As mentioned in my post a week ago, Courtney and I had a chance to take a much-appreciated week-long vacation to celebrate our anniversary. We visited Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement, the Yorktown Victory Center, and of course the nearby Busch Gardens. It was my first time visiting any of those places, and I had a great time at all of them, with the possible exception of the record heat in the area that occurred on a few of those days.
The best part about the trip—besides the fact we were celebrating our anniversary, of course—was the fact that I actually got to disconnect myself completely from work.
Because I work from home doing web application programming, I can literally work from anywhere with a decent internet connection. If I have that and my laptop, I can do everything I need. In reality, this means that I am never far from work. With occasional side jobs on top of my official full-time position, some kind of work often finds its way into my evenings or weekends as well.
Now, honestly, I really like what I do for work. My answer to the “What if you had a million dollars?” life purpose test is that I’d actually want to be doing exactly the same thing, though perhaps a bit less of it. Programming is creatively invigorating and immensely satisfying to me. But that doesn’t mean I want to do it all the time. I have been burned out on multiple occasions, and I am quite sure it’s no fun.
However, my high availability makes it easy for me to work, and as I said before, also difficult to fully disconnect myself for any length of time. Being able to work from anywhere gives me a huge amount of flexibility, but whenever I travel, I usually end up bringing work with me out of necessity—making sure I put in enough hours, or making sure I’m available should something immediate and critical arise.
For this trip though, I covered all of the bases, let everyone know I was going to be unavailable, and even setup some email filters so I wouldn’t see any new items that might arrive during the trip. By the time Courtney and I left, everyone knew what to expect of me (namely nothing), and I was fully prepared to live up to that expectation.
It was one of the most restful weeks I have had in a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was physically exhausting just about every day. Everywhere we went involved a whole lot of heat and a whole lot of walking around. It was not rejuvenating in that sense. But being able to suspend that part of my brain for a week and to feel free from outside responsibility even for just that long gave me a great feeling of relief.
Non-working vacations are definitely the best kind.