Many people have written about the importance of taking time off. It’s good for you according to an article in the Huffington Post – “Taking Time Off Can Improve Health and Productivity.”
A lot of people agree with this – an article in US News and World Report said – “45 percent of Americans agreed that “they come back to work feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life” after vacation…”
Some people swear by taking lots of mini-vacations. I’ve talked about that before. My current “job” as a voice talent allows me to take time off pretty much whenever I want – a couple of hours at a time. I do this on a regular basis. Take off on a hike up Cowles Mountain, or down to the Grinding Rocks in Mission Trails. Head out to the beach (when the water is warm enough) to catch some waves on my body board. Take a long walk to the Post Office to check for sacks of money. Putter around the yard. Maybe do some art.
I’m lucky. Not everyone can do this. And, of course, there are days when the schedule is so tight that I can’t break away. But no one is peering over the cubicle wall at me wondering why I got back 10 minutes late from lunch. But, I do spend a LOT of time in my studio in front of the computer.
Getting out of town requires a bit more planning, but it is doable. Mostly on weekends because of class I teach on Monday’s and Wednesdays for a couple of hours. But since I don’t have a travel partner to get away for an adventure somewhere, these slightly longer trips are mostly to attend voiceover or media production related events. Lucky for me, these gatherings are a delightful mix of business and pleasure. Over the past several years, I have been able to get to at least 2 per year.
However, taking a 2-week break is daunting. And rare. My last 2-week break was in 2010 to Germany, Italy and Austria. And I had my laptop with me for auditions. And I stayed for a short while at a friend’s place who owns an audio studio where I did do some actual work. It was a vacation with a little bit of work, a little bit of family and a lot of time on my own with no set agenda.
This time was different in many ways. I left my laptop at home and traveled a full day to (and a full day back from) Bali meeting a dozen smart, funny, adventurous women for 12 days on this amazing island. I may need to watch “Eat, Pray, Love” again to see if I recognize the Bali that it portrayed, because the Bali I saw seemed very different. The bustling center for Art and Music – Ubud – is where we spent most of our time. With the narrow streets filled to capacity with people, scooters, motorbikes and passenger vans, you needed to be aware at all times. But step into a doorway and suddenly that falls away. Restaurants bubble with mouthwatering aromas. Your eyes can hardly absorb the colors and shapes of the flowers and statues. Your very person feels welcomed by the smiles and warmth of the people of Bali.
The trip was organized by Myle Walsh – Water from the Moon Travel – who has been traveling there for more than 30 years and leads small groups (of mostly women – handpicked to invite harmony) through her adopted second home. She surrounds you with wonderful Bali people who share their homes and businesses, their lives, and their time with you. The schedule was fast-paced, but several days at the beach in Amed on the East side of Bali in the middle of our trip offered us time to process what we had seen and done so far and primed us for the rest of the adventure.
Myle’s website says – “The Balinese believe in the balance of life, nature and spirit.” I believe it.
We saw dance and music performances, temples, monkeys and museums. We made art. We cooked. We visited a village school bringing school supplies and toys. They sang us the Indonesian National Anthem. We taught them the Hokey Pokey. We relaxed on the beach. We had massages. Some of us attended a cremation. Some rode elephants. Some rafted. Some rode bikes. We walked in the rice paddys. We shopped. We ate – and we ate – and we all dropped a pound or two in the process.
I was as unplugged as you can get these days with Wi-Fi in every corner of the globe. My time online was spent uploading pictures of the wonderful experiences we had in Bali. Email did come in with a very few needing an immediate response. I did lose at least one job because I wasn’t available. I had to pass on a number of auditions. But other jobs waited for me to get back.
So, now I’m back. After a little “on purpose” down time. What I am finding is that it is taking a little bit of time to just jump back into the pace I’ve been setting. I want to stop and read a book. I want to leave the studio and go find a massage somewhere. I want to gather fresh greens and things from the market and stir fry some Gado Gado.
We’ll see how long this lasts. For right now, I’m basking in the Bali glow.