Photos often show a working holiday as being idyllic, laptop on a sun lounger, floppy hats and a cool drink on the side as you work on your latest project. While I would looove to work like that, my experiences of freelancing during a holiday is nowhere near this picture perfect image!
I’m in Kenya for 5 weeks visiting family until the end of April. I’ve usually had a lot of downtime during past visits, so this time I decided to spend some weeks working as usual.
Boy was I wrong!
Instead of some much needed relaxation time, I’m spending my time trying to steal a few minutes to work, calming a hysterical baby down and juggling family commitments.
Before I went on holiday…(is that what you still call it with two kids?)
As I prepared to go on holiday, I wondered whether I should tell my regular clients I was away or keep working as normal.
I decided to work only 3 of the 5 weeks and take the last 2 weeks off. I was also going to be in a different time zone (7 hours behind Sydney) which could prove a little tricky in case someone tried to call. Also Sydney would be awake while I was asleep. For non-urgent stuff it wouldn’t matter, but just in case a client needed a quick reply, I decided to inform them of my availability.
Here is the email I sent two weeks before I left:

Hi X
A quick email to let you know I’ll be overseas from 24 March to 4 May. I’ll be online and working between these dates only:
27 March to 20 April 2018 (time zone 7 hours behind Sydney)
I’ll be on holidays from 21 April to 4 May.
In case you’d like to contact me, happy to Skype with you between 4-6 pm AEST time. 
Thank you

Most of my clients got back to me immediately and said they wouldn’t bother me while I was away.
While I wasn’t expecting huge amounts of work to come in while I was on ‘holiday’  so far I’ve completed and submitted:

  • an entire website
  • brochure
  • small proofreading jobs

In past trips, I have worked successfully while my parents or relatives looked after my son. This year I haven’t got as much time because I have an 8 month old who howls when someone new so much as looks in her direction!
With projects to deliver, I’ve still had to work. Instead of looking for blocks of time, I’ve tweaked my working style and hours by:

  • working speedily while bub naps
  • working at night after everyone has gone to sleep and the house is quiet
  • doing chunks of work – a page at a time or research in bits and pieces

It’s not an ideal situation but I’m trying to make the best of it.
I’m still hoping I’ll have some time to really think about things, complete unfinished projects, and concentrate as I don’t have housework or other things demanding my attention. I’m hoping bub will settle down soon.
Do you freelance while overseas or do you switch off completely?