Many moons ago, I attempted to write a blog for a client, who was a big dog in the private equity game. You may be shocked to know that my knowledge of finance is weak, but the pieces that I was due to write were more about general strategy and information about him as a person. Leadership skills and yada yada yada.
He was a tremendously interesting and successful character. I got to spend a decent amount of time with him. Unfortunately, I was unable to pick up any hot finance tips, but he was all about the "work/life balance". I would have assumed that the head of a private equity house was constantly in the office but alas, not this chap. In fact, he owned a boat in the South of France, and frequented it often. How bad ass is that?
Very. Very bad ass.
This aspect of his personality fascinated me, so I wrote a blog for him on it. It was called "The Importance of Owning a Boat" and it was more about the importance of downtime than actually owning a boat. I thought the title would draw you in.
Anyway, the piece was about how you need to find downtime and not feel guilty about taking them. I find it really tricky to switch off when taking a break or even worse, feeling really guilty throughout the break. For the first time, in a long time. I had an absolutely killer break. I had time off during the summer but it was as I was leaving my last job, which had a complicated ending, compacted with the nerves of starting a new, very different role. I constantly had something on my mind throughout.
Not this bad boy. It was glorious. I flew out to Malaga on Sunday night. I had to work relatively late on Friday to get some reports done before I go, but then I headed over to a really good friends for a home cooked meal. I travelled South America with this pal so the evening was spent reminiscing and swilling wine. It was glorious. I had one of the most productive Saturday mornings to date following. Bashed out a report, a podcast interview and a blog.
The rest of the day was spent down the pub with a pal who I am meeting on Thursday to go to Belgium with. We just giggled with excitement about our upcoming trip. But beforehand, I had Malaga.
My flight was 7am from Stansted which takes the guts of an hour to get to from my house. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I opted to stay up all night. I managed to edit two podcasts and watch a movie while waiting. Productivity. Well, the podcast part. Not the movie bit. I completely conked out on the flight though. So I closed my eyes and I was there. Amazing! I stayed in Malaga City Centre in an AirBnb. A superb choice.
The next few days just consisted of drinking beer, eating tapas and taking epically long walks along the beach. It was so good for the soul. I would wake up at 11am-12pm, eat breakfast on my balcony and then pop off for a walk along the beach for 2-3 hours listening to podcasts and a variety of Boyz II Men songs. Then come home, do a tad bit of work (once again, on the balcony) while having a few beers before heading out for another walk and some grub.
I went solo, by the way.
I have done a fair amount of solo travelling before and it always delivers brilliant results. Sometimes, it forces you to go out and meet new people and others, you just chill out and enjoy your own time. I have been away with girlfriends and big groups, and they are always great trips but there is something magical about just going solo and doing whatever you want. I couldn't recommend it more.
So, I am currently sitting in Malaga Airport ready to head home. I feel absolutely glorious. I am off back to the madness of London....but only for a few hours as I am off to Belgium with a bunch of friends.
This Belgium trip shall not be as relaxed.
Anyway, if you have some free holiday time and no one to go with. Don't just sit at home and waste the time off. Book a cheap flight, find a sweet AirBnb and head off. You will be shocked how much you will enjoy it.
You may not own your own boat (yet) but there are plenty of places to go. Think of it as research, have a look around different sunny ports to spot somewhere to put your future boat.