A Successful Workcation
- Why getting out of your daily environment is a must

By Wes and Becca Eisenhauer

When we started thinking about taking a two week workcation, we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to go. Our main goal was to split the trip into 1 week work and 1 week play. Narrowing down the location was going to be tough as adventure can be had just about anywhere!  To help us decide, we made a top 3 list of must haves for our destination:
1. Warmth! We always plan a trip around February to escape that last bit of harsh South Dakota winter.
2. Kid friendly and kid safe. With our daughter, Jonah, being at an awesome traveling age (4), we decided to take her with us this year. This added some complexity to the trip but we were down for the challenge. What an experience for our girl! But we needed to make sure she was entertained and safe.
3. Strong Wifi/internet connection.  Since, we planned on working for at least half of our two week trip, we needed to be well connected and readily available for our co-workers and clients.

With that, we contemplated many different locations for our workation: Costa Rica, New Orleans, the Pacific NorthWest…

But...we decided on a no-brainer destination - California! The plan was to adventure from San Diego to San Fransisco to be exact.

Some background on what we do:

Becca is a project manager at Lemonly. Becca’s job requires her to be available during the standard work day - 8pm to 5pm. That meant Wes needed to watch Jonah during the days while Becca worked.

Wes is a self-employed and specialize in photography and video work. He has a little bit more flexibility in his schedule. Because of that, after Becca signs off at 5pm, Wes would work on editing photos and videos well into the evening.

We knew there would be some long days, and we were just fine with that. Let’s do this thing!

2/7/2016-2/12/2016: Work week, San Diego - We left a chilly Sioux Falls at 6am and arrived in sunny and mild San Diego at 1pm. We Ubered a car to our AirBnb (so 2016 of us) and made our way through the front gate and back to our little cottage appropriately named “The Urban Farmhouse”.

Our first four days in San Diego were by far the busiest and most challenging on the work end. Becca was starting up a few larger scale project and Wes had some hefty feedback come in from a client.

Each morning we’d make a plan on how to keep our daughter occupied. Luckily we had a rental car and planned ahead with a whole bag of things to occupy a 4 year old (tip for parents: workbooks, flash cards, side-walk chalk, art supplies, and toys).

Wes and Jonah spent most of the first four days exploring local parks and ice cream shops. Becca would be posted up on her laptop in the living room or bedroom. When Becca was done working for the day, we would venture out and find a place to explore. After returning to our little farmhouse, Wes would start getting his work done.

As our time ended in San Diego, Becca had managed to get a lot accomplished in what ended up being a very busy work week for her. Wes also managed to cross everything off his to-do list PLUS start two new books which he finished by the end of the trip.

2/13/2016-2/16/2016: Los Angeles - A chance to attend the GRAMMYs also fell perfectly into the travel plans for Becca. The GRAMMYs (Recording Studio??) are an awesome client of Lemonly’s and each year a select group of Lemonheads get to attending the show. Awesome huh?!

Another reason LA is always awesome...the beach! Lemonly hooked up a 4 bedroom apartment right on Venice Beach for the team. We had a blast linking up with Becca’s co-workers who are all very great with children. Jonah was thrilled to have the extra attention and more beach buddies to play with.

The rest of our LA stay revolved around food, coffee shops, beach sunsets, and art museums. Jonah did way better than expected in the museums! The LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Arts) was really great for kids.

 

2/16/2016-2/17/2016: San Luis Obispo - Our goal for this stop was to break up the drive to our awaited prize, Big Sur! We had no idea what to expect when arriving. SLO was a very unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Tons of great healthy food stops, walking trails, yoga studios, kids spots/parks,  and a bubble gum wall!

2/17/2016-2/20/2016: Big Sur - Ah yes, our much awaited sightseeing destination and photographers dream come true. This was a long desired travel destination for us both. We had both been told stories of Big Sur’s beauty so we were out of our minds when the time came. We drove the Pacific Coast Highway all the way up with our jaws to the floor and wide eyes ready to see what the next bend of road had to offer.

OMG people, go to Big Sur, do it now. You won’t even care about the poor cell and internet service, you’ll be too busy falling in love.

 

2/20/2016: San Francisco - On our last day we headed towards San Francisco before our red eye flight back to South Dakota. In San Fran we explored the never-ending diverse food culture then randomly stumbled on the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. What a great place to kill a few hours! You could literally spend all day there and not see everything in the area around the gardens.

Moving around to a different city every 2-3 days really kept this trip fresh. Getting to experience that child-like excitement of walking into a nice place in a new and interesting location was a much needed refresher. Mixing up our work and play locations was a great way reset our brains from our day-to-day routines and it really reminded us on how just overall grateful we are for everything in our lives.

All in all, this was a wonderful trip. We managed to be productive while still enjoying California’s never ending adventures. It was great to spend 2 weeks together as a family exploring, goals setting, problem solving, and living it up. Our biggest problem now is, where do we go next year?!

Quick recap with lodging links:

Day 1 - Leaving Sioux Falls, arriving in San Diego

Day 2 - San Diego, CA, North Park - Farm House, AirBnb

Day 3 - San Diego, CA, North Park - Farm House, AirBnb

Day 4 - San Diego, CA, North Park - Farm House, AirBnb

Day 5 - San Diego, CA, North Park - Farm House, AirBnb

Day 6 - Leave San Diego - Drive to Anaheim, CA - 96 Miles, 1 hour 45 minute drive - Hotel

Day 7 - Anaheim CA - DisneyLand - Hotel

Day 8 - Leave Anaheim - Drive to Los Angeles, CA - 26 Miles, 1 hour drive. Venice Beach House, VBRO

Day 9 - Los Angeles, CA - Venice Beach House, VBRO

Day 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Venice Beach House, VBRO

Day 11 - Leave Los Angeles, Drive to San Luis Obispo, CA - 189 MIles, 3.5 hour Drive (Hotel)

Day 12 - Leave San Luis Obispo, Drive up Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur, CA - 99 Miles, 2 hour drive (Cabin Motel)

Day 13 - Big Sur, CA (Cabin Motel)

Day 14 - Leave Big Sur, Drive to San Francisco, CA - 73 miles, Hour and a half drive

Fly out of San Francisco at 12:30 AM Arrive back in Sioux Falls at 10am

When my wife and I started thinking about this trip, we didn’t know where we wanted to go. We knew we wanted it to be warm; we always plan a trip in late February / early March to escape that last bit of that harsh South Dakota winter. We wanted it to be a place that our 4-year old daughter Jonah could enjoy. Another major factor in deciding on where we’d go was a strong internet connection because we planned on working for at least half of our two week trip. We contemplated many different locations for this “workation”: Costa Rica, New Orleans, The Pacific NorthWest… But we ultimately decided on sunny California.

Some background on what it is we do: Becca is a project manager at Lemonly, her daily tasks range from ------ to ------. I am self employed and specialize in photography and video work. Becca’s job requires her to be available during the standard work day - 8pm to 5pm. I have a little bit more flexibility with when I can do my work, so right away it became apparent that Becca would be working during the day, and I would work on editing photos and video in the evening when they went to sleep.  

We left a chilly Sioux Falls at 6am and arrived in sunny and mild San Diego at 1pm. We Ubered a car to our AirBnb (so 2016 of us) and made our way through the front gate and back to our little cottage appropriately named “The Urban Farmhouse”. It was Super Bowl Sunday, so we walked around the North Park neighborhood in search of pizza. We walked back to our place, ate dinner on a coffee table and watched the Super Bowl in spanish via a station broadcasting out of Tijuana, Mexico.

Our first four days in San Diego were by far the busiest and most challenging on the work end. Balancing the excitement of being in a new place with having to stay focused and productive was probably the biggest challenge at first. Keeping our daughter occupied and content was also something we had to keep focused on, luckily we had a rental car and an unlimited amount of things to do to occupy a 4 year old. Jonah and I spent most of the first four days coming in and out of the house throughout the day. Becca would be posted up on her laptop in the living room or bedroom, and Jonah and I would do our best to not bother her while on conference calls or in need of focus.

Usually when Becca was done working for the day, we would venture out as a family and go find a place to explore and some good food to eat, return to our little one bedroom house and I would start to think about getting some work done. Typically around 8pm I’d set up my laptop, hard drives and headphones and work on a short documentary piece for a project with Passenger.

I wrote down a list of goals that I hoped to accomplish while we were on the trip. I managed to cross most of the important things off of the list right away and added a few additional things to it as I went. I somehow managed to read 2 books while we were gone - that was the one that surprised me the most.

As our time ended in San Diego, Becca had managed to get a lot accomplished in what ended up being a very busy work week for her. We packed up our bright red Kia and headed up to Anaheim for Disneyland and then up to Los Angeles to meet up with a couple of the Lemonly folks so Becca could join them for the Grammy Awards.

Our 4 bedroom apartment in Venice Beach was a welcomed change from our dingy hotel in Anaheim. Moving around to a different city every 2-3 days really kept this trip fresh. Getting to experience that child-like excitement of walking into a nice place in a new and interesting location was refreshing. We planned our stop in L.A. so Becca could link up with the Lemonly crew and attend the Grammy’s. Staying in Venice Beach was really nice, I’m surprised how much work I was able to get done with all the extra distractions, but it worked out well. I would spend a few hours here and there chipping away at a video edit and going through photos that I had taken that day. We spent our our days exploring and trying to keep Jonah occupied, we spent a day at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Arts) which was amazing and really great for kids. We ate good food, enjoyed some amazing coffee, explored the Venice canals and headed to the beach for sunset everyday that we were there.

After our time was up in Venice, we had pretty much wrapped up all the work we had hoped to get done, which was good because we planned on finishing out our trip in Big Sur where there was pretty much no cell service and very slow internet. We left L.A. and continued north up the Pacific Coast Highway which is one of the most breathtaking coastal drives. We had lunch in Malibu where we enjoyed some fresh seafood and amazing ocean views. We spent one night in San Luis Obispo to break up the long drive to Big Sur. SLO was a very unexpectedly pleasant surprise. We loved the small feel of the town. It felt a little more cozy and friendly than San Diego and L.A. We spent a lot of time walking around the main street in downtown, exploring shops, drinking smoothies and walking along the river that runs directly through the town. After Becca and Jonah went to bed, I grabbed my laptop and hard drive and headed to a coffee shop to finish up a few last things.

We spent the last few days of our trip exploring the never ending beauty of Big Sur. What an amazing place. We were blown away by the gorgeous landscapes and ocean views. On our last day we headed towards San Francisco to spend the day before we caught our red eye flight back to South Dakota.

All in all, this was a wonderful trip. We managed to be productive and get quite a bit of work done, while still enjoying all the sites and adventures that California had to offer. It was great to spend 2 weeks together exploring, and having goals and some responsibilities while traveling helped keep us occupied. Going into the trip I was pretty anxious about traveling with a 4-year old and a pregnant wife, but it ended up being one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was a trip that we’ll never forget and something that we’ll definitely do again as a family.

Day 1 - Leaving Sioux Falls, arriving in San Diego

Day 2 - San Diego, CA, North Park - AirBnb

Day 3 - San Diego, CA, North Park - AirBnb

Day 4 - San Diego, CA, North Park - AirBnb

Day 5 - San Diego, CA, North Park - AirBnb

Day 6 - Leave San Diego - Drive to Anaheim, CA - 96 Miles, 1 hour 45 minute drive. (hotel)

Day 7 - Anaheim CA - DisneyLand (hotel)

Day 8 - Leave Anaheim - Drive to Los Angeles, CA - 26 Miles, 1 hour drive. (Venice Beach House)

Day 9 - Los Angeles, CA - (Venice Beach House)

Day 10 - Los Angeles, CA - (Venice Beach House)

Day 11 - Leave Los Angeles, Drive to San Luis Obispo, CA - 189 MIles, 3.5 hour Drive (Hotel)

Day 12 - Leave San Luis Obispo, Drive up Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur, CA - 99 Miles, 2 hour drive (Cabin Motel)

Day 13 - Big Sur, CA (Cabin Motel)

Day 14 - Leave Big Sur, Drive to San Francisco, CA - 73 miles, Hour and a half drive

 

Fly out of San Francisco at 12:30 AM Arrive back in Sioux Falls at 10am