Working vacations are a trip, literally. Even more so when you’re passing through your hometown as a part of it. A few weeks ago, Kiana and I went out to California for work--but it was also a welcome respite from the intensity that comes towards the end of a semester. (There was a weekend where I literally did not leave our apartment for three days because I was only working and sleeping.) But it’s also pretty exhausting. We flew out to LA (where we’re both from) on a Wednesday night, drove up a few hours to where we were working, and didn’t really stop except to sleep until Saturday, when we drove back down before our flight Sunday morning.
In the hectic, productive chaos that those few days were, Kiana and I had a few thoughts about mixing business and pleasure.
- It's really hard to switch your brain between two modes. When I'm in New York, I'm usually thinking about some kind of work; school work, internships, and work work take up at least 90% of my time and my brain. While we were in Cuyama (where we were working), I was sometimes having to switch between conversations reminiscing about sleepovers we had growing up and the minutiae of our project. Sometimes I would have to do it in the same sentence.
- It is so rewarding to have people who care as much about a project as you do to kick back with when you declare the workday done. People say shared trauma is the best bonding mechanism. Hard work, I would argue, can do the same thing--it's why we use the turn of phrase "in the trenches" to talk about on site, day-in day-out work. So (when you cans stand each other), its a very close knit community to just hang out with.
- It's really really hard to declare the workday done. I found myself grabbing napkins at dinner, or after dinner, and pulling conversations back to design or layout ideas, despite the fact that we had decided to finish a conversation. When you're invested in a project, and surrounded by other people who are invested in the project, it feels like flipping the off switch will stop what could potentially be the lightbulb idea of the day.
- No matter what, traveling always shakes things up and gives your brain a little room to breathe. Despite working long creatively intense days, just escaping New York, and our little apartment, to the open skies of Cuyama, CA put us in a different rhythm and gave us a boost of energy.
- For two workaholics, there is very little on this earth more satisfying than coming home from a vacation knowing that you've just spent time productively and accomplished so many goals. When we got back to our little place in Manhattan, we were dead tired, jet lagged and achey from our flight. We collapsed on the couch and just stared at the ceiling, kind of in disbelief that we still had another month of finals. But we also couldn't believe the productivity we'd had on our trip and didn't have the same everything-rushes-back-in-at-once flood of panic that I've had on other trips, because I didn't feel like there had been any time wasted.
- It was fun, I still need a real, self-care only, no computers allowed, off the grid weekend.