Away Days are Good

When you are a home-based freelancer, sometimes you just have to get away.

I don’t mean just to escape the drudgery of everyday life, we all need that… I mean get away, meet other people and get a bit of training in.

It’s all too easy to turn into a hermit, concentrate solely on work and forget that human interaction is vital for a healthy working life. We get used to our day to day working lives, our home-based professional development and family life. Sometimes taking a trip and going out on a training course can feel like too much trouble. Of course there are the ever present monetary constraints if you are truly remote, and the logistics of getting anywhere can be a problem too.  But sometimes you just have to get on with it.

And that’s just what I did this week. I cleared my schedule, left the family to fend for themselves and went on a three-day, 600 mile round trip to do something I’d been wanting to do for ages. I went on an Adobe InDesign day course. Yes, it took three days for me to attend a one day course, but it really was worth it. I love the design aspect of, well, basically everything, and after regularly using Photoshop for personal projects I decided that InDesign will help my work, and my knowledge of Adobe software stood me in good stead. Not only did the course help with my knowledge of the program, it also got me out and about, I met some wonderful people who up until now were just names on a list, and I came away with a refreshed outlook on my working life. I loved every minute of it.


So you see, getting away and learning something new is so much more than just updating skills to help your business… it can invigorate and refresh.

Here’s what I learned this week, apart from the course content:

1. I love InDesign and will continue to learn more about the program. I feel it will be useful for a variety of reasons and whether I use it for work or not, it’s a handy skill to have.

2. There are bluebell fields along the A9 (the main road down from the Far North of Scotland) that I have never seen before as I rarely move beyond my county at this time of the year.

3. Connecting with new people is a great way to see the world with fresh eyes.

4. It’s scary going to new places when you don’t know the area, but website directions and Googlemaps make life easier. And nothing is as scary as your brain makes it seem.

5. Trips away are expensive (don’t go shopping on the way home).

6. When I’m driving on my own no-one cares if I put one song on repeat again and again, and the music can be as loud as I like (as long as I’m not in a built up area obviously).

7. There’s a lot of catching up to do once you get home, so it’s best to clear a few days after a trip if you can.

There are always positives and negatives to away days, but on the whole the positives are far more important. So if you can, put away some money for training, remember to include funds for accommodation, petrol, food and incidentals, and clear your schedule for the time needed. Even if you only do it once a year you will benefit immensely.

I only wish I’d done this training sooner.

So how have you found training? Do you have specific obstacles to overcome before deciding to go on a course? Do you go on courses often?

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