Travel for Business & Pleasure: Blurring the Lines

In #PR and in life we talk a good game about balance, but rarely do we achieve it.  Much of the time, we prioritize work or if we can get away, we try to stave off our to-do list for a day or two only to become even more stressed upon our return. Last week, for the first time EVER in my career,  I somehow discovered the perfect formula that allowed me to keep my work flow moving forward, to enjoy new sights and family time, and  to experience a less dramatic re-entry.

My husband and I completed a half marathon while our daughter ran the full 26.2 miles in Eugene, OR.
My husband and I completed a half marathon while our daughter ran the full 26.2 miles in Eugene, OR.

Looking back, there were three elements that made this possible:

  1. Select a Multi-Purpose Destination

My daughter (from NYC), and my husband and I (from FL) knew we wanted to do a destination race in April or May, so we researched the half and full marathons taking place in the U.S. during the spring season.  When my daughter suggested Eugene, OR, I knew that was the right one.  First, none of us had ever explored the Pacific Northwest and as outdoorsy, active people, we were excited to discover new and beautiful territory.  Second, it turns out that one of my clients, Laurel Hill, is located right in downtown Eugene – this was the perfect opportunity to schedule face-to-face time with my client, the distributor and the staff.  Working together virtually for nearly six months, this was a great opportunity to learn how their operation worked, and to get inspired with new ideas on how to create awareness of their unique, high quality knitting needles, crochet hooks and myriad selection of fiber arts tools.

After spending our first day getting acclimated to fun and fabulous Eugene, we met with Laurel Hill’s owner Rick Brown and his lovely wife Lynda.  They gave us a first-class tour of their city and we enjoyed the area’s excellent and varied cuisine.

Hendricks Park was in full bloom - we walked and talked with Rick & Lynda.
Hendricks Park was in full bloom – we walked and talked with Rick & Lynda.
Carbing up for the Eugene Marathon at Voodoo Doughnut - delicious!
Carbing up for the Eugene Marathon at Voodoo Doughnut – delicious!

 

 

 

 

Rick Brown, owner of Laurel Hill, took me on a tour of his showroom and distribution warehouse.
Rick Brown, owner of Laurel Hill, took me on a tour of his showroom and distribution warehouse.
LaurelHill
Laurel Hill offers knitting needles, crochet hooks and every type of fiber arts tool you can imagine.
BrysonDisplay
Bryson Distributing is filled with gorgeous displays and a vast inventory of fiber arts gizmos and gadgets.
BrysonDistributing
The amazing staff at Bryson Distributing does everything from stocking their huge warehouse, to taking orders from around the world, to shipping to every destination near and far.

2. Add Days When You’re Away

If you are traveling a long distance (i.e., a 7-hour plane ride), it’s a good idea to build in a few days for sightseeing and adventures.  After the Race and two days of meetings in Eugene, our next stop was Portland, aptly named the Rose City.  We visited as many sights as possible including: the Nike Company Store,  the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Oregon Zoo,  International Rose Garden, Powell’s Books, Salt & Straw Ice Cream and lots more.

The Columbia River Gorge - so beautiful!
The Columbia River Gorge – so beautiful!

 

 

 

RoseGarden
A rose by any other name…all of them were at the International Rose Garden!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final destination: Seattle – we only had two days left but we hit a lot of the highlights: the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum,  EMP Museum, Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium (love those otters!), a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island and more – whew!

What an amazing and talented artist - Dale Chihuly's works are a colorful and intricate integration of art and nature!
What an amazing and talented artist – Dale Chihuly’s works are a colorful and intricate integration of art and nature!
EMP
The EMP Museum was fascinating – from rock ‘n roll to video games to movie memorabilia – so much to see!
PikePlaceMarket
We tried the chowder, the baked goods and the cheese – then we walked for miles so I think it all evened out.

3. Keep Up with Work at Your Leisure

There was much to do during the day but since we were in a different time zone, there was ample time to check and answer emails, keep up with conference calls, and check the status of ongoing projects.  Since I had let my clients and cohorts know in advance that I would be out of town, they expected that I would not be as immediately responsive as usual, but that I would respond that same day. It took the pressure off during daylight hours when we were exploring, but at the same time, no work situations went unanswered. Surprisingly, there were enough hours in the day to do it all.

This formula worked for me and for my clients – at least for this time.  I plan to apply these three tenets again next time I travel, and hope it will result in the same stress-free, yet productive, way.

How are you achieving (or not achieving) a work/life balance? I would love to know!