Have you ever taken a two week vacation before?
The first time I did that, I swore I would never take anything but two week vacations again.
The first week you remain stressed, wondering what to do with yourself even if you are busy at the tourist attractions. Lying on the beach was pure torture – where’s the phone, can I check email, I wonder what the office staff is doing. The thoughts keep rolling through your mind, making your days anything but relaxing.
But by the second week, you’ve starting to calm down. All of a sudden, the office doesn’t seem so inviting. You don’t know when the next meeting is. And your phone is just a distant memory.
That’s when things truly start happening. That’s when you look beyond your current lifestyle and start dreaming about other things.
Now imagine what its like on weeks three, four, five and six.
Since we run our business via the Internet, we couldn’t leave it untouched for six weeks. And we knew that. So instead we focused in on how we could get everything done in a fraction of the time, so we could work as little as possible and enjoy ourselves as much as possible.
Guess what? It worked.
Week one was bit stressful. We were only in Madrid, Spain for a week, so we wanted to see all we could. We’d get up early and work for a while; then head out and enjoy the museums and galleries. Back in after dinner, we’d haul out the computers and start checking in on things. It really was easy since we’re not fluent in Spanish, and the apartment we were staying in only had access to Spanish television stations. (Though it was fun watching Modern Family with Spanish dub overs!)
By week two, our surfing was down to a minimum. We weren’t exposed to American media, so we started ignoring it. If something major happened, we heard about it through our social channels. Otherwise we ignored it.
We looked at work differently. We focused in on what truly needed to get done instead of wasting time in the process. Have you ever noticed quick tasks can take monumental amounts of time when you get “stuck” reading other things? Opening up my Yahoo mail means glancing through the newsfeed – and of course clicking here and there. A lot of that became meaningless so far from home.
We also learned that traveling doesn’t have to be about running from sun up to sun down to try and fit everything in.
In the few locations we visited in a day or two, we ran the whole time. But when we settled down in Lucca, Italy for over three weeks, we realized we had a lot of tomorrows. If we ran one day, we tried to take the next day off, sleeping in and enjoying something local instead. We played card games instead of watching television. We went for walks instead of sitting at home working.
We developed patterns that focused in on being together instead of doing what comes naturally at home – grabbing your computer/phone and disappearing into your own world.
Six weeks away taught us many things.
Above it all, it taught us that the simpler things in life are definitely the best. And you can enjoy them from anywhere in the world if you put your mind to it.