Fully Booked VA Blog

2016 Workation: 2 Months in South Padre Island, Texas

It’s not quite two weeks since we arrived home from almost two months away. Crazy, right?

I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve been away from home ever! Long story short, it was AMAZING — warm and relaxing, but it didn’t come without its fair share of challenges.

For example, we were all sick on the way down to Texas. We decided to pack up and leave our place after an early dinner on a Friday night and drive straight through from Minnesota to Fort Worth, TX where I was going to meet one of my VA clients in person for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, the kids did great, we didn’t have any car trouble and for the most part it was a breeze. But Wade and I didn’t sleep (he likes to drive, so he was busy doing that). I tried to not need too many bathroom breaks, kept the kids content and was the keeper of cough drops. 😉

Stopping to Meet a Client

After doing my makeup in a McDonald’s restroom, we visited a local (kinda ghetto) park as we were a little too early (which is better than too late, right?) to let the kids stretch their legs and get some energy out. Then we pulled up to my client’s house and chatted for an hour while our youngest dragged my client’s wife around and raided their cabinet for snacks, LOL!

Was it worth it? Hell yeah! I had the opportunity to make our relationship stronger with the in person meeting and he now knows what a weirdo I  am in real life! 😉

Austin, Texas

After our planned stop, we headed to Austin where we met up with our close friend that’s wintering with his mama (he’s in his 50’s and his mom’s in her 90’s) and went sightseeing and recovered from the longest drive ever for a couple of days.

I also had the opportunity to meet Miss Lucia and Amy Renkin in person. Oh, what fun! By the end of our coffee date we were chatting and giggling up a storm. And both girls have gone on to kick some serious freelance writing butt – proud of you!! (I also got to meet up with Donna, another 30DOL alum in SPI and really enjoyed our walk and talk.)

Was it worth it? Yep, Austin is a kick-ass city and meeting people that have taken my courses in person was AWESOME!

SPI Forever!

Monday morning and we were back in the car to make the last leg of our drive down to South Padre Island or SPI. (Wade totally just ordered some “Winter Texans” window stickers — yep, total dorks over here!)

Again, the kiddos were sick for the first week to 10 days we were away. For the most part Wade and I got rid of it and our oldest was fine besides a cough, but lil miss was fighting a high fever that just wouldn’t go away. So a trip to the doctor, two trips to Walmart and $500 later (it was ridiculous, even with it being “in our network” and having insurance…) we had what we needed to kick it for good.

Besides the early bout of sickness, the rest of the trip was sunshine and roses. Our condo was beach side and we went to the ocean almost daily. It wasn’t really warm enough to swim in, except towards the end, but there’s just something about water and sand. So beautiful and calming!

Working While Away

SPIThe highlights were definitely as follows:

  1. Beach — See above.
  2. Warm weather — Sounds like we lucked out and had an amazing weather year. Last year it was colder, rainy and not that great I guess.
  3. Flexible schedule — I tried to limit the entries on my calendar while down in Texas, but didn’t completely eliminate all appointments. Mondays and Wednesdays were for the most part clear and more flexible than the rest of the week. We did more sightseeing stuff on those days and the weekends.
  4. Visitors — Wade’s aunt and uncle have been coming to SPI for the last dozen years or so and were funnily enough only a couple of blocks away. His parents flew down the first week we were there and stayed with them, but we still got to see them a lot. My parents came down shortly thereafter and stayed with us, as well as the same friend from Austin. Wade’s other aunt and uncle also stayed with his aunt later on in our trip. So we got to see more family on our trip than at home! For sure one of the best highlights!

The low-lights or challenges:

  1. Sickness — See above.
  2. No office — The kids and Wade are at home all of the time normally, but at home I have a separate space to work. In SPI, not so much! He was able to take them outside a lot (especially as they recovered), but it made for a hard time focusing and a few interesting phone call interruptions!
  3. Crappy internet — This was the biggest challenge. The internet was inconsistent and when all of the old people (we were with a lot of retirees) were watching NetFlix in the evening, it made for a challenging time to work. I ended up using my hotspot a bunch and blowing up my data plan, but it was worth it!
  4. I worked full-time — This would be the one thing I changed about next year. Next year I want to have my business in a position where I can work part-time during a season (like when we’re in Texas). Right now it’s heavily dependent on me and that’s okay, but I’d like to see that change for 2017, since I don’t really take much time off anyway. And I do need a break sometimes!

Was it worth it? Absofrickenlutely!

We had one of the best times of our lives and grew stronger as a family. Those toddlers of mine are only going to be little so long and watching them run around outside for a couple of months, rather than being cooped up in the frozen tundra was worth its weight in gold!

We ended up extending our stay for two more weeks, due to the sickness and because we could and then spent a few nights with our old neighbors in Illinois on the way home. We can’t wait to do it again next year and have already booked our place!

In Conclusion

Workations are fun, but they’re also surprisingly, work!

I learned a lot from my first snowbird experience and look forward to using that new-found knowledge to make next year even better. I’m not a person of regrets and tend to be able to find the silver lining in most things, so although I worked more than I would have liked, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Have you ever taken a workation or left home for a few months at a time? If so, tell me about it in the comments!

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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