On the Joys of the Working Vacation

So my last post garnered me more than one slightly shocked “you brought your laptop to Hawaii?” from my faithful correspondents, which didn’t make me reconsider that decision, but which did make me think through why the choice was, to me, obvious. It’s not just that the little Powerbook and I have fused, flesh and machine nearly indistinguishable one from the other, though that’s arguably true as well. It’s that I’ve always done some of my best writing while on vacation with R., and so our trips are nearly always built around such work, to some extent or another.

And again, the time zone thing works in our favor here. By 10 am, we’ve spent several hours working, had breakfast, worked a bit more, gone to the gym, and are ready to hit the pool or the beach or whatever else appeals. The trip is far from all-work — we have extended periods of laziness — but the writing is part of the trip’s point.

For me, there’s nothing more head-clearing than going away somewhere, some place with different sights and sounds and tastes, some place where there are no meetings or household chores, where there is no possibility of being caught in the hallway by someone asking you to do something. In the absence of all that, I can finally sit down with a new project idea and begin to sort out what it is, why I want to do it, and how it’s going to work. That energy can then be carried back home — where inevitably some portion of it gets dissipated by the meetings and the chores and the million annoying requests, but at least some glimmer, some memory of it remains. Which is enough for a while.

2 thoughts on “On the Joys of the Working Vacation

  1. I sometimes get the same reaction from people as I set off on vacation with my sketchbook under my arm and my head full of ideas that I want to explore. Travel time is a great moment to let things percolate through that would otherwise get tangled up by daily routine.

    Besides, I relax so much better when I can do work when I want, if I want !

    It helps too that my R keeps a sketchbook handy as well, so we can work together.

  2. My ex-boss, the… 24yr old computer genius, recently moved to Maui.

    He spends all day at the beach, or on his patio, drinking beer and developing open source software on his powerbook.

    I dream of being that successful.

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