this picture was taken from here
A workation is a trip or vacation where you must perform some task for your regular work. Although you may be in a new or exotic locale, you may have to attend meetings, telecommute, or complete projects for your job. — www.wisegeek.com
I think companies should really consider to do this once in a while *grin*, this is what it looks like… Luckily, as a PhD student I have the flexibility to do this kind of stuff. The bear is actually Dr. Bear now, but as a Postdoc who hasn’t started his teaching activity yet, he has the same flexibility. So yeah, we decided to give it a shot. And the destination for our first workation is… Gran Canaria, in Canary Islands!
Why there? Because… it’s November, autumn was gradually changing into winter in Italy, Trento/Bolzano was showering most of the time, and we want a warm place, with sun! Our first option was Egypt, but I need to get a visa to go there, while Canary Islands are still in the Schengen area (Spanish islands), hence no visa is needed, my residence permit is sufficient.
The first thing that we need is a good place to stay for a week, with a fast and reliable internet connection (first priority), and a reasonable price (second priority). For location, we don’t really need the shortest access to a beach, because this is usually monopolized by expensive luxurious resorts. We were looking for such a place through airbnb.com and tripadvisor.com, until we finally found a place that we wanted: Villa la Bella (Bungalow) in Maspalomas.
Unfortunately, the villa was not fully available for our planned stay duration. So we had to spend the first night in Vecindario, a small town between the airport and Maspalomas. It was a really nice hostel actually, only a few meters from the beach, so we slept with sounds of waves as a lullaby. The next morning… off we go to Maspalomas! On the way, we saw a sign for El Doctoral, must be a place where the Doctors, including Dr. Bear, should go :D.
Villa la Bella is a really nice place, you could read my review of the place here. It is located on top of a hill, so the view is gorgeous. One day we even saw the nearby hills painted in color! *because of a very low rainbow* The owner has several horses, and she offered us a horse riding session, unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to do it. The villa also has a private pool!
So, what did we do when we were not busy with our works?
We did a hike somewhere in the inner part of the island. We went to a volcanic rock called Roque Nublo, a famous landmark of the island. On the way there, we passed by the Degollada de las Yeguas viewpoint, a very cool canyon. From Roque Nublo, it should be high enough to see Tenerife, the neighboring island. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Roque Nublo, we could only see white clouds around. So we decided to wait a bit until the clouds were clearing up… and I met St. Simon with his halo :D.
It was almost sunset when we could finally see Mount Teide of Tenerife. Its 3,718 m summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic — Wikipedia. The color of the sunset was amazing. And because we were above the clouds, we saw this fairy-tale-like view of a mountain…
The other activity was… diving! We found this place in Puerto Rico *not the one in the Caribbean :D* offering diving courses. Since we were both a beginner, we took the “Discover Scuba Diving” course. The similar course for 8-10 years old is called the “Bubblemaker” course :D. The gears are veeery heavy for me, the oxygen tank is perhaps around 15 kg? I also needed to put additional weight on my waist, around 6-7 kg. In the water of course I didn’t feel anything, but before and after that… I moved and walked like a snail. Anyway, a great first-time experience! 🙂 After that tiring weight-lifting, we just enjoyed the sun and the beach in a cafe nearby.
Maspalomas is famous for its vast sand dunes. One day we decided to just play with the sands ;). And I was a bit excited to walk pass by the nudist beach area *sorry, coming from the eastern culture, this is very new to me :p*.
Other activity inside the villa, except working *of course, since this was a workation ;)*, was playing with cats! The owner of the place has a lot of cats (maybe 6?), and two of them were our regular visitors.
We were a bit unlucky with the weather. There were heavy rainfalls and storms on our second last night there. As a result, there was a power cut for a while, and no internet on our last two days there :(. Well, our own bad luck, but the owner felt guilty and gave us a box of chocolates, hurray! 😀 Anyway, it seems that the storm we experienced while we were there was not the worst, one week later Canary Islands was hit by freak storms. Yeah, we should still be considered lucky :).
If you ask how our workation was going, was it successful or not, were we productive enough? Well, since this is our first time, some things could still be improved :p. Making a clear plan on when to work and when to relax is needed. For example, setting a clear timeline and also goals, how much work should be done before having fun.
And perhaps… less distraction is required, as illustrated in the below picture 😀