One of the major benefits of running your own business is that you get to dictate your own calendar and vacations, which is why G and I were able to coordinate an incredible, two-week European trip this past summer with our family. One of the negatives, though, is that I don't have anyone who can just step into my exact role, like when I worked at a corporate company. As much as the goal of a vacation is to shut off and unplug, it isn't always a reality for me. That being said, I've made significant improvements from past vacations, so I thought I would share a few of the things I did this summer in the hopes it inspires you to take a break and unplug:
To start, I used to lug around my massive camera and its various lenses so I was able to capture high-quality photos for Instagram and the blog. That also, unfortunately, meant that we were bringing fragile, expensive equipment everywhere we went. I had to ask myself if it was really a compromise to just bring my phone. While it definitely is, I'm still able to capture every little moment without the literal baggage of my camera weighing me down.
I also didn't bring my computer on this trip, which felt like a colossal deal. To be fully transparent, G did have his, which meant I was able to log on if I really needed to, but the decision to leave mine home was a conscious effort that reminded me that I truly did not need it.
My friend, who runs a much bigger company than mine, went so far as to delete the email app from her phone while we were at the airport. It felt like such a baller move, and one that I wasn't quite ready to do but hope to replicate someday. For this trip, I chose to be incredibly intentional. Yes, there were contracts and emails from my manager that needed immediate attention, but there were other things that my team totally took care of.
As a result, I looked at my phone—but only at designated moments. I didn't want my email to gel with the memory of my croissants in the Tuscan countryside, so I saved email check-ins for later in the day, just before lunch, when I also knew people in Los Angeles would be awake and checking in with me. I was able to respond to the things that needed an answer, delete items that were crowding my inbox, and leave things that weren't a priority for when I returned. I also made an effort to not use my phone in front of Sloan. The clear separation reminded me that even though I had a little work to do, I was still on vacation with my family.
One thing that I couldn't completely ignore was Instagram, since it's such a large part of my job. Instead, I approached it with more forgiveness. Before the trip, I told myself that if I didn't post anything at all for an entire day, or a few days, that was okay. Going in with that expectation, I was surprised by how much I wanted to capture content. Getting those little moments on film brought me so much joy, particularly because I was able to look back at what I took (to this day, Sloan still requests to watch our Hawaii highlight). On past trips, I used to exclusively use a diary, logging each moment of our day before bed. The second it started to feel like homework, however, I realized I needed another outlet. Instagram Stories, saved to Highlights, are the perfect way to document delicious meals, beautiful landscapes, and unforgettable family moments. At the same time, I never let it dictate my day. I'd capture the content during the day, which took seconds, then put my phone down instead of posting. At the end of the day, I took advantage of my jet-lag by batch-uploading my Stories in the evening, which was easier to do and allowed my audience to enjoy my trip as a narrative, instead of a piecemeal experience throughout the day.