Last year I rented an amazing apartment; it was spacious, filled with light, and had a fantastic kitchen. I was so proud of my beautiful home - I hung curtains and chose art for the walls (no more college posters!) I filled my bookshelves and purchased a large sofa - my first that wasn't a hand-me-down! Alas, I spent less than a quarter of last year there. Each of my projects led me to the far reaches of the United States, a constant adventure that is one of my favorite aspects of my job. When I was afforded a moment's rest, I craved relaxation in my own quiet space.
2011 has been quite the opposite; I have been on a local project for seven months and with a hectic work schedule, I have not had the opportunity to take any vacation time. So as this project draws to a close, I am looking forward to some well-earned downtime between gigs. I cannot stress the importance of establishing personal standards of work-life balance. I have coworkers who will gladly hurl themselves at work every day of the week (and twice on Sunday!) but the majority of us feel the effects of long hours as the months of an intense project cumulate. Making time to visit family becomes a priority when I take time off work, as does spending time doing absolutely nothing at all!
Thankfully, the two work patterns, traveling and staying local, have a habit of balancing out. Now that I am craving leisure travel, I have an abundance of hotel and flight points to use. It is a wonderful built-in reward system for the months spent away from home. Rather than just checking in to another hotel near a client, I'll be checking out of the US and heading to the lovely beaches of Mexico for a week of sun and sand.
And while I look forward to scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, and sipping fruity drinks with little umbrellas, I know that my work will benefit, too. I shall return from my vacation fully rested and ready to undertake the next great adventure. Hasta luego!