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Last month, Jennifer and I spent a long weekend in London. I had just completed a project and had some slack time before I started the next and she had a break in her schedule so it seemed a great opportunity to take a micro-vacation.
This trip was strictly for pleasure, we had no business reasons to be there. Which meant we had no need for calendars, planners, call lists, or anything else to keep us from truly enjoying the city however we wanted to. No agenda filled with planned activities meant we had the freedom to simply take in whatever we wanted to whenever we wanted to.
Both of us are driven people who generally live in over-scheduled worlds. Naturally, we don’t have the luxury for a lot of “dead air” in our day-to-day activities. And yet here was an opportunity to do so without any demands placed on us by ourselves or others.
Nonetheless, it was no surprise that our initial expectation of ourselves was to fill in those gaps with plans to see all the usual tourist sites (again). If we were working under our standard operating procedures, we would fill our time there with seeing The Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, or Tower Bridge. In other words, we generally work under the assumption we will maximize our time by constantly moving.
Because of our demanding project schedules and deadlines, we were both tired from the past few weeks prior to going. So the prospect of some well deserved rest started to seem a worthy goal. But nonetheless, that isn’t our style. Usually.
Despite our best intentions, we ended up taking a different path. After arriving after a very long day before and a long flight, a nap seemed a really good idea. That nap led to eating breakfast really late. Which led to not getting an early start on the day. Which led to missing going to the nearby farmers’ market, which led to a total disruption of our plans for the day, which led to…relief.
We were relieved that our low-key, inauspicious start to the trip – unplugged and unscheduled from expectations – was really soothing. Which, in the end, was really the whole point of the trip: to get away and recharge our batteries before going back to the grind.
To some, this might seem like a wasted opportunity. But in reality, we got so much more out of the experience. We got to talk over coffee and slowly enjoy our meals. A long walk on Bond Street one night included savoring some amazing hot chocolate. We had the chance to genuinely connect. That doesn’t happen when you’re constantly checking your watch or on the go in an Uber going from one place to the next.
We learned to maximize our time by relaxing. By not doing. By being unscheduled.
Jenn’s mantra this year is “less” and I agree with her. Sometimes less really is more.