Do We Really Vacate During Vacation?


I’m sitting here in my home office on a warm, gray Sunday morning.  It’s 10 a.m.  I’m sipping coffee and  sorting through the mixed feelings of the last day of a one-week vacation.  It was all I could fit in this year.  It was a relaxing seven days.  My wife has a video production business that she operates from home.  This means she fits her work in around the three dogs (two Australian cattle dogs and a German Shepherd), her mother who lives with us, cleaning, and meals.  I took over dog and meal duty to give her more time to catch up on projects.  I did the grocery shopping and other running around duties.
I also answered emails, dealt with a few problems as they came up at the office, edited some podcasts and put the near finishing touches on a five-year strategic marketing report.
I didn’t mind the office work.  In fact, it was refreshing to work on projects on my time schedule, not being interrupted by folks walking into the office or phone calls from sales people.
But I did realize that I haven’t, in five years, taken a vacation and totally left the university.  In past years, when we drove across country, which we have on numerous vacations, both my wife and I walk into the day’s motel room, fire up the computers and do business for an hour or two.  Part of this is survival.  At Mansfield University, we have a size limit on our email account.  Mine is always hovering at the limit.  When it goes over, I found out, you can’t access it remotely.  I can’t live without it.  So I check it, answer things that need to be answered and delete the rest.
This year,  during my one-week vacation, I probably spent 15-20 hours doing university work.
It all leads me to wonder if anyone truly takes a vacation anymore.  Or does everyone pack their laptop, Blackberry or other mobile device and keep communication flowing through the cyber umbilical cord?
Does anyone ever totally escape the office anymore?  Be honest.
If you have advice or tips, share them.  Vacation season is about over now, but I, at least, will save any insights for next year.

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