The Art of The “Workcation”

Every time I travel I get asked, “Business, or pleasure?”

Often my answer is “Well… both.”

A puzzled look frequently follows.

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It took Ellen and I a few years to find the proper balance of a true workcation.  One that could satisfy both of our insatiable desires… the desire to be productive, and the desire to relax and recharge our proverbial batteries.

It’s not an easy balance for someone who loves what they do, and would be doing it whether he was getting paid or not.  That’s why every single trip I ever took when I was single was simply work.  But you see, that’s no fun for another person once they get added into the mix… maybe the first few times, but trust me, it gets old.  What might have started as fascination in the beginning, quickly turns to frustration, when your traveling partner seems to prefer working to relaxing and being in the moment with you.

And as most adaptations grow from necessity, so too did the invention and refinement of the workcation.

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Look, we’re not made of money here.  Work trips are our vacations… and vice versa.

So how do we find equilibrium?

Here are 5 important steps to striking the perfect balance between work and vacation, illustrated with images from our last Wyoming workcation…

1. Proper planning.

Nowadays, Ellen and I set aside specific days/ times on our trip to work.  With her starting a yoga business recently, she gets something out of it too… free marketing photos!  When there is a set, realistic schedule, both of us have very well managed expectations…. and those of you who are married or in long-term relationships know how important these are!

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2. Use what you have to your advantage.

I feel productive when I’m getting photos that I’m confident can sell.  That’s how I am able to justify all of the travel, if I’m not on a specific client’s dime.

So Ellen becomes my model… a lot.  As I’m sure you all have seen.

But it’s great because we can do the things we love to do together, like hiking, and I can spend a few minutes in between our quality vacation time, working, snapping sellable images.

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It’s also important to note that Ellen is particularly sweet and understanding that when extraordinary opportunities present themselves, work takes the front seat.

But don’t take advantage of your partner’s generosity.

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3. Know when to put work aside.  Be sensitive to your travel partners needs.  

As previously mentioned, my wife gives grace like a boss.  So it’s only fitting that I approach her with the same tender understanding.

It’s never fun to play second fiddle to work with a loved-one.  So know when it’s time to put the camera or laptop down and enjoy your partner.

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4. Enjoy your work so much, it is vacation!  

Be so passionate and enthusiastic about what you do, your travel buddy can’t help but want to be involved.

They may actually grow to love the process too.

But it must be genuine… manipulation will be sniffed out immediately!

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5.  Be realistic, schedule dedicated work time.

What Ellen and I found works the best, so I’m not too antsy to shoot the entire time we’re trying to relax and be “in the moment”, is really quite simple…

I schedule a week alone, to focus completely on work.  I either fly her in a week after I’ve arrived at a destination, or she flys out a week before I return.

That way, I always know that I have at least a full week of work under my belt already, or ahead of me.

And it allows me to relax.  Which makes the time more enjoyable for us both.

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It is rare that we take a proper “vacation”.  Part of it is financial, but another part is that we both really love what we do for a living.

So workcations are our norm.  And we like it that way.

They are tax deductible, and if you are careful, they are oh… so… enjoyable.

Here’s to 2015: a new year of workcations to nourish our souls and share with all of you!

— andrew


 
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all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2015

the goosewing ranch | part 2

the beautiful goosewing ranch had us out again for a week in september, and it was fantastic.

with wildlife abounding and the trees aflame with fall colors, this time of year in the mountains is my absolute favorite.

below are just a few of the images we captured during our week at the ranch.

to see more, visit our ranch HAND website, and check out our trip to the goosewing this past june!

a huge thanks to the goosewing, all of the amazing staff, and the gorgeous guests (who were kind enough to be our models).

we are so blessed to have clients that we enjoy working with so much!

we are really looking forward to the Dude Rancher’s Association convention this January, and to meeting all the new ranches that we’ll partner with next year!

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer & ranch HAND | photographic 2012

ranch HAND | the goosewing ranch

we traveled back up to wyoming in june to service ranch HAND | photographic’s newest client, the Goosewing Ranch.

just minutes from jackson, wyoming, the Goosewing is a phenomenal guest ranch for the whole family.  they offer phenomenal views, amazing wildlife, horseback riding, daily activities, and even the finer amenities like massages and fine wine.  they have their own trout stocked pond, and the gros ventre river right in their front yard; a true angler’s paradise.  they are also at the doorstep of grand teton and yellowstone national parks!

here are just a few of the images we captured for them this summer… and we can’t wait to go back in september to shoot their fall photos.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer & ranch HAND | photographic 2012

¿necesitas una vacación?

if your answer is, “well, not really, but sure!” then you’re like us.

we feel very blessed to do what we do.  traveling, meeting great folks, and photographing the world.

but every once in a while, you really do just need to go to beautiful beach somewhere and drink fruity beverages while relaxing in the sun, if at all possible.

so we took a few days off and headed back down to the mayan riviera in mexico, where we went last year before for our honeymoon…

ahhh, relaxation.  if you go in the middle of the week for just a few days to one of the hundreds of all-inclusives, it’s actually a very economical choice for vacation.

our resort was just a half a mile or so down the beach from a nature preserve…

crystal clear rivers running right into the beautiful caribbean waters!  great for snorkeling.

but if you’re like me, and love what you do for a living, you need to work at least a little to keep your sanity in all that relaxation…

so i shot every day, and explored the possibility of shooting for resorts.  and elle and i both kind of love that idea ;)

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

honeymooners

well, as they say, the honeymoon is (technically) over… however, it doesn’t really feel that way.

now i’m not just trying to score points here, i promise.  the first month has been a total blast.  it hasn’t been without it’s rough patches, but overall i’d say, the honeymoon has seemed to continued…

the night of our marriage, elle and i got to stay at the historic adolphus hotel in downtown dallas.  totally cool.  and a great view from our enormous balcony!

sipping fancy coffee in the morning by the big windows…

it was a relaxing morning for sure.  luckily we didn’t have to rush… our flight to mexico wasn’t until that evening.

so then we arrived on the mayan riviera in mexico, and it did not disappoint!  white sand beaches, crystal blue water, all the amenities of the caribbean, but much better prices.  we had a blast!

and yes, of course i had to try a star picture over the caribbean…

may the honeymoon last another 50 years!!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2011

a real vacation

i travel a lot.  but it would be a bit of a stretch to say that my traveling is “vacation”.

it’s not that i don’t enjoy the destinations, or have real moments of relaxation, it’s just that when i travel, it’s usually with a purpose.  and that purpose does not involve sitting still or vegging out.

so this year, now that i have a travel companion… we took a real vacation.

anna maria island, florida.  it’s a small island south west of tampa, with caribbean clear water and white sand beaches.  they say that it not very well known to outsiders, but it’s where floridians go to get away.

the beaches were uncrowded and beautiful.  it was truly relaxing.

yea for real vacations!  i think i’ll have to take one of these more often.

but don’t get the wrong impression…..  i still had to “work” a little to keep my sanity….

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010