Thoughts on "Vacation"

We’re doing a little time travel in this post, so stick with me!

Hello from Australia! It’s early on Friday October 26th. I have just arrived at the Sydney Airport after flying from Melbourne. We are catching a flight this afternoon to New Zealand, then shortly off to Vancouver from there, before landing back home in Portland Friday afternoon, local time. Can I just tell you, there’s no proper way to prepare for a 20 hour trip, going backwards in time, to land home technically on the same day only a few hours later than you departed. I tell you, nothing.

I wanted to check in here to catch you up to speed on my trip, along with some iPhone shots because that’s the struggle with film ;)

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I struggle with vacation. Like, I’m probably the worst “vacationer” in the world. I was told by my mentors that this trip would be the breath of fresh air that I needed. That I would return home with new perspective, patience, and creativity. The reality? This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Well, maybe that’s dramatic, but this was not the truth of the trip for me.

Did I enjoy every second there? Did I experience incredible things, eat incredible food, and find a sense of new-found creativity? Yes. All of that and more!

But what I didn’t experience was a sense of ease and the feeling of refresh. My experience vacationing, and I’m discovering this more and more as I get older, is that I’m not really cut out for a traditional holiday. (That’s what they call vacation here in AUS).

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Towards the end of the trip, probably around day 9 of 14, I started to feel incredibly anxious about being away from home. In fact, it was such a strong feeling I had to excuse myself from the day’s activities. My mind kept repeating “you have so much work to do”! I had reached a point where this voice in my head was so loud, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I situated myself with my laptop, pulled out my iPad to play some background noise, made myself a cup of tea, and worked. On vacation.

And not just a few emails here and there work, I mean really worked. For at least six hours. Maybe eight. Maybe ten! I don’t actually really know because I became consumed by my projects, my emails, my photos, my planning. Completely wrapped up inside. With the biggest smile on my face.

I smiled while working on VACATION! Who does this? Seriously, point them out! I need to connect with them asap.

Now, this might alarm a few friends of mine. I know I will hear something like “the work could have waited” or “vacation is made for resting not working” or something else along the lines of “that wasn’t a great use of your time in Australia”. They’re all probably right to some standard, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me happy.

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My work brings me joy in ways I never expected. In ways I couldn’t ignore. It’s a fact about my job that I will need to accept more and more as the years go on. I should be allowed to have moments like these for myself, even when I am away from home.

The simple fact is, I do my work because I love it. So incredibly much. I am surrounded by supportive and understanding people, so even if needing a day or two to work surprised me, it didn’t to them. And when I had to excuse myself, there wasn’t a hesitation from their side if I “should”. It was almost like curing a homesickness I didn’t know I had.

So as I look out the window from the plane to say goodbye to this gorgeous land down under, I will be expressing my gratitude not only for the adventures I got to take and (again) the delicious food I got to eat, but also the way it reminded me that my experiences are my own! Working did not taint the trip, it did not alter it or make me a workaholic, it just reaffirmed that I am on the right path. What I do has a magnetic attraction to who I am.

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Maybe one day I will learn to vacation the proper way, but for now I will proudly allow myself time to break away from it to continue doing what makes me happy.

I will see you later today (tomorrow?), Portland! Maybe not with newfound relaxation, but absolutely with a deeper respect for what I do.