I just got back from a week-long trip to California with my family. My business and pleasure trip is summed up below PLUS my “ah-ha’s” from my time off. I cannot endorse unplugging to recharge enough! It is wonderful to be home, but wow, is it great (personally and professionally) to get away!

My vocation and vacation week summed up:

  1. Flew into the Santa Barbara airport on a Friday. The way author David Sedaris describes the airport in this Conde Nast Traveler post is spot on! The following day, I taught an all-day course on Personal Branding (how to manage your brand using social media, appearance and communications) at my alma mater Antioch University Santa Barbara. Below is me at lunch on the open air patio on the roof of the university (I know, rough place to work, right?!) I had lunch ALONE (which is really rare and decadent as the mom of a 4-year old).
    lorrie houchin thomas ross
  2. In a short 48 hours in Santa Barbara, I taught (one of my fave things to do EVER) and got to see family, friends and be back in the beautiful city that I called home for 17 years. I LOVE teaching, fuels my soul! (and the hubs and my kiddo had a blast at the Santa Barbara Zoo and seeing friends and family!)
  3. Spent a few days in Big Sur. The hubs loves to drive (I…not so much). But he REALLY wanted to see Big Sur (and he booked a nice hotel! Smart man!) so we drove the windy and stunning drive up the California coast and savored stellar family time. Ice cream road stops, pull offs to see Elephant Seals (they are incredible!), beach hikes, dining at Nepenthe and singing out loud in the car to Putmayo Music’s Cowboy Playground CD (click the link, the music is a hoot!
    I clearly had some spring in my step on the beach hike! HA!
    Hiking with my little love in Big Sur!
  4. We left Big Sur and headed to San Luis Obispo (where I had a speaking engagement for a women’s organization) where we got to stay at the Historic Madonna Inn. I had no idea what to expect (all I knew is they had a famous “caveman room” and the guy’s restroom had a rock waterfall urinal (hell yes I went in to look!). All I can say is WOAH, and WOW! The hotel was beyond our expectations! The pool was fabulous, the decor was outrageous (think pink then multiply that times 300) and they even had a “little ladies” toilet and sink which rocked my 4 year old’s world. The hotel had it’s historic original look but with nice updates…it was kitchic! (that’s kitchy + chic!) I practiced my talk the night before I gave my presentation and my little lady happily helped serve as a sample female audience. (The speech to the big ladies the next day went well!)
    Rehearsing my talk with my biggest critic.
  5. After Santa Barbara, Big Sur and San Luis Obispo, we were off to Fresno (we call it Fres-YES!) to see some family friends then flew out of FAT (the coolest airport acronym ever) and came home.

It’s taken me a few days to catch up with work (and laundry!) after the trip and reflect. Now that I have successfully Unplugged and Recharged, here are my charged up post trip ah-ha’s:

  1. I really like my work. Friends and family I saw on my trip repeatedly said “too bad you had to work on your vacation” but that is not how I saw it at all! My vocation is like a vacation most of the time. I am really fortunate that I paved a career path for myself based on doing work that I love. I completely unplugged from my daily digital web marketing agency work at Web Marketing Therapy, and was so excited to speak and teach. I still pinch myself over the fact that my work allows me to travel to great places and that I can wrap my work around seeing people I love who are now across the country (I’m an Atlanta girl now!)
  2. My partner is really my partner. Like Cheryl Sandberg says in her “Why we have too few women leaders” TED talk, she talks about how women “need to make their partner their partner.” This trip reinforced how much of a partner he is. The hubs is SO supportive of my work (so much he willingly takes paid vacation to travel with me and be with our daughter while I work!). He is a wonderful dad, spouse and friend…and he’s pretty stinking handsome too! Yeow!
  3. I really, really, reeeealllly love my family. Travel is one of the best ways to see the best (and worst!) in people. Traveling with my big love and little love on planes, car, in hotels and in friend’s guest rooms for over a week gave me the gift of being in the present with my life’s biggest presents. I cannot say enough how much I value them and how much I adore everything about them.
  4. I wouldn’t be where I am at today without my coworkers, friends and family. This was probably the FIRST time in over a decade that I felt 100% secure unplugging from my digital marketing agency for over a week. My team rocks. Seriously, seriously rocks. Sure, I checked work email (come on, I am a wild web woman, right??!!) but it was such a great feeling to know things were rocking and rolling in my absence. I think that one of the #1 reasons men succeed professionally is that they are better delegators. The more I delegate to great people on my team, the more we grow. On this trip I got to see my nieces, nephews, sister-in-law (technically my ex-sister-in-law from my wasband’s side, 19 years later we are still super friends…how cool is that!?) and dear friends. While I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted while we were there, we did do a lot in a short time.
  5. I really love where I live. Coming home to Serenbe is like coming into a vacation from vacation. I love my neighbors, this incredible community and the wonderful life we get to live here.

Making a priority to be with people we love and doing what we love is a family rule.

I could have taken this California trip alone and spent nights alone in hotels and whooped it up with friends without my family, but that is not who I am or what I value. My daughter has taken every business trip with me, mostly thanks to my supportive husband who helps us live our values.

We cannot pour from an empty cup.

You cannot pour from an empty cup - unplug to recharge!
You cannot pour from an empty cup – unplug to recharge!

When we unplug, it recharges us. While I didn’t unplug 100% from all my work on this trip, I unplugged from 80% of the work I normally do to speak and teach, wrapping the time around seeing friends, family and new destinations.

I used to feel sooooooooo guilty for taking time off. The reasons why warrant a whole other blog post. Now, as a parent, I feel more guilty for not taking more time off.

Life is precious, we need to savor every moment and live a life that allows us to offer value…but in line with our values….this blog is where I voice my tremendous belief in more women voicing their value and values so we live happier, healthier and wealthier lives!

Thanks for reading!