The Fine Art of Vacation

Brianne Miller here, LCI’s new biz stalwart.

Back in the Dark Ages (25 years ago) when I first started in this business, vacation was something you took for granted. You pretty much took a week in the summer, a couple of long weekends here and there, and more time around your chosen holiday. The day you left work for your vacation was a little hairy – trying to get someone to cover your phone, reminding everyone (clients included) that you’d be gone, etc. Then you left. A few days or a week later you came back to slog through the mess on your desk and catch up on what went on in your absence.

Fast forward to today. The idea of going on vacation (during this long and arduous recession) is both stressful and more necessary than ever. On the one hand, you don’t want anyone to think, “Gee what does Brianne do again? We didn’t even notice she was gone.” And on the other hand if you don’t really, fully, disconnect for at least a few days…well, the cost related to the psychiatric help you’ll need is debilitating to all. Between crackberries, increasingly available cell phone connections and wi-fi, real vacations are a bit hard to come by.

Here are a few strategies I’ve come up with to take a real vacation:

  • Commit to checking email – but only do it every other day
  • Leave a message on your voicemail that gives an alternative colleague to call for immediate needs – and then don’t check voicemail
  • If you’re in an industry like PR, you could be scaling a volcano but you still need to keep up on the media headlines. Configure an online aggregator to pull important feeds for you and skim them daily on your cellphone. Anyone who takes a laptop on vacation needs an intervention

If your budget keeps you close to home for your vacation, here are a few fun activities you might want to check out:

  • Chicago – the food in the Windy City is to die for – blow that vacation money and go to Avec (http://www.avecrestaurant.com/. It’s like a cross between dinner and a chemistry lesson.
  • Atlanta – the High Museum (http://www.high.org/ is one of the really great, walk able, museums in America. Right now, they’re featuring Monet’s Water Lilies.

  • New York – the Bronx Zoo (http://www.bronxzoo.com/) is beautiful and one of the top zoos in the country. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s in the Bronx (this is coming from a native borough girl!) – mass transit can get you there easily.

  • Los Angeles – the Annenberg Community Beach House (http://beachhouse.smgov.net/) used to be Marion Davies’ coastside getaway – now, it’s renovated, open to the public (with reservations) and an amazing place to laze away a summer day in Santa Monica. You can get a pool pass for your whole family for $24.00.

  • San Francisco – I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for Alcatraz. I’ve been about 5 times. Go on a foggy day and it’s especially spoooooky. http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/

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2 Comments

  1. david Reply

    Brianne – I couldn’t agree more. Getting out and getting unplugged helps get the creative juices flowing. Responding 24/7 to email minutae does not. Remember when we used to put our feet up on the desk and just think? We need to bring back those days and reward employees for thinking rather than just doing. Cheers, David

  2. Jessica Landis Reply

    Thought your readers might want another option for a stay-cation.
    “SF Chefs. Food. Wine.” starts today in Union Square. Looks delicious- wish I could go! And it’s supporting 4 local (to you) charities: the San Francisco Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, and Project Open Hand.

    http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/08/when-it-rains-it-pours-wine-and.html