Believe it or not, the best break I had over the last few years was when I got COVID in December last year. Physically I felt quite painful, but mentally I was completely relaxed in those three days. To me, the best indicator for a great break is that I can totally ignore the clock. Just forget the time, and forget all things ruled by time. It doesn’t matter if I want to have breakfast at 5am or 11am, or get up at 3am or 5pm. No calendar reminders. No Slack messages. No hurry. As if the outside world had just stopped running. I stayed in bed for almost three full days, and did only one thing: I wrote a short novel in memory of my grandma, who passed away twenty years ago.
My favorite way of spending vacation time is writing, such as writing blog posts or letters to friends. I’m not very interested in traveling, unless it’s a trip from my home office to the kitchen, or a trip with close friends (in which case I don’t care about the destination). Compared to traveling by body, I enjoy traveling by mind more. When I sit quietly in front of my computer and type out words, I can travel back in time by two or three decades.
I will have worked for RStudio/Posit for ten full years in the coming August. Perhaps I’ll write some reflections then (like Norm did). Before then, I’ll take the longest break in the ten years, which will be two months. In June, I won’t be working but learning (most likely Lua) instead. In July, I’ll be mostly offline, to visit my family in China, whom I haven’t seen for seven years.
Although my employer strongly encourages us to take a break every few months, I still don’t feel completely comfortable with taking a break, especially a long one. I’m too used to Github and email notifications. However, ever since my colleague Christophe joined me in 2020, I have become much less concerned about Github issues. He has always done a splendid job dealing with those issues. For emails, I’ll have difficulty access Google services, including Gmail. I’d encourage you to use Github discussions instead, but I can only promise to read them in June and can’t promise to respond to them (other people might help you). You can still email me, but I’m just very slow in general responding to emails even when I’m in the US.
I have heard many times that my hometown looks quite different now, which I’m eager to see. We will fly out tomorrow. It will be quite a journey since we will have to make six stops in total. It has been extremely difficult to travel between US and China since the pandemic due to the very limited number of flights. Anyway, I’m thankful that it’s possible to travel now, even if it’s much less convenient than before. My parents can finally see their grandsons for the first time. My father has been “threatening” me over these years that if I still don’t go home, I may not have a chance to see him any more.
See you all in August!