While I consider myself extremely lucky to do what I love and work alongside amazing people at our Los Angeles public relations agency, I also love a three-day weekend as much as the next person. In honor of Labor Day, I took the opportunity to do what any logical publicist would do – get as far out of the city as possible and go to a place with no cell phone reception. Yosemite seemed like the perfect location filled with wildlife and not a computer in sight. This seemed to me, the perfect labor-less Labor Day weekend.
While I was right that a weekend at Yosemite would be ideal, I was wrong in thinking that my brain would shut off. Funny enough, I learned several lessons that could be applied to work from my work-free weekend. Here are just a few of my camping trip induced epiphanies…
- No time is dead time – Any Angeleno knows that driving out of town on a three-day weekend is the equivalent of watching paint dry. It’s dreadful. Cue my 7-hour drive to Yosemite. While stuck in a car with my husband (who I thankfully like very much) I used the time to catch up. I heard stories about his childhood, we talked about recent articles we’ve read, and we made plans for the future. Key learning – use all time to your advantage. You may not go in with a specific goal, but if you listen and engage, you will get something out of it.
- Asking for help is not only ok, but it’s also necessary – While I love to think of myself as an independent person who creates my own destiny, I had zero control over traffic which meant that I was getting into Yosemite later than anticipated and therefore needed to set-up camp in complete darkness. While I was up for the task, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of our friends. They got everything in as good of shape as possible to make our set-up seamless, helped us set-up when we got there and had dinner waiting (bless them). Key learning – asking for help does not make you weak; it makes you smart.
- Give people the chance to surprise you – As part of our Yosemite venture, a portion of the group had been talking for weeks about doing the notorious hike to Half Dome. A 14-16-mile hike that takes 10+ hours to reach the peak at 8,000+ feet above sea level, this is no easy feat and one that people prepare for months for. Enter my husband – a man who has not read one of our group text messages preparing for this trip and is completely oblivious to Half Dome plans. Come the day before the hike, he decides he too wants to do it. He doesn’t have a permit. He doesn’t have the proper clothing. He has no gloves. I can’t remember the last time he went hiking. This lack of preparedness is exactly the type of thing to give me anxiety and goes so against my being that its probably the reason I married him. While this kind of behavior might usually make me insane, in my labor-less mood I decided to play it cool and help. I gave him a pair of gloves I had brought with me (although not the proper ones) and made/packed him food for his voyage. On the morning of at 4 am, I wished him luck. And guess what? He did it! He loved it. And I remain all the prouder of him for doing so. This has proven to be true at our public relations firm and somehow, it’s still something I have to actively remember to practice. Key learning – be flexible, don’t get stuck in your preconceived notions because others don’t work like you, and give people the opportunity to surprise you.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups make for the best s’mores – This has nothing to do with work. Just a pro tip for anyone going camping.