While planning for some upcoming work and vacation trips, I began mulling over some freelance projects I have in the queue or that I know are coming soon. Would I have some free time during these trips to work on freelance projects? As I discussed earlier, holidays are times I devote to family and step away completely from my day job and freelancing. But what about business trips, staycations, and agenda-free family trips to the lake?
Freelancing while traveling is easy these days. With a laptop plus some free internet at hotels and coffee shops, you can have full access to all your freelancing files, editing software and can communicate with the publishers you are working with over Email, Skype, Twitter, etc. Even while flying, I have brought print outs of proofreading projects and marked them up with a pen like I was grading papers for a class. Once at my destination, I can take the time to type up my suggested changes.
So the question becomes, do I want to be sitting in front of a laptop or pile of papers while I am on this trip? Would this take away from why I am on this trip? For me, freelancing is a hobby job that I do because I am passionate about the gaming hobby and love helping others create amazing games. Thus, I don’t consider my freelancing “work” like I do my day job. In fact, I find my freelance proofreading and editing to be very relaxing. So, late evenings on a business trip, I enjoy working on a freelance project more than watching a movie. If there is a group getting together for dinner or to see the sights, I can set aside the freelance work for these other activities. But, if I am just going to be sitting in my hotel anyway (especially if the weather is poor), why not use the time productively doing something I enjoy? Personally, I often do take freelance projects with me on business trips.
On a family vacation, I have to be more serious about margins and my time with family. If there are activities happening such as swimming, playing games, meals, or sitting around catching up with each other, then I need to be focused upon the family with me. For our family, though, some of our vacations are staycations or relaxed times at a lake cottage. These are not highly scheduled events site-seeing, taking in shows, etc. Instead, they are times for family to just be together, unwind from our daily lives, and enjoy each other’s company. Family members come and go as their work schedules allow and often take side excursions during the time. Thus, there are periods of free time where nothing is happening and the house or cottage is quiet. During these free quiet times, I will sometimes do work on a freelance project, but I will be honest with the publisher that I will be on vacation with family and might complete some or all of the project during that time, no promises. Family vacations, even with ample free time, I tend to devote more to the family than the freelancing.
How about you? When traveling, does your freelancing go with you?