Sunday, August 10

Next Vacation: Laptop

I resonated a bit reading John Dickerson’s recent Slate piece giving the presidential candidates lifehacking advice for their vacations. The piece touches off from Obama’s recent admission to Tory leader David Cameron that he searches for chunks of time during the day to just think.

Dickerson’s advice is to take the opportunity during vacation time to think, and he zeroes in what the candidates do for their best thinking:
Barack Obama will probably spend some of his vacation writing. It's clear from his autobiography, and from the model answers he gave students when he was a law professor, that he processes ideas by working them out on paper. … McCain would design the opposite regimen for his vacation. He's not a writer; he's a talker. … On his vacation, maybe McCain could schedule off-the-record bus tours with reporters, editorial writers, and experts in various fields.
Having just come back from a short vacation of my own — which was certainly pleasurable but leaves me feeling even more rushed and hectic heading into the week — I wonder if camping in remote Maine was necessarily the best possible vacation.

I’m struck by a bit of a paradox: given that I am in the admittedly extremely lucky position of loving what I do for my job (coding and blogging), my vacation from it took me away from my best thinking. Of course, it also took me away from what I don’t like about my job (see ClichĂ©d List of Knowledge Worker Gripes, Volumes I–III), and for that I’m quite grateful.

I think that for my next vacation, that campground in Maine is still a good idea, but I should bring a sand-proof laptop and copy of Coda.