Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We are NOT on vacation; we are on life.

Some may be under the impression that we are on an 11-week Paris vacation.

We are not.

The confusion I suppose is understandable because most people divide their lives into work and vacation -- a lot of work and a little vacation. When they are working, they are not vacationing, and when they vacation, they don't work (in theory!). Nonetheless, the work/vacation mentality still exists, especially when "vacation" is something you have to schedule and is limited to 2-4 weeks out of the year.

A number of years ago, Amanda and I were at a resort in Jamaica and I would spend a couple hours in the internet cafe each day checking on my business (this was back in the "dial-up" days). Several of the other guests we mingled with would admonish me for working on my vacation. I replied I wasn't working on my vacation, I was vacationing while I work. I just moved my office to Jamaica for 9 days! That is what I mean by a different attitude about vacation and work.

In our case, we just have "life" and we "do" life in different locations when we want to experience something different. This happens to be our biggest experiment at this philosophy. "Work" is one of the activities of my life (because the laws of economics still apply!) but since my business is internet-based and my income is not dependent on hours worked and I do not report to a boss (unless you count my wife!) and neither does my wife (unless you count me) then we are limited only by our own priorities.

We did not come to Paris to VACATION; we came to see what it was like to LIVE here, which includes working. I simply moved my office here and it is now part of my life in Paris, just as it is when I'm in Charlotte.

Thus, this is not all "fun." We have many of the same transition adjustments of moving into a new apartment in a new city... finding the right store for the right item, finding restaurants, learning our way around (roads and metro), dealing with the landlord when things aren't right (!), meeting new people, and, in this case, we have to do all that without knowing the language!

Trust me, it can be quite frustrating and discouraging at times. And quite exhilarating invigorating at others. We are forced to operate outside our normal comfort zone. (I DO miss the comforts of my house and home-office at times.) However, like physical exercise, which is not always pleasant, the reward comes in seeing yourself grow by enlarging your world of experiences.

So, yes, we try to have "fun" as much as we can because we are limited to only 11 weeks and we have to cram "Paris Life" into a shorter time than if we were actually making a permanent life here.

But we are not on vacation.

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