I have a confession to make: Even though I worked my butt off to meet several deadlines before I left, and even though I did leave my regular laptop behind, I did actually work a little on my trip.
And I planned it that way, too.
I was afraid of losing my work — heck, my livelihood if something happened to my laptop overseas, so I decided early on that I was not going to take my laptop to Europe with me. Instead, I brought my old NEC Mobilepro 770, an outdated handheld laptop that I'd bought used in college to allow me to take notes in class via typing rather than hand-writing.
The Mobilepro is probably about a decade old now, so it doesn't have the same capabilities as modern laptops — it has a regular phone connection and a built-in modem, but no DSL jack, and definitely no wireless capabilities. Still, it has its uses: Running on Windows CE, it has "pocket" versions of Microsoft Office, including Word, and a Compact Flash drive that allows you to transfer files quickly and easily. Also, the screen is a half-VGA and the laptop runs completely on flash memory (meaning it has no moving parts), so it weighs just over a pound and fits easily in the messenger bag I was planning to carry as a purse overseas.
So one of the things I did before leaving for Europe was to get together a bunch of research for some content articles I was writing for a client, copying everything into Word so that I could pull it up on the Mobilepro. I also took with me the files for my website (so that I could work on the updates I have been meaning to finish), and kept a travel journal. In this manner I planned to have plenty to do on the plane and the trains: Although the batteries don't have the same 8-hour life they had when they were newer, they still last for around 4 hours each, and I have two of them.
Laying in bed working our first night in England, I started to think how terrible it was: Here I was in Haworth, for heaven's sake, and I was working! Then it occurred to me that maybe it wasn't really so terrible. After all, I was working because I wanted to, not because I had deadlines I had to meet. And I had known all along that I would — in fact, the main reason I brought the Mobilepro was because I was hoping that being in Haworth would inspire me, and I wanted to be prepared.
So maybe working on vacation isn't such a bad thing. After all, we are all writers because that is what we love, so it's different than someone with a job they hate having to work on vacation.
Do you work on vacation? And if so, do you feel guilty or regretful about doing so, or do you work on vacation because you choose to?