I took (and am taking) the final three weeks of 2007 off from work. Well, at least full time work. I'm still glancing at email once in a while and responding to anything I can respond to in two sentences or less, and I'm still getting on the MSDN testing forums every week or so to answer some questions. The truth is, I'm not very good at taking time off. I like to stay in touch with what's happening on the job, and I dread the amount of time it would take me to catch up. Yes, I know this is a stupid attitude, and I plan to try to take more vacation (real vacation) this year to "practice" getting away.
I did manage to get away from everything for a week. Yesterday, I returned from a week in Japan. We spent the first and last night in Tokyo, and spent the remaining time visiting friends in Saijo. I was teaching in Japan last June, and was too busy to take a few days to visit them, and as soon as I tasted the home cooked Japanese food I regretted skipping the visit. I love Japanese food, and quicky forget how many great foods are available that are difficult to find in the US. Unfortunately, I also forgot how much I dislike natto. I try it just about every time I go to Japan, but I just can't bring myself to eat a whole bowl.
We spent the final night at an onsen lodge. I love Japanese baths and find them very relaxing. There's nothing like taking an uber-hot bath outdoors with a spectacular mountain view. After a few minutes you completely forget that it's about 36 degreed (farenheit) outside.
I have been traveling a lot recently, and it was nice to get away for a while without needing to work. I managed to stay away from email and blogs, and had time to think about a lot of things going on with work and life. It was a big reminder to me how important vacations - real vacations are, and how they can give you refreshment and insight you may not know you even need.
Here's looking to a fantastic and successful 2008.