The Swedish vacation and the power of taking an extended vacation
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A goat grazing in the Tuileries in Paris

Some of you might already know that the Scandinavian people, and even people in most of Europe, take an extended vacation during the summer. This year I was following suit and took a five week vacation from the translation business. Such a long break has both advantages and disadvantages. Granted, my extended vacation was partly out of necessity, since I relocated to Stockholm, Sweden with my family for a year. The move took time and we took the opportunity to also travel across Europe by train for almost four weeks. Now I am settled in my new office at home in Stockholm, with a new time zone, but otherwise my business basically runs the same way. Thanks to Google voice and some trusted friends in Park City, I have been able to keep my business address and phone number and bank accounts so that the customers will not have to change anything in the way they do business with me.

The advantages of taking a long time off is that I have time for the “rest” of my life, to gain some perspective and to spend time with my family. I did not even bring a computer with during our eurail trip, just a phone and only had access to email throughy the free, very spotty, wireless access points around in the cities. This was a great way to disconnect and let go of my work, plus letting go of always being visible online. However, I could not help noticing the many signs and menus with bad translations all over Europe. It is a bummer that I did not document them with pictures.

One of the disadvantages with such a long vacation is the lack of income. This requires some planning and saving, at least for people who are the main household providers. It is also harder to get back into the routine after being gone from work that long, and a fasing-in period is recommended.

Now I am looking forward to working from Sweden. I will be more active with the Swedish Association for Professional Translators, take some writing classes, give some presentations etc. I also look forward to connecting with all my colleagues online again, and in person, if that opportunity presents itself.

Swedish Translation Services is a company owned by Tess Whitty, a freelance translator (English-Swedish), proofreader, editor, copy writer, localizer and entrepreneur.


  1. The first holiday is the hardest. After that you learn when to go, where to go with good wifi coverage, or whether to arrange someone to cover, or whether it’s ok to take a complete break.
    I like to go to Asia because it’s so cheap there. It’s actually cheaper to live there in a hotel than it is back at home. So if I stay for long enough and rent out my apartment in the UK I actually save money by being on holiday!
    I’ve found the best time to go on vacation for a freelancer is between December and February. Things naturally slow down a bit then.

    • Tess says:

      Thanks Cathy! I agree that December through February are good vacation months for a freelancer. So far we are bound by when school is out too, but things will change once the children fly out of the nest.