It turns out I'm pretty rotten at writing series blog posts in general. This will be the third installment of this series & the last. Our Cape Cod trip ended & we're home now so I thought I'd summarize the experience in a final conclusion post.
Coming home turned out to be the most stressful part of the whole experience. As with most things, Murphy loves to terrorize a situation at the most inopportune times. Friday night before we headed back we went out to dinner one last time. I was on-call & sure enough disaster struck. We suffered a major event at work just as my food arrived & there was nothing I could do but hop online at the restaurant table to start fixing things pronto. I felt terrible as my family ate in relative silence around me wishing I could be part of their evening with them. I was frustrated by the waiter who just carried on with this job as if I wasn't doing anything stressful or out of the ordinary. He really didn't even seem to mind or notice that he was interrupting me repeatedly while I was neck deep in an issue. Not to say that he was rude or anything, just not particularly empathetic of the circumstances.
Anyhow, the situation was resolved & things were relatively back to normal. I quickly ate my dinner while my family waited patiently. We headed out & enjoyed the remainder of the evening without interruption.
The next day we began the trek homeward. Speeding down Highway 95 I received a text from a co-worker who noticed something wasn't quite right. I told him I would find a place to stop to look at things. Shortly after that I received more texts from the co-worker who began to realize that the situation was worse than orginally thought. Trying to communicate with my co-worker while looking for a place to pull over & at the same time communicate everything with my wife who was leading in a different car turned into a massively stressful challenge. I decided to pull over immediately & grab the laptop. There we sat on the shoulder of a bustling highway me with my laptop & my wife & kids wondering how long this was going to take. Unfortunately the situation turned out to be more complicated than I had expected & we ended up being stuck there for the good part of an hour before I was finally able to resolve the issues. But the issues were resolved & we were back on our way. It'd figure that not 30 seconds after pulling back on the highway we saw a sign for a parking area one mile down the road!
Monday rolled around again & I went back to work. It was a little odd being back in my home office with the big screens, keyboard, mouse & real desk again. The odd thing was that I had the urge to be out somewhere working away from home again. I planned to meet a co-worker for lunch & to work together from a cafe for the afternoon. His schedule didn't work out but I worked at a local cafe regardless. The next day we planned to meet again & actually did.
Generally I found the whole experience to be less of a disruption to my normal schedule as I had expected. The week following my time off on the Cape was more difficult as the weather was nice again & I kept wanting to be back out there with my family doing the things we enjoyed the week before. I think my family felt the same way. We were there on the Cape but no longer looking forward to the vacation time together as a family.
I think overall three weeks was a bit too long when I had to work two of them. Doing it again I think I'd plan two weeks & make it all vacation so I could truly disconnect. Another plan we've tossed around is the idea of a road-trip vacation where we spend a large bulk of our time just traveling from one place to the next. Again, I think I would have to think twice about working during this trip even though I could & instead just take the time off to focus on family.
Really remote work does work but it requires a different kind of discipline than even just working from home. It requires you to be plugged in & online even when your family is off having fun in a new location. It requires being disciplined in a foreign environment. These are all things that need to be considered before doing a trip like this & you need to decide whether a working trip makes sense or if it'd just be better to take vacation time to focus on spending the time with family.