I’m going to take a safe bet that you’ve been there too. You know the one, the trip you take to ‘really get away from it all’. Pick a spot, any spot. Picture that vacation in your head. You went on the road, and maybe answered some texts or did that one last email back to work (even though they knew you were off for the week). You kept answering the calls on your cell phone, because now it seems we are available almost everywhere. Then the calls and emails crept into your actual vacation. Here you are, relaxing away from home and answering work emails or checking social media for the tenth time during your relaxing morning coffee.
Somehow this practice doesn’t end. It spirals right into your vacation. I’ve done it too. Most every vacation I am guilty, but it’s something I am actively working on. How often will I check work email because I might miss something even if there’s a holiday, or get back to messages because I feel bad for leaving my friends hanging. I say I’m going to do it once, or maybe even once a day check everything and get it out of my system. Ask me how many times I ended up on social media or calling and texting people all week long.
So how do we set those boundaries on the vacations we use to get away from our routines? How do we really move into the space of getting away and really taking that well-earned break? My first and seems simple enough (to me anyways) tip is to send a work email to whoever might need to contact you. Let work know you are away and even set up an auto-reply email. I’m fortunate to work somewhere that respects time off and really only calls if it’s a true emergency during a vacation. Just like calling in to check as things were shutting down last year as the pandemic hit and letting us know not to report to the building the Monday after break.
How about our friends? I for one hate being left hanging for days on end, but I don’t remember a time that my close friends didn’t return a text within a day or so. I also tend to notice on social media if they are out of town and usually figure it can wait until they return (hey friends reading this - I write these things down a lot because I know my brain won’t remember after a few hours). My friends usually know well in advance about trips because I’m so dang excited about them I can’t stop talking about it anyways. If I failed to mention it, I try to bring it up so that they know I won’t catch all the messages or maybe take extra time to respond.
My final tip to really get away from it all? Go off the grid! Bear with me on this, because being disconnected and not being able to use my phone or all my apps used to be so foreign to me. I wasn’t connected to it all the time, but not being able to use it was, well, weird. Then I started taking some trips with friends up to Mendocino, or going camping with Jake near Payson, Arizona. There is no signal to be had. Sometimes we would travel into town and get a very basic signal but it’s a whole different world. You sleep well because your alerts don’t go off, and no waking up to check apps and emails. You just….relax. Don’t knock it til’ you try it! Bonus tip - take a group of friends and you will have some amazing fun!
Until next time, what was your biggest snafu on a “getting away” trip and how are you going to do that differently?