What It Takes to Get Away

Any entrepreneur knows that in order to take a vacation, you have to work doubly hard the week before and the week after. Hmmm…doesn’t seem like quite a getaway to me.

And of course, most entrepreneurs work while “on vacation,” too. I remember as a child, my father spent about an hour a day, no matter where we vacationed, calling back to his company to manage from afar. It was a negotiation between him and Mom – he might’ve spent more than an hour, and she probably wanted him to spend no time on business.

Today, we drive north for my family’s annual vacation in northern Michigan. Then I sprint to San Diego for a conference. Lots of travel. And yet, I can’t neglect my clients here.

Thankfully, I have a small but efficient office team who can manage in my absence. But I still steer the ship. And the past few days have been frenetic as I’ve tried to get a lot done in advance so that I can truly be away, drinking in the northern Michigan air and savoring the moments with my children.

In this country, we’ve got it all wrong. My friend Catherine, from Dublin, now lives in London, where everyone starts their careers with six weeks of paid vacation. Not to mention all the bank holidays. I can’t remember a trip she took that was shorter than 10 days.

When was the last 10-day trip you took?

Just yesterday, I received her latest letter saying that she, the husband and kids will spend 10 days in the south of France, and then she and the kids will head home to Ireland for another 10 days. That’s how they’ll finish up summer.

Said in the ease of a breath, with no expectation that OMG she’s gone from the office for 20 days. (Well, actually, Catherine retired at the ripe age of 39 to be home with the kids more. Her husband John provides for the family. But still. She did this when she was working, too.)

And that’s another thing. She retired at age 39 to focus more on her family. Hmmm…how many Americans even consider such a scenario? We are all work-work-work from the minute we receive that college diploma until, well, some people are working well into their 70s and 80s.

I have a meeting with an 80-something later this month who prepared for her retirement…until about this age. She’s healthier and heartier now than ever before and the money’s running out so she has to figure out a business to sustain her old age. Only in America.

If there’s anything I can do to change the model, you can bet I will. I want to savor my northern Michigan time. I want to go there MORE. I want to go away more, to retreat from the hustle-bustle to the sounds of birds and chipmunks and lake waves lapping against the shore.

I want to BREATHE more, feel more, immerse more in nature. Notice my surroundings, instead of rushing through them.

Know what I mean?

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