under the category of oblication – to attend. It does mean a lot of travel, mostly within France and one in Malaysia. We declined another couple of wedding invitations in Canada and in Lebanon due to a number of reasons, but otherwise we are looking forward to celebrating the marriages of people close to us.

What we will also do is to take advantage of these trips and make them opportunities to visit the surrounding regions. Instead of seeing a wedding as an oblication, we are seeing killing-birds-with-one-stone. The obvious ones: we will see friends and family, we will play tourists. Additionally, trip planning had been simplified. We don’t have to dither about when to go, we work around the wedding dates. We could focus on a number of key spots we want to see, and look for activities accordingly. By taking away many variables, we can make quality-based decisions and not bogged down by too many options.

This summer, we will see a good bit of France. We’ll be covering the regions of Brittany, Lorraine, Burgundy and Franche-Comté. (Hmm, maybe I should start a campaign to travel all 22 metropolitan regions of France – I’ve been to 11 to date…) In the mean time, it’s safe to say I’ll be eating my way around the places we’re visiting too – does this mean we’re on foodcation now? Let’s hope I can still fit into dresses I planned to wear to the weddings after the food tour!

Besides, it is not entirely true that we don’t have a say of where we go. This is particularly obvious with our trip to Malaysia, to which we have extended to make it a fairly long one. We would like to visit a couple of neighbouring countries. Flores and Bali in Indonesia have caught F’s fancy, whereas Hoi An in Vietnam has got my attention. It would be rather ambitious to try to squeeze all of them in but if that’s what Hermes has got in store for us, I’d roll with it ;)

Category: Musing

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12 scribbles & notes

  1. Floriane says:

    Hermes like the one of the expensive scarfs? ;-p
    Lorraine is my home region, so if you need some hints, let me know! Also, Santi and me will be there (weddi-oblication) at the beginning of July. If the dates fit, we could arrange some meet-up? (oblivisits….)
    Nice post!!

    • Lil says:

      Hehehe, Hermes as in the god of travel ;)

      This trip of ours is scheduled for early-May however, and we’re including Nancy and Metz to our itinerary in addition to the wedding venue just across the border. I’ll send you an email later this evening for tips etc. Shame though the timing doesn’t correspond. Would LOVE to see you and Santi – it has been a loooong time!

  2. Bee Ean says:

    Hi Lilian,

    We will be in Malaysia end of Jun to mid July.
    My husband wants to dive. We both love food and massage, so we thought of Thailand as we had great time traveling there during the previous trips.
    We have been to Krabi and Hatyai, do you know other places in Thailand that offers quiet atmosphere (beaches or jungles)? Or places in Indonesia? I had been to Bali, I didn’t like it much, too touristic.

    Bee Ean

    • Lil says:

      Hi Bee Ean – the reason we’re considering Indonesia is exactly to look for diving/snorkelling spots (for F). I know that Bali is too touristy, hence why we are strongly considering the alternative, Flores. It’s about 1.5 hours flight from Bali though.

      I recommend you have a look at Travelfish (http://www.travelfish.org/blogs/) which has lots of information for travel in the SEA. The guy who runs the site often travels to sites himself to see how it is, assess the accommodation etc. Maybe you can find something interesting for Thailand there too.

      Alternatively, have you considered the east coast? Not to say Perhentian or places like those – too touristy as well – but something like Pulau Rawa, which has recently been recommended by another friend. It is a bit more exclusive, therefore expensive compared to the other islands in the region.

      Good luck location hunting and have fun!

  3. Caitriona says:

    I knew straight away what oblication would mean and I have to admit that I understand the sentiment. OK, so it is easy for us (at the moment) to get back to Dublin for various events but the cumulative cost of those trips basically wipes out the travel budget for the year (unless of course one of us is lucky enough to have a work trip someone exciting and so far there have been a few!). It will be interesting to see how my feelings on this change when we move to Australia. At least then any trips home will be for a longer period and we might have the chance to tack on fun side trips.

    • Lil says:

      Gosh, so Rich is taking up the job offer and you guys are moving??? When is that happening? I must phone you for a chat properly one of these days.

      Yes, it is true that all the short trips back to Ireland regularly can wipe out the travel budget quickly. I had had to resort to booking flights waaay early in advance so to get a reasonable cheap flight (e.g. booking in August for Christmas).

      That’s a good point that trips back from Australia will be longer, but be careful that meeting friends and family can suck up those time very quickly too. Speaking from experience after years of travelling back to Malaysia, I had to make brutal decisions between staying at home and spend more time with my grandparents, or go gallavanting somewhere for a few days. 3-4 weeks holiday fly back so quickly!

  4. Ann says:

    I’ve never before heard of this term but immediately see how it’s very useful in our modern world… especially for expats. Thanks for the vocab lesson!

    • Lil says:

      Pure serendepity when I came across it. Indeed many expats would experience oblication but the way I see it, because I want to do it and I never feel like it’s an obligation, it’s just another vacation to me :)

  5. med says:

    hahahaa….a new word for me too
    woohoo….sounds like many good holiday plans lil
    so u learn swimming and going for diving? me going for my annual one this weekend at tioman….cant wait hoohoo

    sept it is….hope to catch u and F then yah ;)

    • Lil says:

      Apparently swimming lesson is top of the list this summer (like every past few summers……) ;)

      And yes, September/October it is!!

  6. Selena says:

    oooo…. i must try me one of they nudications :-D maybe if i stay indoors i won’t frighten the locals too much with my impressive circumference LOL

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