I talked to my wife tonight about our potential travel plans this year. We really haven’t had a real vacation since we went to the Middle East on tour in late 2001. (We traveled to the Middle East just before the Afghan War started in 2002. Fortunately, the trip was relatively incident-free.) I spent a couple of years pursuing my MBA, and my son was born just before I graduated. We were homebound during his first year of life. After I graduated, I briefly worked as a consultant and was on the road frequently. I had no time for a vacation. Then in early 2004 I started this job, and I haven’t had a vacation in over a year on the job. We did spend a few days in Hawai in mid-February before arriving in Seoul. However, my family was ill with the flu, and I had to work for a couple days in Honolulu. Alas, Hawaii was not much of a vacation aside from spending quality time with my brother and wife and some sweet moments at the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki. We’ve been out and about in Seoul, but we haven’t taken any vacations since we arrived. Unfortunately, the summer months will be extremely busy, and in the fall I’ll be preoccupied with the upcoming APEC Conference in Busan. It doesn’t leave us much time for vacation. Next December we will return to the U.S. for some rest and recuperation, and during the spring or summer we want to take a mini-trip somewhere in Korea or Asia. My wife did some research and discovered, much to my surprise, that it costs almost as much to travel to Jeju Island as it does to go to Phuket, Thailand. Jeju Island is one of Korea’s greatest treasures. It’s a beautiful island off the south coast of Korea, a must-see for anyone traveling to Korea. Phuket is an especially popular destination for Koreans. Phuket/Bangkok tour packages are relatively cheap right now. Phuket sustained significant damage from the Tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia, and tour packages there are cheap because Thailand is trying to rebuild its tourist industry. Our biggest challenge is finding the time go on vacation. U.S.’ Memorial Day would be the best time for us to go because Koreans celebrate their own Memorial Day is one week later. Unfortunately, I have some job commitments to fulfill around Memorial Day. Traveling on Korean Memorial Day is a possibility, but traveling in Korea during a Korean holiday is a nightmare. We may not have an opportunity to go on vacation until Christmastime.
I did it again. I overcommitted myself during the next two weeks. It wasn’t my intention. I told myself I wouldn’t overcommit anymore myself because I almost killed myself volunteering for everything during my MBA program. I tend to say “yes” when given an opportunity to volunteer. I’ve wanted to reach out to the local community through a speaking engagement, so I inadvertently volunteered myself to speak twice in the next two weeks. I signed up for the talent show next week and will sing a couple of songs. I have to report out to the section head on a key operations management project I’ve been working on for the past two months. I volunteered to help with the company picnic as grill master and arrange transportation. I move to a new assignment on June 1st and have to wrap up my current job by the end of the month. If I can get through the next two weeks without incident, I will be very happy. It’s going to be quite a challenge. The public speaking opportunities will be particularly nerve wracking, because I don’t particularly enjoy speaking publicly. It’s something I have to do, though. Public speaking is a critical skill I need to nurture. Communication is key.