Social media and the vacation #FAIL

I’ve been a social media netizen for three years.

I’ve figured out Twitter.

I’m figuring out blogging.

I know enough about integrating all this stuff to be a little dangerous.

But the one thing I haven’t figured out is vacations.

I love to travel and each year I plan one big blow-out vacation. This week, my wife and I will heading to Scandinavia and Russia for two weeks. On top of this grand adventure, I get to meet two of my best Twitter buddies, Jon Buscall and Kimmo Linkama (stay tuned!).

And while I’m filled with anticipation for this much-needed break, I’m also filled with anxiety because ever since the dawn of the social web and starting my own business I have not done vacations well. I’m probably not the only member of this club?

One thing I have learned about myself — I’m a hard worker but can only keep up the pace with regular vacations.  When I don’t get a break, I’m less effective and begin to get irritable.

And while I have done a pretty good job TAKING vacations, I have not done a great job ENJOYING vacations.

Leading up to last year’s trip I had to complete some intense customer projects, which seemed to multiply as departure day approached. I had to get my blogging house in order … and of course I had to start planning for the trip. So by the time I left, I was exhausted.

During the trip I allowed myself to get sucked back into the digital tsunami.  I could not ignore customer emails that started with “I know you’re in Europe but … ” And by the end of the trip I was already worrying about the wall of work and emails I would have to deal with when I got back.

So this year, I’m learning from my mistakes.  I did a better job setting expectations with customers.  I’m simply going to be unavailable for two weeks.

I’m turning my email stream over to my virtual assistant so it will be more managable when I get home.

On most of my trip, I won’t even have a wireless signal.

I’ll probably try to do a little tweeting when I’m gone because I enjoy that, but I’m changing my bio to read “I’m not ignoring you, I’m on vacation.”

And I’m turning the blog over to you!  Tomorrow starts the Second Annual Community Week on {grow}.  I’ve asked some long-time, loyal readers to take over the blogging responsibilties for a few days. After all, if we’re a community, I don’t need to do the heavy lifting ALL the time right?  : )

We have a great line-up of exciting topics lined up that will present some interesting and diverse views. Please support these folks with your tweets and comments — maybe next year you’ll be a Community Week blogger!

Any way, I’m off to relax and I’m sure will be filled with lots of great ideas and stories to share with you when I return!  Au revoir!

All posts

  • Have a great time!


  • Sounds like you have a great plan! Hope your vacation is absolutely wonderful! 🙂

  • First and foremost enjoy the much deserved break!

    Regarding the pull of electronics while on vacation, this is one of the very best things about being a Savvy Sister.  The built in coverage has allowed the six of us not only vacations but maternity leave, new house leave, surgery leave, etc without our readership being none the wiser.  Group blogging has tremendous advantages 🙂

    I personally find I do still “need” to check in when on vacation so I try to confine it to 60 minutes once a day typically when the rest of my family is sleeping.  If you are enough time zones away from home you can actually make this work to your advantage.  When we were in Hawaii I found myself up very early local time but having a very productive 60 minutes in my normal central time zone.  That 60 minutes per day calmed my anxiety and allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day.

  • Michael

    Good article, I share your pain! Check out my blog on travel related customer service

  • Are you doing the Baltic Cruise?  Enjoy.  St Petersburg has a lot to see. 

  • Enjoy your vacation, don’t worry – everything will work out just fine!

  • Have a great time!

    On another note I fall into this category and because of this have failed to actually go away without my wireless signal.  I am still incapable of leaving without taking something with me. 

    Even though I have organised backup and handed over to many very capable people, I do not seem to be able to completely relinquish the reins with just one check-in per day being my promise to the family!

    With the fast approaching Summer Holidays (albeit 8 weeks away) I feel the impending rise in pressure to get “on top” of everything now and the first break away for me will only be 4 days over a weekend!

    It serves to remind me that I am the only one that generates this pressure and that only I can alleviate the stress that I generate too! 

  • For five years I couldn’t stay away from my work email while on vacation, during holidays and on weekends. I was just too committed. Sometime during my sixth year I started dreaming about work. Every night! I was always tired cause I couldn’t seem to get away from the job even in my sleep. That’s when I stopped checking email when off the clock. I would still dream about work and continued to do so until they laid me off in my 8th year.
    We have to draw the line and take the time to recharge.
    I’m glad you’re doing so for the next two weeks. Have an awesome awesome trip!

  • Enjoy your vacation, Mark. You do deserve it. Plus, you KNOW you will come back with a slurry of new, fresh ideas for future posts and experiments! Looking forward to seeing them.

  • Vacation is great trust me! 

    You’ve earned your vacation, do enjoy it, otherwise I’ll have to find a way to get you another holiday or something 

  • Have a great time! Hug @jonbuscall:twitter for me!

  • Enjoy the trip..we’ll be here when you get back!

  • Bon voyage Mark!  Enjoy, re-energize, refocus, relax and stay safe…

  • You make a very important distinction, Mark, between TAKING a vacation and ENJOYING it.  Since you recognize the difference, you now have created the perfect opportunity to do the latter, not just the former ENJOY!  And if Finland happens to be on your agenda, give a nod to my home country while you’re there, and enjoy a sauna and swim.  Nakemiin (see you soon) and Kippis (Cheers!) Kaarina

  • Rebel Brown

    Have fun Mark!!!  I have to go to someplace with no cell towers to take a break, so I feel your pain.  Let go and have fun – you deserve it!  xoxo reb

  • Rebel Brown

    Have fun Mark!!!  I have to go to someplace with no cell towers to take a break, so I feel your pain.  Let go and have fun – you deserve it!  xoxo reb

  • Hej Mark, 
    I’m so looking forward to seeing you here in Stockholm. The weather’s fabulous at the moment. I just hope it lasts into next week! 
    Enjoy your trip and say hello to Copenhagen to me. One of the best places I ever lived. 

  • How exciting!  Have a great trip.  Our newest team member Maria is from Urals Russia.  I’ll introduce you to her when you get back to town.  She says it is hot in Moscow right now : )

  • Mark, I hope you not only have a great vacation, but you truly ENJOY it! I can definitely relate to not having a good track record there, so I will be wishing you success every step of the way.  And don’t worry about {grow}, she’s in good hands with us! 🙂

  • Awesome Mark! So glad for you. Looking forward to the community’s bloggers.

  • Enjoy your vacation!

    I was actually born in Russia and never been to St. Petersburg! Shame. Of course I hardly remember anything from there anyway. But it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

  • Have a wonderful vacation! Sounds exciting. Isn’t it great that that community you’ve developed can help keep this all moving forward.  That’s the key indicator that your community is actually “real” (as we all know it is).

  • Mark, sounds like your vacation continuous improvement program is in high gear. Now get outta here, and bring those batteries back all charged up. And don’t forget to take some unbeaten paths. Serendipity can be very relaxing! We gerbils will keep pedaling to keep the lights on for you.

  • Ray

    Have a great trip, Mark.  Enjoy & relax. 

  • Enjoy your time off Mark. I can 100% relate to that. On one of our trips to Thailand I worked like crazy a client’s website – stayed up long hours to do it too. They didn’t seem to care where I was or what holiday it was either – they wanted it done. And I did it.

    Those expectations can be a tricky thing, and managing them well is a necessity if we want to actually turn off the flood we’re used to.

    What to do with all that extra time? Enjoy where you are with your family. I know you’ll be doing that.

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  • What awesomely exciting travel destinations!! I hope you get back with new perspectives, lots of energy, precious memories, exciting stories, and some pictures to show us. But before that, I hope you get to be away and not think about all of the above and have the trip of a lifetime. Safe travels, Mark!

  • Oh Mark, I can definitely relate to your post…I’m getting married in August, and our honeymoon is immediately following (and out of the country).  I already have anxiety about being “disconnected” for so long.  (*Sorry future hubby!*)

    I like your idea about changing your Twitter bio, for the time that you’re away.  I’ll be borrowing that tactic :).
    ENJOY your vacation :)!

  • While I understand the need for this post, this is very unsafe blog. Now people know you are gone! But if anyone wanted to know… don’t rob the house. The offspring are still here and keeping a safe watch… and I carry a very heavy bat. 

  • Thanks for letting us drive the car around while you’re away. We Grow guest bloggers promise to keep the place nice but can’t promise not to break into your beer fridge. Have fun!

  • Good for you Mark! I can relate to your dilemma and you’ve come up with a great solution! 
    I faced the same dilemma and have decided to just go off the grid for the time I’m away this summer. It may be risky, but I’m going to practice what I preach (er – living!?!)
    I hope you have a awesome trip! The world doesn’t miss us nearly as much as we believe it will, does it!? Thanks for the Twitter away message thought – great idea!

  • Huge deal! Definitely a debatable topic.. but I align with you. Julien Smith (co author of Trust Agents) has been MIA for a while, but he told everyone he’d be out. When he comes back, we’ll all be here for him. People need breaks. 

    I think Tim Ferriss catalyzed a huge mental paradigm shift in business as it relates to this with the Four Hour Work Week, and his whole philosophy. I’m with it Mark. Do you. Get your time, we all get it. (hopefully)

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  • Enjoy your vacation Mark.  I too am not good at turning off everything when I am on vacation.  But, a two week vacation is awesome.  I took one last year, and it totally felt different than my standard one week vacation. 

    Where are you going in Russia?  I love Russia.  I was there in 1990 when it was still Communist.  This one month in a Communist country changed my worldview forever.  Please share pictures when you get back.

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