If you’re like most freelancers, it’s been awhile since you took a real, prolonged vacation. Your great-uncle’s funeral doesn’t count; neither does that weekend lost to catching up on Game of Thrones. If you’re sitting there thinking, “How dare you, Interweb Blogger! I’m sure that’s not correct!” but you cannot remember the last time you took an ACTUAL SIGNIFICANT BREAK from work – welcome to the club.

You are a freelance-aholic, like the rest of us, and it is time that we are dragged kicking and screaming away from our projects for a bit.

Without further ado, I present to you: A Freelancer’s Guide to Vacations.

#1: What is a Vacation?

It is understandable that we need a brush-up, as “prolonged relaxation” may now be associated in our minds exclusively with “coma.” A vacation is at least a week or so away from our work. Yes, completely away. No, we may not sneak in some small project in the mornings, before our partner wakes up. No, we may not answer non-essential emails or field client calls while pretending to watch our kids (nieces? pets?) learn to waterski. We are going to be NON-FREELANCING PEOPLE with OUTSIDE INTERESTS for ONE WEEK if it KILLS US.*

*(Doctors advise that it will probably not kill us.)

#2: Why Shall We Do This – what is it called again - “Vacation?”

Because it is good for us and we do not want to become freelance automatons* who obsess endlessly about getting work and doing work and succeeding at work until we fold in on ourselves like a neurotic, self-flagellating supernova.

Also people have started suggesting we might need one but WHAT DO YOU KNOW MOM hahaha sob.

*Although freelance automatons woulllld be very efficient…

#3: How Shall We Prepare for This “Vacation?”

We will pick a place. We will pick a time. We will alert our clients. We will drop money on plane tickets and curse the Airplane Gods. We will dig out our passports from beneath three layers of work-related-document strata.

We will say no to things that will infringe on our vacations. We will survive.

#4: What Are We Going to Do on “Vacation?”

We are going to have some fun, dammit.

Perhaps we will drink fruity overpriced cocktails and pretend to like direct sunlight! We will make regrettable purchases! We are going to look at amusing t-shirts that advertise crab shacks! We are going to eat rich food that will give us mild stomach indigestion and tell ourselves we’ll walk it off while touring local oddities! We will do things that people do in catalogues, like HIKE and GET ON BOATS WITHOUT FALLING OFF and POSE FOR CAREFULLY CHOREOGRAPHED “CANDIDS.”

#5: What Are We Not Going to Do on “Vacation”?

We will try not to talk about work, even though work will always be there, lurking in the back of our minds and ringing alarm bells like the Hunchback of freaking Notre Dame. No, we will not bore our loved ones with endless obsessing about clients, because then they will probably run away with our painfully muscular surfing instructor and we will kinda have it coming.

#6: But We Definitely Don’t Have to Take Client Calls, right?

I’m sure nobody will call, okay?

I’m sure our clients’ email servers were not hacked and their buildings did not burn down with all their computers inside, destroying every copy of our work except the original. I’m sure everything is fine. We told them we would be away! Other people can handle it! All of our bases are covered!

Our cell phone did not just ring. No, it didn’t. TURN IT OFF. DON’T LOOK.


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#7: OH GOD WHY CAN’T WE JUST LOOK?

You’re so right. What’s the harm with an eensy, teensy little look? Just checking email and voicemail. Just being social. We are NOT going to respond to anything. Whatever. It’s IRRESPONSIBLE not to at least check in.

We are just going to casually perch on the toilet in the bathroom for five minutes trying to access the Internet on our mobile phone but we are NOT communication addicts, we can stop anytime - WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THIS WI-FI?!

… WHERE ARE WE, MARS?

#8: Nobody Emailed. Why Aren’t They Emailing?

Yeah! What is wrong with them? How they can survive without us, Noted Freelance Geniuses? Perhaps they are all lying unconscious with their fingers broken and thus cannot reach a keyboard to shoot us an email? That’s probably it. Probably we should fly back right now and rescue our broken-fingered clients from their terrible fates -

#9: … Wait. Maybe They Just Think We’re Unavailable Because We’re On Vacation?

……………………..

…….

….

Okay, okay; I can see that we’re all getting a little confused here. Deep breaths. Let’s go back to #1.

What is a Vacation?

Kate Hamill has not had a proper vacation in 5 years. Sometimes it shows.

Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.