Unplugged and Loved It!

abstract ship in seaDuring the first part of June, I traveled with family and friends to celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary. We took an Alaska cruise for seven-days and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, ports of call; amazing food and entertainment; and each other’s company. It was a relaxing and restful experience.

While preparing for the trip, I though seriously about what gadgets I should take and how I would maintain my business connections while away from my studio. Should I pack my laptop or could I get by with my iPad or maybe even my iPhone and my trusty travel mic? Where would I record on a huge cruise ship that had a constant rumble from the engines? What was the price of satellite wifi to remain connected while on board? Should I accept calls at sea? How much gear should I take?

The cruise was supposed to be a relaxing, fun time with the focus on my friend’s wedding anniversary. After giving this considerable thought, I came to the conclusion that I would unplug. Yup. Totally disconnect. The stress of where to record, how to maintain contact, and run my business onboard seemed, well, silly.  Risky? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

The first thing I did was contact my clients with an e-mail letting them know well in advance that I was unplugging for seven-days and to contact me with any recording needs before then. I received many responses telling me to enjoy myself. Clients with voiceover needs contacted me immediately to set up session time. They were open to work with my schedule. I love my clients!

Time off was spectacular. I got to know my travel companions better. Spent time engaged with people face to face instead of gadget to gadget. Slept better than I had in a very long time. And felt like I had gobs of extra time on my hands.

Being unplugged is not overrated but does have some drawbacks. Since auditioning is the primary way I get hired, I missed out on a few of opportunities. Yes, it was a risk I considered and a price I paid.

One thing I’ll remember next time I unplug is to set up an e-mail auto response to let people know that I’m OOF (out of facility) and when I’ll be back. This will let prospective clients know that I’m not slow or ignoring them and existing clients who missed my unplugged e-mail that I’ll take care of their questions and needs soon after I arrive back home.

You know, everybody is SOOOO connected to everything. We spend a number of hours each day touching those connections to make sure we’re remembered. During the process we filter a significant amount of noise, content that just doesn’t fit a current agenda. It’s mentally exhausting. Unplugging and leaving the gadgets behind is a type of therapy. It was a little scary at first for me and by the end of the voyage, I was recharged and ready to plug back in.

Your experience may vary.

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19 thoughts on “Unplugged and Loved It!

  1. Randye Kaye July 16, 2013 / 5:12 am

    Love this post! So glad you made that decision. I wrote about “fruits vs. laurels” awhile back, and you definitely enjoyed the fruits of your labor by giving yourself permission to do what we all need:.take an actual vacation ! Our clients do it, we can too. Sounds heavenly.

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 16, 2013 / 9:29 am

      Thank you so much! Taking the vacation was indeed worth it.

      I wonder, is it really necessary for 99% of the VO talent pool to be available 24x7x365? I’m glad that I could confidently answer that question for myself and feel good about it.

      Thanks for stopping by Randye!

      Like

  2. Alissa July 17, 2013 / 11:56 pm

    I took a two-week cruise a few years back. There was internet on the boat, but it was crazy expensive, so both my husband and I also decided to unplug. I also missed out on audition opportunities, but none of my clients had an issue with my being away. It’s so important – you’re absolutely right: there is no need to be plugged in 24/7. It’s good to take a break!

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 18, 2013 / 9:37 am

      WOW, two-weeks! I’m sure by the time you got back you were ready to jump back in. I know what you mean by “crazy expensive” Internet service. Yikes!

      Like

  3. Conchita Congo July 20, 2013 / 7:24 am

    Love, love, love your take on being unplugged! Taking a little hiatus myself to reconnect with what’s most important of all. Thanks

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 20, 2013 / 1:29 pm

      Hi Conchita- Thanks for the praise and I’m glad that you appreciate how important getting away from it all can be. I hope that you have a pleasant reconnection.

      Like

  4. Dave White July 20, 2013 / 8:31 am

    Thanks for this blog! Means a lot that someone else did what I don’t have the cahones to do. I’ve taken 2 or 3 days here and there but I would love a week or two. Has to happen! Thanks again! Dave

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 20, 2013 / 1:39 pm

      Hey Dave- You’re welcome! Bravo for taking a few days for yourself. It’s a start. Work with your agents and clients to make the one or two week thing happen. A recharged Dave is a restful and more productive one. Good luck!

      Like

  5. Samantha July 22, 2013 / 3:47 am

    I think it’s good to unplug from time to time, it’s important to have time to relax and spend quality time with those around you without the distraction of work. As you said, you missed out on a few of opportunities, but this is the risk you have to take. Setting up an auto response email is a great idea though!

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 22, 2013 / 10:51 am

      Hi Samantha- It’s hard for a lot of freelancers, voiceover or otherwise, to comfortably take a break away from what they love to do. They might feel the need to be available to their clients 24×7. I like happy clients and I’ll do everything reasonable to keep them coming back. But, in my opinion, clients are human and understand the necessity of taking a break; spending time with family; going on vacation. If it’s managed well, there shouldn’t be a problem. I respect those who take gear with them whenever they travel. It’s a business choice that works for them. Missing out on crucial auditions is a risk. A business decision that works for me.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comments.

      Like

  6. Linda Coelli July 22, 2013 / 4:01 pm

    At least once a year I get the road unplugged 🙂
    and it is worth every minute!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 22, 2013 / 4:18 pm

      Linda- It’s amazing what time away can do to mental and creative energy. Have you taken some exciting road trips?

      Like

  7. Lance DeBock July 23, 2013 / 8:39 am

    Hey Christopher,

    Great article. As long as you let clients know ahead of time, most will understand the need for a vacation. Life’s too short to be slavin’ over a hot microphone all the time!

    I’ve got to ask (since I used to own a travel agency way back in the day) would you ever go back? You’d be surprised how many people love the trip but wouldn’t go back.

    Just curious.

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn July 23, 2013 / 9:04 am

      Hi Lance- Thanks for checking out my blog, glad you liked it. Vacations really are for everybody, even freelancers. Experiences in life are way more valuable than wealth. I heard that sentiment in a video that I was watching the other day and I couldn’t agree more.

      I live in the Pacific Northwest and a lot of friends and family invite me to go on the Alaska cruise. I’ve been four times and each voyage I see something new. My next cruise will be on the east coast in 2014 or 15. Any suggestions?

      Like

      • lancedebock July 23, 2013 / 5:12 pm

        Chris,

        Since I live in Toms River at the Jersey Shore I’m partial to this area of the northeast. However I remember clients loving the New England cruises which originate from NY City. If you are visiting NY City, I really recommend the World Trade Center Memorial and the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. That’s all I can think of right now, but if I come up with any others I’ll let ya know…

        Like

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