One of my early business goals for Adesso was that I would be able to take my work with me anywhere. My dream situation looked like this: me sitting in an adorable cafe in London for a few hours in the morning,
In actual fact, work has taken me to a number of places since I first went out on my own: Edmonton, Kelowna, Las Vegas, Washington DC. While those trips were exclusively business motivated (although I have been able to sneak in some 'pleasure' time during those trips) this past trip to Utah was a training camp for Jon and a workcation for me. I was eager to test drive a trip that had a foundation in pleasure where I chose to bring work along.
I packed up my essentials and we drove south to St. George. We decided to make the trip economically sound we would camp for the first week of our time away and stay in a hotel the second week. This scenario, while well intentioned, saw a couple major flaws: the campsite had no wifi, the campsite had no showers, the campsite had no real work stations available. Most days I drove from the site - Quail Creek Campground- into the "city" for wifi; landing first at good old fashioned Starbucks for a few days, eventually a coffee shop called Perks! (best coffee in St. George we found) and lastly, the laundromat (pictured).
It's been a solid five years since I was in a laundromat, last time was in Alaska when I was washing sleeping bags. (Long story, please refer to June-August 2009 on this blog). What surprised me about this experience was that the wifi was the best I had experienced of anywhere in St. George. It was strong enough to upload a video for a client, rejig a YouTube issue, stream a series of video shorts I had been following and quickly re-file my emails. I continued to return to the laundromat unashamedly, setting up a station that was perfect for standing at my desk for a few hours.
While a friend at home texted me and told me how jealous she was of my vacation, I corrected her. 'Workcation' I texted back, along with the laundromat photo. Entrepreneurship is glamorous, I wrote via the text, while she sent me back and emoji that was laughing and crying.
The trip was peppered with moments not unlike a vacation: Jon and I enjoying a Happy Hour beer together, me running Zion one Saturday morning, getting on the mountain bike and ripping some incredibly beautiful trails. We found a pretty damn good 25 yard pool (oh, America and your 25 yards instead of 25 meters!) and I enjoyed seeing my friend Katie too.
Ultimately, I can't kid myself. I took a number of lengthy phone calls, worked at least seven hours most days, and dealt with one small client crisis. I frustratingly worked with slow internet, missing information (my master documents all being in my files at home) and missing events. The time away was a good experiment for a pure workcation, but my head and heart were at constant odds with one another. Head said: you must work, you are not on vacation, keep your head down.
Heart said: yahoo! Here you are in the desert! Put on your bathing suit and dive into that water! Take a day and hit those Santa Clara mountains! Forget about work, you're here to play!
When I say the trip was glamour-less I mean it was work in most aspects of the word. Additionally, I also can't help but wonder, if you're going to drive yourself down into the desert, why would you not head to Mojave desert? (Of this, I am obviously incredibly biased).
One final kick in the ass before the workcation is through: I contract food poisoning the Thursday before my trail race on Saturday (Zion 25km I had dutifully signed up for as a long run in prep for the Ottawa Marathon). I spend the entirety of Thursday in the fetal position in our hotel bathroom, praying for mercy as I alternated crying and violently vomiting. I couldn't help but wonder why I usually contract food poisoning while on the road (past unhappy instances include Costa Rica and Alaska) and spent large portions of the day feeling very, very sorry for myself. (Yes Dad, I know. Self Pity Stinks.)
At any rate, we cut the holiday short and drove home the next day, me nursing ginger ale after ginger ale and arriving back home around the same time I would have been finishing the trail race.
An experiment worth trying, an experience worth having.
I went back to work the Monday after we came home and I had to have a laugh- unlike the Mondays after holidays that are swamped with work, mine was business as usual. A benefit, I decided, of a workcation.