Today you can work anywhere with technology and an internet connection, not quite. Two days into my holiday, I was lamenting the choice of an iPad over a laptop, frustrated at the lack of editing capability to complete unfinished tasks and wondering why the phone needed constant charging.
A large group of us travelled for a landmark birthday celebration. There was lots to explore and do, plus local friends from LA visiting for a few days. I was under the foolhardy impression all this activity could be managed, whilst checking emails and responding to ads, but Vegas was having none of it. My already sporadic sleeping pattern was wrecked after a restless 10-hour flight and the minus 8-hours time difference. In addition cool oxygen or air conditioning constantly pumped around indoors created a strange state of wakefulness, at odds with the low lighting. The absence of natural light inside meant it could be any time of the day or night.
By day three I was resigned to not getting any meaningful work done. I consoled myself with my journal, listened to wise supportive words from lifelong friends, took peaceful, reflective pool time and allowed my shoulders to come down.
The Las Vegas strip is far more modern and tame than I envisaged. I expected carnage and debauchery at every turn, but there was an air of relaxed calm and I saw no police presence for the entire trip. Vegas is definitely a tourist trap – shopping and gambling are prevalent, with the buildings meticulously designed to keep people inside and spending. When it all became too dizzying, I focussed on what I was looking forward to most – the Grand Canyon.
Stepping down to the first observation point at the Grand Canyon was a jaw-dropping, surreal sight. The scale was completely overwhelming. The colours, the altitude, the age (millions of years old), 18 miles wide, the bluest sky and the crazy people standing perilously close to the edge for that perfect shot. There would be no memento or photograph that could fully encompass the magnitude of what my eyes witnessed.
All my senses were buzzing and I felt sure this state of awe would produce a sign, epiphany or something to help catapult my business to the next level (I have watched far too many Hollywood films). That did not happen, but I was compelled to take away a reminder of the experience, preferably some rock. A rounded palmful of rose quartz captured the right feeling. Still enthralled on the journey back to the hotel, I wondered why I had not been struck with a burst of inspiration or wisdom, then it dawned on me.
This holiday wasn’t about introducing more mayhem into my life, creative or otherwise. It was about having a break, the opportunity to reconnect with like minds and learning to accept help when it was offered, a welcome change. There was no need to look for answers or a miracle fix, the tools and knowledge are already within, they just need to be applied.
I have returned refreshed and ready. Wardrobes, shoe racks and bookshelves have been cleansed. Practical, ergonomically friendly, office furniture has been purchased. The freelance world may be rocky, but with the right tools and frame of mind it will be managed.