Evan and I are headed to France, Italy and Spain for a month of travel, relaxation, and personal photography projects. In other words, it’s a vacation. Any time I’ve mentioned my trip to my photographer friends, I’m asked if I have clients and styled shoots lined up for the trip.
My answer? No.
Let me back up and say that this was a HARD decision to make. When we first started planning the trip, I was eager to fill my schedule, book sessions and build the crap out of my portfolio. I thought it would be foolish not to seize the opportunity. But the more Evan and I talked about the goal of our trip, the more we realized how important it was for me to rest.
When I went full time with my photography business two years ago, the definition of “rest” changed dramatically. My work was previously out of sight, out of mind. Photography was a hobby and passion, and so working on side projects was restful and fulfilling. When my photography business became my full time job, “work” became one of my greatest joys and passions, and the lines for rest became blurred.
It’s nearly impossible to turn off my “business owner” switch. To start, my office is in my apartment. When I open my front door, the first thing that I see is my desk. But even when we’re traveling out of the apartment, I’m always looking for opportunities to grow my business and try new ideas. I take my camera everywhere and usually try to schedule at least one session in any given city we’re traveling to. I really, really love photography, and I love being a business owner.
Enter slow season. January through March of this year, I had way fewer weddings and way more time to work on the behind-the-scenes stuff. I was thrilled for the “time off.” Web design, marketing, improving my craft, focusing more on social media – the list of what I had planned was endless. I expected this slow season to be relaxing and restorative, but it was exact opposite. I felt stressed, overwhelmed and burned out by March – right when wedding season was about to start. After reflecting on those winter months, I realized the problem was that I never took time to rest.
Rest is an elusive concept for me. Turning off my brain from work is not something that I can do easily. In order to truly rest, I have to be incredibly intentional. I need to work ahead days in advance to ensure there are no loose ends left undone while I take time off. I need to shut off my phone, and it should probably be in another room. I’ve got to schedule my Instagram and Facebook posts before the time off starts, and set boundaries about when and where I’ll check my email. In other words, rest takes work.
So, as we’ve been getting closer and closer to leaving for Europe, Evan and I made the decision that this would not be a work trip. Any and all photography would be for pure pleasure, a huge change from my original plan. Because we’re leaving for a month, there will be times that I need to write emails, check in with current clients, post to Instagram, or write blog posts. I also decided to shoot one couple for fun in Paris. However, I’m doing most of this work in advance, and we’ve set strict boundaries for when I will be doing these things during our trip.
As I said before, this decision was hard. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about the opportunities that I am missing to build connections and expand my portfolio. But rest is essential to the long term success of my business and, more importantly, my marriage.
Evan and I will be celebrating 2 years of marriage for a full month in France, Spain and Italy. We will spend our days exploring new places, eating interesting food, and admiring the beauty of God’s creation. I’m willingly placing my business ideas on hold in order to celebrate all that we’ve been blessed with in the past two years.
Curious about our travel schedule? Click here to see where we’ll be next!
You can continue to follow our adventures on Facebook, Instagram or the blog. Traveling around Europe this summer, too? Get in touch so we can get together or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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