Ideas to travel slow.
“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
- Gilbert K. Chesterton
When we go on holidays most of us tend to cram as many places, sights and activities as possible, so that when we get back we have a sense of having made the most of those days. Our Instagram and Facebook accounts are full of very likeable pics, portraying a perfect holiday that is the envy of all our co-workers, and our tick list has proudly been ticked throughout. Unfortunately, the effect that this can have is an increased level of anxiety before and during the trip, missed opportunities to relax and enjoy, the inability to be present and a sense of tiredness by the time the holiday is reaching it’s end, that continues when we’re back. It is not uncommon to hear those returning saying they need a holiday from the holiday, particularly if they have children! :) If not being able to properly and fully relax during the holidays sounds like you, here are a few tips that may help you get back that much earned resting time.
CONTEMPLATE THE POSSIBILITY OF CUTTING DOWN YOUR PLANS IN HALF
This is a basic one and probably the hardest because you will be fighting the ever-present fear of missing out . It’s normal to want to maximise the time and see as much as possible, especially when travelling to a faraway place where you might never return. In this case it might be useful to pick the 2 or 3 things you really, really want to experience and focus on organising your time around that, and just spend more time in those places. After all, there will always be things that you miss out, and that’s OK. Choose quality over quantity.
CONSIDER DOING THINGS OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 RECOMMENDED BY TripAdvisor.
Consider making your holidays a full experience, remaining open to whatever comes your way.
These sites tell you what you should NOT miss no matter what, and while that can often be a good reference, remember everybody uses them and you may end up in a crowded hell instead. In any case, experience from our many travels keeps reminding that the memories we hold most dearly are usually the ones we didn’t plan for, like a time when we asked for directions on a country road in the Andaman Islands, and an Indian family -who spoke no English- opened their house to us and fed us an exorbitant amount of papaya while we all smiled at each other talking in an improvised sign language. These are the things that can bring a real sense of experiencing the culture of a country, so on your next trip try doing some extra research, allowing time to get lost down the road less travelled, to savour the small things, to be surprised wandering around, discovering local coffee shops and markets, and talking to the locals away from the tourist crowds.
BE MINDFUL OF THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
Most people feel this is a crazy idea, but just for a moment consider this: what would happen if you left your phone and even your camera at the hotel on a trip to some gorgeous cliffs or a majestic waterfall? And then imagine making a commitment to be fully present while you are there, we shit you not, those moments will feel really unique, unrepeatable, unsharable (but with the people you are travelling with) and truly truly yours. Avoid The Curse of the Mindless Tourist!
SOCIAL MEDIA - NOT WORTH DYING FOR
Please don’t die, you are travelling for yourself and for no one else, you have nothing to prove to anyone! And yet thanks to the inadequacies many feel without constant peer-approval, people (teenagers, topping the list) would go to extremes, sometimes with fatal consequences to get that love-earning Instagram pic. Is it really worth it? But even if you don’t plan to die for it (kudos to you!) thinking and posting are time and brain consuming activities, so simply be more selective of what you choose to share, if anything at all.
Whether you like it or not, everything you do is a unique, unrepeatable part of your life that is not coming back, ever. So, with that cheerful thought, consider making your holidays a full experience, remaining open to whatever comes your way, from the moments of excitement and amazement, to the long waiting times, the absurd relationship between menus and dishes, the mind-boggling elasticity of health and safety standards, the chicken-filled local buses where personal space is an exotic Western concept... Embrace it all! Yeah, the chickens too.
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