I’m sure I’m not the first to say that a working vacation often ends up to be not quite either working or vacationing.
So that has become very clear. I work more than I vacation, but I do vacation more than I did when I was at home. The question is,is a working vacation better than just working? Vacations can be stressful, many of us need a break after our vacation just to recuperate.
(Also, some may say, “What right have you to vacation so much?” I mean vacation more as in rest and recuperation. As in olden days when they take the sickly boy to the shore for months on end to recover his health. That’s pretty much spot on.)
I can work anywhere, and the kids can school anywhere, but if we don’t take advantage of where we are, what’s the point in not just being at home?
And then there’s the idea of costs, if I am getting only two or three hours of enjoying where I am and taking time to recover in the day, is that worth the cost of essentially supporting two households?
Then I consider that those three hours used to be spent in the most stressful time of day—homework, shuttling people around, figuring out dinner, trying to wrap up work on top of that. Replacing that with a few hours of R&R seems almost priceless.
If the goal was to maintain some kind of balance, I’m not sure I’m achieving that quite yet. As the benefits go up, so does the cost, both in terms of literal financial cost, and the cost on my time to ensure I maintain those financial milestones.
So in a way, I am seeing the good things have come out of this experiment, but the harder things seem to have kind of kept pace. That might sound like balance, but really it is just more of everything.
For the most part, the children prefer this lifestyle hands-down. I can’t speak for Ben, I will let him speak for himself, but the others want to stay on the road forever and wish everyday that Dad could join us. They miss the pets and occassionally miss some sense of home, but after four weeks away and two weeks at this house, it seems they are not really wanting to go home. However, they seem to be wrapping up their interest in being here in this particular spot–can it be the wanderlust in our blood has that short of attention span?
It seems 3-4 weeks is about right in a new place, especially if one is working and can’t spend all day sightseeing. In that case, it takes about two or three times as long to see what one would have seen in a dedicated week and really get to know the surroundings. (Only yesterday was I able to stop using Siri to get to basic places around town.)
And I’m starting to feel that more than a month starts to feel a lot like the same old drill we had at home, but with not quite enough familiarity, not nearly enough time with my significant other, and definitely not enough bandwidth on the Internet, which was been a constant source of stress for an inherently Internet-centered lifestyle and on some days has tripled my work time (and frustration).
But yesterday I finally realized I had way faster internet using my iPhone hotspot on the beach, and the clouds parted and I felt sunny again, although that also will have a cost.
Our next three weekends will be filled with friends and more lively activities, so it should be a good time. Today all five of us played some maniac tennis (everyone on the court with no rules except trying to keep a ball in play) and watched the sunset on the beach while Lucy and Noah swam a little bit, which is a lot more living than I used to do on any given day. Who can put a price on that?
None of this is meant to sound ungrateful, the whole point was to observe the pros and cons and learn what I can about whether working travel is a sustainable way to run a family.
The jury is still out, but I’m hopeful. As I said to David tonight, it is like a tricky puzzle that you pick up and work with, occasionally putting down and saying it’s impossible, then picking back up and trying again. I do that in a figurative sense several times a day with this way of life. I don’t think this puzzle is impossible, it it’s just a little complex, and more often than not, I enjoy the challenge of solving it.