Keeping Work At Work

I took October 5-9 off for a staycation at home.  I was getting too burned out to do a good job for my clients and colleagues.  I admit, however, that I took my work laptop and and a testing file home in the event I had some extra  time to finish an evaluation  report,  and so I could check my work emails.

I am proud to say that the evaluation report is unfinished.  I checked my emails a couple of times, but not obsessively, and I didn’t reply to any of them. It was hard to be a “participant-observer” watching what people were doing but not responding.

This week was spent resting, cooking, and cleaning.  I didn’t realize how tired I was, and I napped a lot. I could probably use another week off, but I need to get back.

What was your best vacation ever?  How hard has it been for you to leave work at work?

60 thoughts on “Keeping Work At Work”

  1. So many to choose from: BWCA trips, a golf pilgrimage to Bandon Dunes and then a tour around southern and eastern Oregon. Pretty much any trip to Banff National Park or the Canadian Rockies. Our one-month circumnavigation of the western half of the US and Canada in 1982 in a no-AC, no power-steering, no cruise control ’78 Toyota Corolla hatchback; our honeymoon 3-week trip to Cape Cod and back; our 10th anniversary in Toronto; our first trip to Europe in 1986 (Berlin before the wall came down, Switzerland, the Burgundy region of France) . . .

    I could go on and on. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have mostly excellent vacations. Some clinkers and problems now and then, but I’d say a 95% success rate.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Like Chris, I have experienced so many wonderful vacations. It is hard to pick a top favorite. With each vacation you must be prepared for difficult days with travel problems, lost luggage, or an absence of potties. Once you accept that part, then the problems become part of the fun. The other secret is to hire transportation from the airport to the hotel when the city is new and you do not know that public transportation system. I am too tired and overwhelmed when I exit the plane to function until after the nap at the hotel.

    My top three vacays:

    1. Rome for 12 days—2009
    2. N. Ireland for 2 weeks—2017
    3. Road trip through the American West with kids—1993

    I find that the secret to leaving work behind on a vacation is to fully engage in the minute to minute experience of the new place—finding the map, getting from here to there, walking a lot, learning the transportation system, enjoying the site I just finally found, marveling in the uncharted experiences that Rick Steves does not mention. A half day of this guarantees disengaging from my life at home. Then when I come back to it, I have perspective on my life and my self.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I have not traveled much. I dream of traveling to the British isles, Italy, Greece, South America, or an island with blue sky and water and unpopulated white sand beaches… I can’t afford this kind of travel and I will have to choose wisely someday because it’s likely that I will only get to go once.

    I have had vacations, though. Some of the best vacations were spent at home, regenerating my own spirit. Others were trips to the North Shore or the UP of Michigan and hiking in the Porcupine Mountains. I try to travel lightly. I enjoy staying in hotels but it costs too much for me. I have begun a search for a conversion van or camper so that I can travel more easily under my own power.

    I do have trouble leaving work behind. Even now, as a partially retired person, I have trouble with it. I truly care about the people in the home where I work. There is a problem hiring good, caring people. Nurses don’t want a job that I have loved. I worry that the care will not be as good in the future. It’s hard to let go.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. “. . . I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes. Clyde. Had a crisis to deal with most of the day. Meant to explain right away. And it is the opening of Moby Dick minus Call me Ishmael.


      2. Yes, Clyde. Crisis took me away. Sorry. I meant to explain right away. Opening of Moby Dick, as VS says, minus call me Ishmael.


  5. Trips abroad have been wonderful and memorable. Standing on the farm that was my great-great grandfather’s in Norway is, hands down, at the top of that list. Meeting one of the leaders of the (original) Sandanistas in Nicaragua was also pretty great. Performing in London also in the top group of experiences.

    What I have grown to appreciate in the “unplug and just sit for awhile” way, though, are the annual trips Daughter and I take up to Gull Lake. I have gotten better about not checking work email, ignoring IMs (except the “Dogs” channel on Slack… because cute dogs, even if they live with co-workers, don’t count as “work”), and letting the lake be my rhythm for the day. This year I finished the book I brought to read on day 2, so (darn) had to go find another one. I am also trying to be good on my weekends now to leave time to just sit – not working in the yard or gardens, not doing housework, just sitting and reading or something else that lets me “not do” for awhile.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Acting with a youth theater that did a 3-week tour in parks and schools and a few other places. The highlight was playing Eeyore in “Winnie the Pooh,” first performance was at a school where a student named Charlie became my one-person fan club, and we had a week at the Polka Children’s Theater in Wimbledon. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”
    “I have traveled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.”
    “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The only times I had trouble leaving work at work were if one of my primary patients was doing poorly (“circling the drain”) – I would think of them and worry about receiving the worst news via a phone call. As to best vacations – there are really too many to list. Internationally, probably the best were (in no particular order): Australia/New Zealand, Patagonia, Kenya & Tanzania safari; Morocco; Peru. The hottest were Egypt, Brazil, and Vietnam. One of the most memorable was Iceland – we were there on 9/11, flight home delayed by one day, then the flight being diverted to Winnipeg due to airspace closing, spending the night in Winnipeg, home by bus the next day (at the intersection of the major north/south highway, the driver turned NORTH. I had to tell him we were going the wrong way!). Closer to home, I have really enjoyed trips to some of our National Parks (mostly out west). My favorite places include mountains and water. Since COVID, I have finally explored some parks, reserves, etc. right in my own backyard.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Our France trip in 2015 has to be right up at the top, and I’ve written a lot here about that. Last year’s destination wedding in Maui was also wonderful. When son Joel was alive, we had some memorable car trips in the VW camper – Rocky Mtn. Colorado and Utah come to mind, And the Bay Area when his cousin was able to come with us.

    My/our train trips are perhaps my favorite though – there is so much time to absorb what’s going on. You get to rest after the rush of “getting out of Dodge”, and then you get to rest after the flurry of the vacation.

    These days work has taken on a new meaning, and whatever is up this week becomes work. Sometimes it’s getting everything to fit into the schedule, sometimes it’s puzzling out how to contact people without actually meeting. If something is on my mind, I have a hard time not obsessing about it – this seems moreso since the pandemic, and all this election crap.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Afternoon-

    I have a hard time leaving work behind.
    If it was the farm back when I was milking, there is always concern about who was doing it and what details might be slipping.
    The chickens are much more forgiving.
    Last fall we went to Duluth for a long weekend. But I also had an event coming into the theater the following week that needed some details worked out so we did a conference call from the road. It didn’t bother me, I was just riding in the car anyway, but Kelly was very put out that I could not get away from work.
    On the one hand, I pride myself on making your event go well. On the other hand, can I just have a couple days vacation??

    I think each vacation has something special about it that makes it pretty memorable.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. I don’t do extended vacations well, ten days is about my limit. If I’m away from home longer than that, I miss my animals. Besides, I don’t make a very good tourist. The notion of being in a place where there are a number of sights and places that I need to see, or museums I should
    browse, doesn’t appeal to me, and I find it tiring. Of course, I’ve done some of that, but I much prefer discovering things at a more leisurely pace. My year-long explorations in Switzerland while I was working in Basel provided that opportunity. Likewise, my work in Moscow allowed me to get to know that great city in a much more intimate way. Greenland during the summer was a marvelous place to explore with a bunch of pretty crazy coworkers.

    Camping trips in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were wonderful, as were camping in the BWCA and other state parks. We’ve enjoyed week-long stays in friends’ cabins on various Minnesota lakes and loved every minute of it, but I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite, there’s so much about each experience that I treasure. Our trips to Mexico, to visit old friends and spend some quality time together hold great memories as well.

    As a youth, I toured various parts of Denmark on my bicycle with a couple of friends, staying in youth hostels along the way. That’s also how I traveled back to Denmark from Switzerland. No agenda, just pedaling from place to place, and enjoying the company of whomever I met at the hostels. Sharing meals, stories, and recommendations as to which places were worth a visit, which hostels were especially nice, and often resulting in some serious detours. Those were the days.

    Much of my traveling has been for work, and I’ve always tried to combine that with a few extra days off to explore the area. This was all before the advent of the laptop computer and the cell phone, so unless there was an extreme emergency, I was blissfully unaware until I got back home.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Italy.
    Today is my last day of work. I never have physically taken work home but mentally, all the time. Work used to be enjoyable for me but now it’s demoralizing. Nothing but fixing other people’s problems and horrible hours. 2 PM start times for months on end. (I’m at work now) And my left hand, shoulder and knee hurt. Tuesday I’ll get checked out by my Doctor. Might need to up the arthritis meds. Now would be a good time for me to take what history called The Grand Tour. London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Berlin.
    I’ve got the money but there’s that damn C19.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Last day of work? Are you retiring? Or is it the last day of this particular job?

      Sorry about your pains, Wes. Just as some of us have accumulated the funds to take whatever we think of as The Grand Tour, the damn body starts failing, and if that weren’t enough, we’re hit with a global pandemic. I’m pinning my current hopes on the election that perhaps we can find the collective will to return to some sort of normalcy. Hang in there, buddy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Visit soon. To Itasca. But can’t live anywhere cheaper than here. Rent 450. Utilities 100. My biggest expense is phone, internet, tv 250. Close to my Dad and sister.

        Liked by 4 people

  12. I have always been excellent at leaving work at work. It’s not even a talent that I’ve had to cultivate, I’ve just always had it. In fact being on furlough has made me realize that I just don’t think about work at all when I’m not there. I even have to write it down to remind myself to turn the work PC on once a week to make sure that there haven’t been any programming downloads.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I’m not sure I can pick a best vacation. I have been so lucky to not only travel extensively for work but I have had some fabulous vacations with Toddler, then Child, the Teenager, now Young Adult

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have such a pathetic Travel history compared to you all, except for business travel, which did include some pleasure. Visiting villages across top of Alaska by small plane tops list. I doubt I will ever travel even to North Shore again. My early morning coffees on patio, about to end soon, are my favorite trips these days. Just bought only third tank of gas since February.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. That’s an excellent suggestion. That and a nice blanket to cover the lower extremities. In Denmark, restaurants with outdoor seating have offered both for several years. Of course, the outdoor season in Denmark is often hampered by winds, rain and cool temps, but with a little effort you can still enjoy outdoor dining if somewhat protected from the elements.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy news here. My son and his fiancée are getting married today at Milwaukee Ave Peace Park at 5pm across the street from Their house. They are live-streaming it to family and friends. Lou and I are witnesses And only guests. They are so excited and happy.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Wonderful! Congrats! I know too many young people who are putting off their wedding because they want it to be the way they imagined a perfect wedding would be pre-Covid. I say might as well get on with life!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s such a fabulous story, Bill. I wouldn’t mind hearing some of the details that you left out first time around. Did you take any pictures there?


  16. I only have one worst vacation story. At the very end of my first marriage, when wasband and I should not have been traveling anywhere together, we took a camping trip out west to Yellowstone and Lake Louise. We didn’t actually fight the whole way but we disagreed about everything and then at the very end we had a spectacular fight about Wall Drug. We separated less than 30 days after this trip.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. bills story reminds me of my bad doug story

    i have had many good vacations starting with the old vw van ages 16 17 and 18
    6 week uk trip before children
    trips to yellowstone and orlando with family when kids were little
    europe with daughter who studied abroad based in florence. trains to venice vienna prauge budapest bonn innsbruck milan lake come
    and last christmas other daughter finished travel abroad in london so we enjoyed paris and london and got back just before they shit it down
    business trips to italy uk spain germany turkey china thailand indonesia make me smile
    i have no trouble enjoying business trips and enjoying the people i’m with
    ely leach lake livingston montana and mountains will be back in play soon

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Interested to hear how you prevented yourself from completed the report/switching of from work etc? WFH has certainly blurred the lines between work time and personal time and it’s been a constant struggle not to check my emails every now and then in the evening!


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