25 days away, several countries, strangers, covid tests at every turn. + connecting in person with awesome people I’ve only met on Zoom, and reconnecting with my business partner Dave.
After not travelling since March 2020, I needed a break, a change of scenery. Anything. I felt like I wasn’t living as I wanted, I was making all kinds of trade-offs, I was exhausted, burned out, barely surviving. After all, I left the crushing corporate world and started my own business in order to have freedom, help people bring their best, and to travel – and I wasn’t living it. To thrive and feel alive, I need a paradox of adventure, connection and solitude.
I wanted to reset, refocus, re-energize, and reconnect with myself and others to elevate my own performance. And this is the core of my ongoing quest – aliveness and bringing the best of me to the world, helping others do the same.
The experiment: Solo, 25 days, Barbados + Caribbean cruise + Austin, TX + LA to Vancouver cruise to catch a ride home to Canada. Can I work AND exercise AND rest AND have fun AND explore/adventure AND get shit done – essentially can I live and work in a more integrated way more true to myself and be productive?
The result: YES; I need to be intentional and have structure AND be open and adapt. These polarities seem to be in opposition, however are both required.
Key discoveries & rediscoveries:
- Possibility: Yes it is possible to live this big adventure. You make it possible. The world is not the world – you create it. How you show up and experience: Body + Mind.
- Tech: The WiFi on Royal Caribbean worked well enough for me to work, even have client meetings, and run workshops – mostly. Good enough is part of the path to freedom, if you + clients are open to adapt.
- Me: The more I learn, the less I know – having conversations, growing my perspective is incredibly enriching. It feels like living on the edge (as a highly introverted person), but “a little scary” conversations with strangers is the edge of awesome.
Overall, it was interesting how people responded when they saw me working. The world on a cruise ship is different; people sit down with random people, strike up conversations. It’s part of the environment created by the crew – collegial, warm, a team or family all in this together.
There were 2 distinct camps when people talked to me about what I was doing “on my laptop”, or as I explained I had meetings that morning and would go off the ship to explore in the afternoon.
- One group simply thought there was something seriously wrong with me – why would you work – you’re on vacation – they’re 2 different things – don’t you get that?
- The other group was fascinated, congratulatory and within a few minutes trying to figure out how they could do the same – how could I make this happen?
Some people commented “It’s amazing that your meetings with collaborators lined up with the cruise ports, wow!” Yeah, it wasn’t magical. I set that up.
What I did: I mostly worked half days, some full days, and several days in between where I didn’t open my laptop, simply did adventures and took my little idea notebook along to record any flashes of creativity. I got a lot done, and was more Me.
I renewed through: kayaking in the Caribbean + Catalina; swimming with stingrays in the ocean in the wild; watching whales do their thing & dolphins play in nature; meeting wonderful spirited people in Dominica, Antigua, Grenada, and on the ships; great music, exquisite food & drinks; BBQ, live music, reconnecting with Dave in Texas; connecting with great collaborators in every cruise port I could – Alex, Andrea, Brooke, Doug, Chris!
What I didn’t expect: I realized how integrated my work and life already is, its meaningfulness to me, and how fortunate I am to have created that. I work at home, on a cruise ship, in a hotel, an Airbnb, a car, a train, a plane, a bar. Simultaneously I can also connect, live, experience life, and take a break in all these places and that can all happen at once. Cool. Awesome.
When I arrived home May 1, I was happy to reconnect with people here at home. I felt renewed and re-energized. Now, I’m mulling over how to help the world operate in a more work-cation way to help people bring their very best performance to the world.
This week’s work-cation: I’m going to watch Conor Geekie and the Winnipeg Ice play 2 hockey playoff games in Moose Jaw, doing client work & leadership education workshops from my Airbnb.