Let’s start this out with one of my personal favorite activities and words: Brunch. Oh yes—that sweet spot of time in the day where they haven’t stopped making pancakes, but you can also sip a mimosa in public without judgment. Everybody brunches from time to time, but not everybody has the opportunity to simultaneously bust tail and live it up in their careers. Those people who have mastered the balance of work and play, are living a life of bleisure.
Bleisure = Business + Leisure
A Life of Bleisure: Mixing Business and Travel As A Medical Traveler
So, I’m sure you’re wondering, What is “bleisure”? Much like the word “brunch”, bleisure is an everyday mashup called a portmanteau ; the blending of two words into one.
Bleisure blends both the professional world of business and how you make your earned living, with the sparkle and pizazz of promised free time (i.e.- leisure.) It’s actually so new on the scene, that upon writing this, my auto-editing software still underlined the word in red like, “Hey girl. This simply isn’t a thing. Sorry.”
But I promise you, it does exist! In fact, today, bleisure is a part of 60 percent of all business trips taken in the U.S. While a normal business trip lasts around 2 days, bleisure can take up 6 days or more. It makes sense. Why not include a little "me-time" in with your quick flight to the other coast? Why not absorb all the things at your conference in the morning, then hit up that new art exhibit in town? We gotta make the most of our experiences and seize the moment when we can. Carpe diem, am I right?
Research consistently shows the health benefits of taking vacations, like lower stress and improved productivity. Employees from all walks of life and industries are consistently aware that if they take time off, they will not only be more mentally prepared for their work day, but consistently perform better at their work.
In a recent BBC article titled The Rise of the Bleisure Traveller, Jeanne Liu of the Global Business Travel Association explains the rise of the bleisure life, “It’s opportunistic: it depends if you’re going to a place you like and that you want to spend time in.”
Hold on, we’re talking about actually enjoying your life while you work!? There’s a lot of meme generators that are going to be put outta business, people! What phrases are we going to put on our coffee mugs with this new turn of events?! …But in all seriousness, there are jokes about “cases of the Mondays” and “no talkie before coffee” for a reason—if you don’t catch a break, you’re not enjoying your work life. So, of course, there’s popularity of blending both work and fun. It’s appealing to most everybody, given the constant state of instant gratification and time crunch we’re all accustomed to these days.
Nothing makes this fact more prevalent than the way we’re constantly trying to fit more into our daily routines. And here’s the sad reality of that hamster wheel we’re running in: we can’t scoop, buy, or get a discount on time. Time is fixed and there’s nothing you can do to gain an extra five hours in the day. Unless you know something I don’t and want to start schooling me in time travel? (P.S. - Please send me a DeLorean from 1985. Thanks.)
For a large majority of the workforce, chasing that shining star of the perfect blend between work life and free time is becoming a long-overdue trend. And while it is successful and well-received by several industries, what if your entire career hinges on full-time bleisure? I'm looking at you, medical travelers.
Often, patient influx and short staffing means your job is in high demand everywhere, so you can choose your own work location. Considering a place that needs your skills while also building in your sense adventure is not only commonplace in this industry, it’s encouraged. And when your job often takes you to new places, especially places you want to visit, your sense of balance with work and leisure is absolutely attainable.
Still though, medical travelers often find themselves in a myriad of choices. How do traveling medical professionals choose a city? Is it the posh urban city that’s super far from home, more expensive, yet it’s been on the bucket list for years? Is it a smaller, more quiet town that will help save money? The fact is, regardless of whether it’s built into your career, it’s not easy to travel. Besides the choices you have to make, uprooting yourself from the comfort of your network of friends and family, your familiar job and coworkers, and the streets you navigate each day can be uncomfortable and scary for new travelers. Then again, the monotony of your daily commute, your same sandwich every day, and your same job routine can leave you wanting more out of life.
Being in a travel-heavy job boasts several benefits, first and foremost the front-row seat to a life of bleisure, includes a happier YOU all around. Secondly, employees whose employer encourages vacations are much happier with their jobs than those who work at places where managers are hesitant about taking time off or vacation is discouraged. Research shows that leisurely travel reduces stress levels and can even decrease your risk of heart disease. A study found that three days after vacation, travelers felt better, were well-rested and in a good mood. These effects lasted for weeks after their return.
Regardless of research, at the very core of the matter, travel makes us happy. It gives us fulfillment and allows for self-discovery. It gives us a life education and introduces us to new experiences, ideas, people and perspectives; a refresher for our mind and mental health.
Obviously being a medical traveler carries its own levels of stress on the job, too. But isn’t it nice to know that this awesome career you’ve chosen is a trailblazer for the new bleisure business model that’s sweeping our society? It seems like medical travelers have been getting it right for a long time and others are just now starting to follow suit.
Now if we can start a mashup of “medical traveler” we might have the perfect portmanteau.
Somebody work on this one over brunch and get back to me.