Monday, March 23, 2015

Experience & lessons from my first Workcation

This post is #8 in a #17 post series about workcations. The learn more about workcations and see the full eBook, check out Workcation. Have the best life now! on Amazon. It's free to borrow, if you have a Kindle device or Amazon Prime. 

The idea of having a bonfire, sleeping in a tent, showering, and returning to work may not excite everyone, but it warmed my spirit! I felt I became so accustomed to the comforts of my house – running hot shower, comfortable bed, and toilet – as well as the comforts of technology – including watching programmed DVR television, perfectly arranging my Netflix queue, responding to email at a moment’s notice  – that I lost touch with unplugging during the workweek. The idea of going somewhere local and unplugging for a few days, while still going to work and contributing during the day, made me feel I could have the best of both worlds – a stable career and dedicated time to relax.

My first workcation was spring 2013 for two days at Doheny Campground, a surfer’s campsite retreat along the beach in southern Orange County. It was from Tuesday-Thursday. I was reluctant to tell my coworkers what I was doing outside work, as I didn’t want to worry about how the lingering smell of campfire may distract from team meetings and projects. I invited a few friends to join me on the adventure. Although the idea seemed too radical or irrational to most, one of my best friends, Wally, joined me in the adventure and we were off!

On Tuesday night, Wally and I arrived at the campsite after work around 5:30PM and had sense of giddiness. For the first time in a long time, we were breaking out of our comfort zone by simply breaking upon our tents on the beach. An activity that is supposed to be enjoyed during “vacation hours” or “on the weekend” suddenly became an adventure, as we broke out of our normal routines and found time to relax. We turned off our phones, made camp, and enjoyed a bonfire complete with BBQ and s’mores.

We woke up the next morning with a sense of reawakening to our senses. Instead of turning on the coffee pot and heading into the shower, we jumped into the Pacific and went for a swim. The ocean’s chill temperature refreshed the body and the pounding waves helped awaken the senses. We were alive! The day was fresh and full of opportunity!

The first full work day after the workcation was exciting. I felt like I had a secret. The real secret wasn’t that I went camping the night before, but that I knew of a way to recharge, refresh, and reclaim a feeling of independence and hope. I felt that I had unplugged from the life around me and was able to reconnect and replug with a fresh perspective and sense of engagement. The lingering, but small odor from campfire didn’t slow down my workday. I actually found myself more productive during the day – both as motivation to return to the campsite again, as well as having the time to be unplugged from our constantly plugged in society. These were only the feelings after the first night of the workcation! I was excited for night two!

Wally and I returned to the second night of workcation with a larger crowd. Several of our friends, including Ashley, my beautiful girlfriend and now wife, joined us for a bonfire. Some of our friends were amazed that we returned to work after camping the first night and others thought it was a little crazy. No matter what our friends thought, this is what their own opinion. I had learned to be less concerned with their thought and appreciate my own experience, which was that it was refreshing, different and placing me more in touch with my friends and myself.

We finished the second night of the workcation, returned to work, and put behind our past as we started to focus again on our future. The workcation was almost a respite and restart button that helped trigger a new sense of purpose. Similar to starting the New Year fresh with a clean slate of resolutions, the workcation was an opportunity to evaluate our life direction and put into focus what was important to us.   

It’s amazing how vivid the memories of that experience still are. I’ve probably worked hundreds of days since then and I may not be able to tell you what I did last week during the work week, as it falls into my normal routine. However, when we break out of our comfort zone and routine, we are able to enjoy more of ourselves and create lasting memories that carry on for years and possibly even a lifetime.

I can go on and on about the details of the first overnight workcation, but this book is not about me, it’s about YOU! And the rest of this book is to help you get started with your own workcation! Even if it’s a small workcation, such as a short walk in a park after work, or an extended overnight adventure, it’s time to get started!

To learn more about how you can enhance your life, check out Workcation. It's available to borrow for free via an Amazon Kindle.  

No comments: