Suggested ‘Out Of Office’ Replies While You’re On The River

3 Min. Read

Suggested ‘Out Of Office’ Replies While You’re On The River

Let’s say you’ve finally done it:

You booked yourself an awesome adventure vacation, and you’re making all the necessary preparations for a week or two, not only out of the office, but out of the reach of any and all modern communications.

So, if you’re organized and prepared (i.e. not like this guy), you’ll actually remember to create a voicemail greeting for your cell phone letting people know you’re on the trip, and even an automated “out of office” email reply to all your customers and coworkers.

You might be thinking, well, anything I say about the amazing place I’m going and how utterly soul-satisfying a trip I’m on is not going to win me friends. And, sure, that’s a possibility.

But, what’s more dangerous is not preparing people for the renewed vigor, optimism and peace of mind with which you’ll return. That’s why you need these carefully crafted “out of office” replies.

(Fact: The Dalai Lama still uses this same approach whenever he leaves his folks behind for a retreat. Which, according to the parts of the Internet we read, is to go rafting.)

To ready your friends and coworkers, we suggest using the following:

  • The simple and direct email reply: “I’m on vacation, so I won’t be able to get back to you right away. If you promise not to flood my inbox while I’m gone, I’ll promise not to make you look at all the pictures I took on this amazing trip when I get back.”
  • Tell them in your voicemail greeting, “By now, you’ve no doubt heard about the awesome river trip I’m on. However, before you start to speak ill of me on the next conference call, I’d like to point out all the ills that might befall me on this trip: sunburn, sand in everything I own, rattlesnake bite, giardia, water up the nose, sand in my food, blisters in places you didn’t know you could get blisters, swarms of mosquitoes, leaking tent, swarms of mosquitoes bringing sand into my tent …”
  • Get your phone right up next to your computer speakers and record these birds and waterfalls on your voicemail greeting. You can narrate over it: “Before you get jealous that I’m off communing with nature, keep in mind that bird’s singing because he stole my lunch.” Depending on the climate of your office, you might describe the bird doing worse than stealing the sandwich.
  • Alternate work e-mail auto-reply: “You’ve received this because I’m away on a life-transforming river trip through the Grand Canyon. I might never be back, actually. I should probably give you the number of a co-worker here at the office who can help you in my absence. Instead, I encourage you to call my adventure vacation consultant and follow me. The number is below.”

And, if you attached the number for an OARS adventure consultant, well, we’d be mighty flattered. Whatever you do with your “out of office” voicemail, don’t be this guy.


Reid Williams

Reid has guided whitewater and taught swiftwater rescue in the U.S. and Central America on 13 different rivers, after brief turns as a chemistry teacher and a newspaper journalist.

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