I left feeling a little bit guilty. Eleven days on vacation, detached from my desk. Seven of those days I wouldn't even have internet, or a cell phone. The world could end and I wouldn't even know...

Then the vacation hit. We climbed aboard an Amtrak train. Two and a half days of forced relaxation with nothing but books, scenery, and a deck of cards to pass the time. Eight more driving and hiking through legendary sights. For large portions of the trip, I couldn't even check voicemail. Email was intermittent. Twitter was simply unthinkable.

And the strange thing was... I found myself loving it. This self-enforced digital exile floated us all back to simpler times. If I wanted to ask my wife a question, I couldn't text. I had to hike round and find her to ask. And got to see her smile in the process too.

We found time to remember the sound of a cool mountain stream, the chill of late night wind, the laughter of a family playing cards together.

Utah's salt flats. Yosemite. Mighty redwoods and beach towns with steep mountain trails. Trains, planes and automobiles, never leaving the side of my wife and 3 kids, dancing to the same music and even sleeping in the same room for most of the trip.

And upon our return I reflected, I'd started off the trip afraid I'd have to spend too much time away from work. I returned afraid I might spend too much time working. There's a wisdom in the balance I hope I'm growing to respect.

And you already know this for yourself. This is why you plan vacations with care. You rest enough to be your best. You know how to smile at the end of each day. You are the example I hope to pursue.