Dreaming of far-flung adventure or white sandy beaches? Americans spend FOUR YEARS of their life indulging in escapism, according to new research.
From the 22 minutes the average person spends daydreaming each day, to the books, films and TV we get lost in – a new survey tallied the common times and activities people use to get away from reality, finding that we rack up just under 13 hours of escapism per week.
The study of 2,000 adults across the United States, which was commissioned by global tour operator G Adventures, showed 12 hours 56 minutes of escaping our reality each week comes in the form of reading books (1h 34mins), watching movies (2h 37mins) and dreaming of vacations (44mins).
Other popular forms of escape that trended highly among those surveyed involved exploring new places (56mins), listening to music (2h 47mins) and playing videogames (1h 29 minutes).
Aside from actionable escapes, the most common daydream Americans confessed to is the thought of ‘winning the lottery’ (60 percent), followed closely by ‘going on vacation’ (54 percent) or ‘traveling somewhere exotic’ (50 percent).
All told, we spend a hefty 44 minutes each week fantasizing about being on vacation or planning the next one. That might be due to the fact that 63 percent of survey respondents say daydreaming about a vacation has helped put their mind “more at ease”.
Whether running errands, commuting or sitting in a long meeting at work – G Adventures’ survey reveals that we also zone out, on average, four times every day. The time of day when we are most likely to daydream? Monday at 1:56PM.
When asked what they picture themselves physically doing during a daydream, ‘relaxing or sleeping’ was the top response among busy Americans, at 55 percent. Active escapes also ranked highly, with ‘traveling’ (42 percent) and ‘site-seeing’ (39 percent) following as the second and third most popular answers.
And while men may be notorious for not paying attention while their partner is speaking, the study shows that women may be just as guilty.
Women surveyed revealed that they are four times as likely to daydream while their spouse is speaking to them as when their boss is speaking. Men, meantime, are only twice as likely to daydream while their spouse is speaking to them, versus when their boss is.
All those women tuning out might be due to additional findings revealed in the survey: among millennial women, 93 percent say they feel stressed in day-to-day life. When they’re tuning out a spouse or boss, they might be thinking about travel. When asked ‘what have you ever daydreamed about’, 61 percent of these young women made “traveling somewhere exotic” their top answer – before other answers such as ‘finding the one’, ‘winning the lottery’ or ‘quitting a job’.
Among the general population, the most recurring theme of Americans’ daydreams focuses on ‘relaxation and quiet’ (59 percent), with daydreams of white sandy beaches or the perfect escape. This is especially true among women between the ages of 35-55. If they’re not daydreaming about doing a whole lot of nothing (65 percent), they are thinking about traveling for exploration and adventure (44 percent), followed by romance and sex (31 percent).
The story is different among millennial women between the ages of 18-35, for among whom ‘daydreaming about adventure’ is the most recurring daydream theme 57 percent of the time – the highest of any age group.
As for the person or people Americans say they most picture themselves getting away with: 44 percent of those surveyed would choose a spouse or partner as their top companion, followed by 26 percent who imagine themselves going solo. Going away ‘with my kids’ is the third most common response, with 23 percent.
Is all this daydreaming about escapism spurring greater time and planning for self-care? A number of Americans say they worry they spend too much time daydreaming and never get to actually go on vacation – nearly a quarter of the survey participants worry they won’t get a chance to indulge enough in real life adventure.
That might be because seven in ten surveyed admit to struggling to get out of their comfort zone and actually take up new adventures.
“While it’s encouraging to see high numbers of Americans picturing themselves traveling farther and being more adventurous as a form of mental escape, it seems more of us need to stop dreaming and start doing,” said Benjamin Perlo, Managing Director for G Adventures in the U.S. “Travel does take time, money, planning and a bit of courage, but what you gain from getting out of your comfort zone can make a positive difference for you, your family and your friendships, well beyond the last day of vacation.”
Perlo added, “It’s clear we need to help Americans turn their want-to’s into can-do’s. Our new ‘summer escape’ sale on trips to Europe, southeast Asia, Central and South America were designed just for this very dreamer.” For more information, visit: www.gadventures.com.
TOP TEN DAYDREAMS
Winning the lottery
Going on vacation
Traveling somewhere exotic
Being on the beach
Doing something adventurous
Speaking my mind
Meeting ‘the one’
Quitting my job
Errands that I need to do
TOP FIVE MOMENTS WE’RE MORE LIKELY TO START DAYDREAMING
While watching TV
While listening to music
At my desk/place of work
Browsing on social media
Reading books – 1 hour 34 minutes
Watching movies 2 hours 37 minutes
Listening to music – 2 hours 47 minutes
Exploring somewhere new- 56 minutes
Walking/ exercise – 1 hour 58 minutes
Researching/considering vacations -44 minutes
Videogaming – 1 hour 29 minutes
Meditation/ Yoga – 51 minutes
12 hours 56 minutes per week = 13 hours
= 52 hours per month
=624 hours per year
=37, 440 hours over 60-year adult lifetime (18-78) – 1,560 days = 4.27 years (4 years, 99 days)