I truly love the work that I do with every bone in my body, and that means I tend to throw myself into it and all of the problems, complexities and pressures that it entails. Stress and pressure can quickly build up so it’s important to spend some time away in order to remain healthy and positive.

This week my VP of Engineering and the rest of my team gave me a day off to relax and spend some time enjoying being present here in San Francisco. It just so happened to collide with my friend Jurvis’ last week in the USA, and my friend Mert had already decided to fly into town from Atlanta to spend some time with us both. We caught up for coffee a couple of times, had lunch over the weekend and made plans over dinner to rent a car and make a day trip up to Yosemite Valley together on the Tuesday. Mert and I’s last encounter was in the line at 4am for the WWDC ’15 keynote outside of Moscone, so having the chance to hang out more properly this time sounded pretty sweet to us both.

On Tuesday morning we woke up at 5am to torrential rain, and rocked up to the rental car office only to find out that it was impossible to secure a rental car without my holding a US credit card along with my international license. Instead of wasting hours fighting with public transport to get up to Yosemite only to have to make the trip back in terrible weather, we decided to spend the day taking photos around the city and exploring the Bay Area.

Our first stop was Mazarine Coffee on Market, where we properly woke ourselves up, waited for the rain to die out and for the sun to rise. We walked through Chinatown past Embarcadero to Fort Mason and shot a few photos along the way. I find photo walks like this are always a great opportunity to just chat, and banter about problems, ideas, people and life in general. Despite all of our geographical distances over the years, we have quite a lot in common so we had plenty to talk and laugh about.

We then caught a Lyft to Sightglass Coffee and camped out for a while recharging our energy, and our phones. We shot a few photos, checked Twitter, relaxed and figured out what our plans were next. We each drank Iced Almond coffees which ended up being way more refreshing than we initially expected.

One thing that each of us seems to have in common is an underlying passion, and interest in photography. Mert was shooting with a Fujifilm XT10, Jurvis with his Nikon D600 and I had my Olympus OMD EM-1. This meant we had a lot to argue about and a few different photos to compare.

Moving on from more coffee, we walked to Mission Dolores Park which was much quieter than the first time I’d seen it. We picked a spot right at the top of the hill and just baked in the sun for a while. It wasn’t long before a few other groups of people had the same idea and sat down around us. Both times I’ve been to Dolores park it has been a pretty chilled out, and awesome vibe that makes me want to come back again and again. At this point the sun was as hot as it has ever been since I arrived in the US. I removed all of my many different layers of jackets and sweaters so that I could soak it up.

We found a great burger place nearby and ate some lunch, then slowly walked back from Mission to my apartment and collapsed on the couch before calling it a day. Aside from a couple of urgent questions quickly on Slack, I didn’t think much about work for the entire day and had a chance to just escape momentarily from the deadlines, code and complexities that I would otherwise be vying for my attention. Our initial plans didn’t work out, but I had just as awesome a time hanging out and being present in San Francisco with two of the smartest, and most passionate guys in my life right now.

If you’re like me and always thinking about work, take a day to switch off and be chill. It helps keep you together and on top of it all without burning out.