I’m a chronic offender of the “work-life balance” concept. I work, work and work. That’s what I do and I do it – happily. My vacations are centered around work because I will structure my travel around a project. Generally, vacationing is a tiresome chore that requires you hours of research and planning that results in you needing a vacation from “the vacation.”
Working on a project during your vacation allows you to structure you days around a concrete goal with a purpose, so that you’re not left with downtime and a backlog, when you get home. Getting things done consistently will leave you feeling accomplished and let you enjoy your vacation even more.
The project doesn’t necessarily have to be for work or money, it could be a hobby or a passion that you’ve always wanted to try. Working around something is a great framework to limit your choices and concentrate on a specific idea that will leave you with a finished product at the end of your stay. This is a memento that’ll last the test of time.
Example, I’ve recently reached out to, the awesome, Derek Sivers of CD Baby and TED Conference fame to help work with his project – Woodegg.com. Woodegg’s goal is to produce a Frommers Guide to Entrepreneurs for Asia. The world is a smaller place than it was years ago and its more important than ever to expand into new markets and leverage the efficacies of other nations.
Here is the exact email I sent:
My name is Cameron Keng and I’d love to write about entrepreneurship in Taiwan. I’m a Taiwanese CPA, Enrolled Agent authorized to practice before the IRS with a bachelor in journalism. My family has a long history in the country as part of the founding party (Koumingtang aka “KMT”) with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek.
My grandfather was among the first aviators in Chinese history holding the rank of Colonel in the Republic of China’s (ROC) National Army, where he served directly under Chiang Kai-Shek in World War II as well as in the conflict between the Communists and the Nationalists that led to their eventual move to Taiwan. He wrote the first Chinese manual on modern radio communication and radar signal for aviation as well as instructed a prior Minister of National Defense.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my life by owning an accounting firm specializing in taxation and international law as well as other endeavors with many failures in between.
I’m deeply excited that someone is interested in Taiwan and bringing entrepreneurs to the country because it is definitely a nation that is underestimated for the value that it offers in the international community.
An example is the quality of engineers ranging from software to hardware that the country consistently produces because engineering is considered very appealing culturally and professionally. But, the mindset of the people is very different than Americans because they are also taught to look at entrepreneurism as a shameful endevour that is chosen because you weren’t able to find a job. Thus, they make the perfect employee as an individual with drive and willingness to stay in a company long-term.
Also, another example of an interesting quirk in Taiwan is that it incorporating in Taiwan could be potentially very expensive. So, often the native Taiwanese citizens will open and close companies every year in their initial startup phase in order to continue operations. This is a common costly mistake that foreign entrepreneurs would make because they weren’t able to communicate with the local administrative employees and learn the “industry practices.”
I hope that I was able to provide an insight into Taiwan and that we’ll have an opportunity to work together on this project. I look forward to speaking to you soon!
Derek was gracious enough to allow me to join his project as a co-author to the Taiwan guide. So, my vacation is going to focus on interviewing and meeting fellow expats and entrepreneurs as well as writing. There’s definitely an art to cold calling or cold emailing people (probably talk about that later), so I’d suggest you try it as often as you can. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll get by just asking!
The email above was sent 3 weeks ago and I’m now in Taiwan co-authoring the book with Derek.
To me, working during this vacation is the best downtime I could possible imagine.