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Do You Work When You're Supposed to Be Playing?

Working vacations - addiction, health hazard ... or source of happiness?

Do you work while you're away on vacation?


I confess: I have to keep a hand in things. Sometimes it's because I don't want to lose momentum, especially when it comes to maintaining a consistent presence on social media. For other instances, it's because I don't want to lose out on a great opportunity when it presents itself. 


Mostly though (and here's the true confession), it's because I love what I do. After all, I started up this career of mine later in life. After the "serious" corporate career that padded my 401K nicely. During the final years as a stay-at-home mom when I had put my own ambitions on hold while I tended to my family. At a time when I could finally invest in lifelong dreams.


And because I've always been a bit of an overachiever, I pursue three lines of related work:


  • 🎬 on camera acting (film, TV, commercials, corporate industrials)

  • 🗣️ voice overs

  • ★ coaching business people how to become better on camera themselves


Author Laura Doman posing with a (live) Bengal tiger
And no, this Bengal tiger was NOT drugged.

The Vacation

My husband gifted me with a combination early big birthday, big anniversary surprise: a cruise to Southeast Asia. It was fantastic, memorable, and quite educational. During our visit in Saigon, we learned about what they call "The American War" from the perspective of the North Vietnamese. The highlight was visiting the Cu Chi tunnels to see (and crawl through!) their extensive underground system used during World War II against the French and during the Vietnam War against the South Vietnamese and their American allies.


We also marveled at exquisite Buddhist temples in Thailand and at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, explored the vast and recently discovered Underground Caves in the Philippines, and hiked a portion of the rain forest in Borneo, home of the infamous headhunter tribes. (No headhunters or shrunken heads appeared or were harmed during our visit.)


Part of the Angkor Wat temple complex, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, located in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World (Cambodia).

The Work

I discovered a few things, especially on board the ship at sea, that determined exactly what type of work and how much of it I could actually do. Most critically, there was no decent internet access! It was difficult to retrieve email, many sites including YouTube and TikTok were completely unavailable, and files regardless of size could not be uploaded. Even the satellite servie Starlink wasn't a possibility.


It sounded like this vacation was going to be a completely work-free vacation, but I was able to do a few things:


  • 🎬 I could self-tape on camera auditions for projects sent by my agents for anything filming after I got back. The biggest challenge? Convincing my husband to be my reader and to do it conversationally and willingly. (sigh) The second biggest challenge was finding time to memorize these scripts without taking precious time away from the vacation itself. Since quite a few excursions involved 1 hour or longer bus rides to get us to where we were going and back, that's when I did my thing.


Uploading the audition tapes was accomplished in one of two ways: waiting to get to port and using my cell phone's international calling plan to do the uploads ... and (at port) emailing the audition files to my daughter, who's very familiar with the on camera casting sites and could upload them for me.


  • 🗣️ Voice over? Forget about it! Why? Because voice over auditions have extremely fast turnarounds. Audition one day, record the next. Besides the inability to upload files at a moment's notice, the noise floor was atrociously LOUD (-27db for those in the know) and I didn't have the space or the materials to significantly improve it. No professional voice actor worth their salt is going to knowingly submit an audition with bad audio.


  • Thank you, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube (OK, also to TikTok for being able to schedule up to 10 days out) for giving us the opportunity to schedule posts! Between fairly reliable email service and automatic postings, I didn't have to totally disappear from view with regard to my consulting/coaching business. I may not have been able to engage via commenting as often as I'd prefer, but at least I maintained a consistent presence.


All in all, I was able to keep my hand in it from time to time. Nothing that prevented me from doing anything else and, more importantly, nothing to get my husband ticked off at me about it.


Author Laura Doman poses with a trained elephant in Thailand.
The well-trained elephants at Elephant Stay are camera hounds, too.

Your Choice

How about you? What's your philosophy about working while you're supposed to be playing? 😆


There've been more than a few polls on this subject, with most people choosing to engage on social media once in a while and answering critical emails when they thought it urgent. Otherwise, except for a few workaholics, it was time for the rest of the polled sample to just forget about business for a while and enjoy the time off.


Disengaging from work for a vacation is truly beneficial in all respects: personal health, prevention against burnout, and the opportunity to gain a new perspective on life, especially through travel. As an actor, new activities and experiences (like riding on an elephant or hugging a tiger - and emerging unscathed!) add to the repertoire of what we bring to the table. Learning about different cultures does so, too - it's invaluable to us as human beings, to appreciate the wider world around us and develop respect for varying viewpoints.


One of the things we learned about at Thailand's Royal Elephant Preserve was the plight of both the Asian and African elephants. The full-time volunteers at the preserve do wonderful work, lovingly caring for elephants of all ages, especially the old and retired working elephants. We learned a great deal about their recent histories (poachers!) and how their populations are protected and boosted through humanitarian efforts. You can read about the work they and their international volunteers do at www.elephantstay.com - including how to book your working vacation with them and live, work, and play with these elephants.


Whatever you choose to do ... happy travels!



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I'm Laura Doman, Actress & Voice Artist, Improv Performer, Hands-on Mom, and former tech industry Sales Executive. I help people chase their later-in-life dreams through better communication, using performance skills I've honed through years of corporate experience and on-camera appearances...More about me >>

 


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