Can a Freelancer Really Go on Vacation?

In our almost two years of freelancing as the Berry-Brewer Freelance Agency, neither Lorna nor I ever really thought much about taking bona fide vacations. Sure, we’ve had our moments: Lorna had a baby and stepped away from the business for a few months; I took a month off to write a novel; we both took “vacations” to Seattle last year. But in all those times, we were never fully disconnected from the company. We had Internet. We interacted almost daily. We sneaked in a few hours of work in here and there, and no one was the wiser.

So when my family went to DisneyWorld last week, it was with the full intention that I wouldn’t be completely disconnected from my computer. I tried my hardest to tie up all my loose ends and notify clients that I would be out of town, but I assumed I could always check my email each night before going to bed if some sort of writing emergency came up or in case someone needed to contact me.

Unfortunately, the vacation gods had a different idea. Online access at our resort not only cost $10/day, but it was also very unreliable. I suddenly found myself stranded in a remote location where the weather was gorgeous, Mickey was everywhere, and I was wholly disconnected from my lifeline to my good friend, the Internets.

While I did not enjoy the 100+ messages in my inbox when I finally got home, and I’m in a bit of a panic to catch everything up over the next week and a half, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

The whole purpose of our vacation was to have Mommy-Daddy-Child time that was completely free of interruptions. In our real life, my husband spends 60+ hours per week at work. I’m constantly fighting against my daughter to have alone time at the computer. And she’s the poor soul who suffers, since she rarely sees us both at the same time without one of us running off to get “one last thing done.” DisneyWorld was supposed to put all the focus on her and what she loves best. By disconnecting me from my beloved computer, DisneyWorld forced us to do just that.

If I had had regular access to the Internet, I can guarantee you I would have used it. I would have skipped out on an afternoon at the pool to catch up on my emails. I would have cut our days a little short to write one or two articles. I would have been Twittering instead of dressing my daughter up as Cinderella. I know that sounds awful, but completely turning off the workday is really, really difficult for me.

I’m glad things worked out the way they did, and we plan on enforcing more downtime around my house from now on.

After all, no client or project is worth sacrificing this:

Disney Bliss

Comments

  1. says

    Oops. Please delete my previous comment.
    What I meant to say was that no matter how uber-prepared I was to spend time away from work, I emailed clients a month, 2 weeks and a week before I left for V-K, I still had to work due to a client’s emergency. The best one can do is to take things one day and a time and set realistic expectations.

  2. says

    It seems like, every time I plan a vacation, I have a project spill over into the vacation. It’s okay when I’m just planning a trip to visit my parents, and I can jump on their computer and use their phone. But it’s harder when I’m going somewhere where I’ll be out of touch.

    Jennifers last blog post..Submit your team names here

  3. says

    We have yet to take a vacation, though I am trying to plan one right now. I have the same problem as you, though, constantly trying to get more work done. Yesterday, I just took the morning to play with the boys and we all had a wonderful time, but it`s hard to remember sometimes that those moments are more important than getting another article done.

  4. says

    I’m going on my first vacation since starting my business at the end of this month. I’ll be gone a week and I do have free internet access at my hotel which I REALLY hope works, as I fully intend to work for an hour or two most nights. I am letting my clients know that I won’t really be available though and will be keeping up with only pre-agreed upon projects.

    Your story kind of freaks me out – like you I have trouble letting go of work completely and having almost no internet access for a week would be stressful! But I’m planning to embrace the family time during the day!

    Lauries last blog post..Sleep is for the Weak

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