DSCN1070 There is a popular saying among hard charging, ladder-climbing executives – “I can sleep when I’m dead” they say as they burn the candle at both ends. I guess I can appreciate that mentality to some degree, although my relationship with the importance of sleep to my life is a different topic for a different day.

I take a lot of heat for being away a lot. Most of it is good-natured ribbing from friends but some of the snarky comments are “mind your own business” moments. Anyone who knows me knows how important it is for me to take trips away from the grind of daily life. Indeed we do travel a lot. Most of the vacations are 3-5 day recharging moments centered around the kids’ days off school or holidays, often to the Orlando resort area and sometimes to the beach, like this past week’s five-night trip to Cancun. I love and appreciate these trips for how they impact our family dynamic – forced quality time together that gets better every time. But we also take longer trips – like a week-long cruise at Thanksgiving, or a Christmas break at Disney World or the long 2.5 weeks in Greece to visit family in the summer.

You see, I’m a big “live for today” kind of guy. I’m not going to ever assume that my golden years will be spent traveling the world with my wife. I hope that’s what will take place. But I don’t want to take it for granted that I am somehow entitled to have that experience. Too many people make that assumption and find themselves too ill, too poor or too disinterested to do so when their time has come. Others find themselves, well, not here anymore. That’s what happened to my mom, who loved travel but put it off to take care of her family and then passed away suddenly at age 50.

By traveling now, when we can, we are exposing our children to worlds that I couldn’t have dreamed of as a kid and making family memories that will last us all a lifetime.

In addition, as a small businessman, I am never off. Never. Because of the kind of work I do, I can really get 95 percent of it done from anywhere so taking days here and there to be in a different zip code has no impact. In fact, I’ve written a full-blown strategic communications plan for a client from the lobby of a tiny hotel on a tiny island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. I’ve written and edited an employee magazine for a client from the lounge at a Disney resort hotel. When a campus crisis literally blew up in the media, I managed all communications execution from the deck of a cruise ship. I’m always available; always “on” and always keeping on top of every ongoing project. I’ve even made new business calls while in a warmer weather location for a few days. While most people get to fully unplug when they vacation, I don’t – and I’m not complaining as I wouldn’t trade this life for any other.

I confess that I love to spend time away – generally in warmer weather – with my family. I’m pretty sure that when I am ready to meet my maker I won’t say, “I really wish I hadn’t vacationed so much.”