Travel expert’s No.1 holiday realisation
I USUALLY travel at least once every six weeks but I've just wrapped up a two-week holiday - my first real holiday in five years - and I've realised "holiday me" is a completely different person to "travelling me".
Holiday me doesn't wear a watch. She doesn't even know where her phone is half the time. She wakes without an alarm, at whatever time that may be, and is happy if all she achieves in a day is a coffee, a swim, and reading a few chapters of the latest Liane Moriarty.
Holidays are meant to be laissez faire scenarios. Rushing is counterintuitive in a landscape blissfully free of deadlines and commitments. Plus, when you're using all your available time to relax the shiz out of life, there's no need to capture every single moment on Instagram (let's face it, shots of me channelling Stevie Nicks while driving or drooling onto my pillow do not a viral post make).
Whether you're at home, on a road trip, staying with friends, or are back in a ballin' Bali villa for the 27th time, holidays equate to a time to relax without the daily commute, list of chores or 'what are we having for dinner' discussion.
A safe space in which to revisit favourite haunts, enjoy brunch-that-migrates-into-dinner-and-dancing catch-ups with friends, sleep in the daytime without a skerrick of guilt and drink cocktails on a Monday.
Most importantly, to me, holidays mean switching off from screens. There's no need for Google maps or DuoLingo when you're on the Gold Coast. And while you could check Facebook, what do you care what everyone else is doing when you're laying on a sunlounger faced with a pool and another round of margaritas?
Travel, in its dictionary definition, presents more challenges - foreign lands, customs, deadlines and the overwhelming sense we have to do all. the. things. Travelling summons visions of schlepping through cities loaded up with luggage and invariably ending up with a collection of hotel keys in your pocket, forgotten during your 14th check-out. Discovering new destinations, tasting new foods and zipping through new neighbourhoods is at once rich and exciting but after just a few days can also be exhausting.
To travel is to make a journey. To move, typically in a constant or predictable way. And I've done plenty - last year I travelled Europe and Mexico for six months before visiting eight more countries and taking three more domestic trips. Just before Christmas, I travelled 36 hours each way to visit Stockholm for three-and-a-half days.
With my new-found holiday mindset, I realised I could be as happy reading a book in the back of my van in Yamba, or surfing in Sawtell, as I was sipping cocktails in the Maldives or swimming in a cenote in Valladolid. Yes, of course it was more familiar, perhaps not as exotic (and certainly not as Insta-worthy), but the feeling of contentment was the same.
I let go of time's ticking hand and found I could nap after all. I fell asleep each night with no solid plan for the following day, and surprisingly my inner control freak stayed quiet.
A holiday doesn't have to be challenging. It doesn't have to push you or teach you new skills but, who knows, it could help to rejuvenate and reinvent you just as much as that aerial yoga and business coaching retreat you've been eyeing off in Bali. Namaste.