I know a lot of people who are waiting months for their big holiday just to return exhausted and answering my eager question of how it was with a sigh and the exclamation, ‘I need another holiday.’ Well, that backfired. So why do people stress out so much over their holidays? Well, I don’t need to tell you why it is important and how awesome a break can be. But people, let’s just all take a chill pill and take all these super relaxed backpackers as an example in their carpe diem approach. Here’s how.
Country Hopping is a Silly Status Thing
So I get asked a lot how many countries I’ve seen. I always catch myself looking away shy, quickly counting the countries in my head and embarrassedly admitting 23. Where that impresses a lot of non-European people, among travel bloggers that is kinda a sad number. But you know what, I don’t care. And I am even a bit proud of it.
Because where a handful of bloggers is jetting from one country to the next within days and proudly counts up to 5 countries per week, I explore the country’s corners, meet the locals and eat myself through restaurants and street food. And I enjoy myself much more than if I were on one of my earlier intense sightseeing trips. I learned my lesson and always realise the faster I travel, the less I remember. I sometimes even find photos where I need quite the push to remember what had happened. And no, I wasn’t drunk.
Don’t Stress over the Details
Isn’t a holiday just life in a nutshell? The more you fret and try to plan everything to perfection, the more things go wrong and leave you flat out on the floor in a temper tantrum. But that’s the beauty of travel, you can escape your day to day life and try something new. Maybe try to be more yourself ad do things the way you would like. How about sleeping in? Sure, all the travel bloggers out there tell you to be the early bird and escape the queues. And they also tell you to book early.
But what if I tell you you can always find something? Even when I underestimated the momentum of the cherry blossom festivals in Tokyo and booked a month in advance, I still found places. And I improvised. I didn’t book anything in New Zealand and had a month to spend That was mighty scary but you know what, if I had, I wouldn’t have had a fraction of the experiences I then had. Talking to people and going where the wind blows you is refreshing. Yes, scary, too but you are on an adventure!
Anticipation, Participation, Frustration
In line with the fussing, holidays can be a stress factor in themselves. So many expectations, so many dreams attached to them! I get it. The longer you have to wait and postpone it, the more it becomes necessary and it is a necessary means to recharge your energy levels. But don’t expect miracles. Especially if you are working it like a nother job. Intense tour scheduling, event attending and cooking course participating. Some people go full force.
On the other hand, there are those people who like to get sunburned all day and get drunk at night. Also not very healthy. I wonder why so many people stick to these two kinds of travel. And I tell you why. Fomo is a big factor, the fear of missing out. The fear that your colleague was right that this challenging hiking tour was special and you should see it, too. The fear that it is much better up the Eiffel tower tha below. The fear that there might be something behind this entrance fee that you need to see. So carefully fold your bucketlist and put it aside and ask yourself honestly what you want. Every day. And do that. Just enjoy it!
Here’s what You Should Take Seriously
So now that you know how to let it go, now you need to learn to hold on to something new. Try to take a little bit of that leisurely approach, practice it and include it in your day to day life. Maybe one day you decide to take a walk in the park. Maybe you choose another way to work. Maybe you pick up the phone and call your family on a day that is different than the usual one. Be different, be daring and you could have a little holiday every day.
Because what you should take seriously is yourself and a holiday helps you declutter all the things that do you harm. So decide what they are and how you can get rid of them or at least reduce them to a point where the happiness still shines. And all that is easily said but hard to be done. Try listening to your gut every day, take more breaks (because they also make you more productive!), have more relaxed chit chats with your colleagues, change your desktop wallpaper and read motivating quotes. Because in the end you need to enjoy life on and off the holiday.
Chrissa - Physical Kitchness says
Great post! I have to make sure everything is planned and organized when I travel, which causes sometimes such undue stress! I love your perspective!
Travel on the Brain says
Hi Chrissa, I can so relate. I used to be that person but since I started my world trip last year, things have changed because it is simply not possible to plan everything in advance – especially when you travel. ALso, it takes away spontaneity and you miss things. I find that I remember less the faster I travel. Do you have that feeling as well?
Becky @ Disney in your Day says
I really like your first point. When I studied abroad at Oxford many of my other classmates were hopping around to a different country every weekend, sometimes staying for as little as 24 hours. I took the time instead to explore many of the cities and towns in England, and I’m so glad I did that. I’m sure I will get to Italy and France eventually, but I actually want time to take it all in, not just stop by for some quick pictures.
Travel on the Brain says
Hi Becky, I know what you mean. During my Erasmus exchange and when I worked in the international office and looked after Erasmus students, I was always bewildered by their drive to see as little of many different countries in the shortest amount of time. I stayed in England as well and even explored some towns that nobody knew, which were not that great but it helped me to understand the country better and connect more. And I like that you are not bothered by this seeming pressure to follow suit of what everybody else is doing. Kudos to you! Italy and France will still be there when you’re done with England and there are great connections to France, too, if you need a getaway for a while.
Cest La Vibe says
Travel should always be relaxed but with a bit of a plan so that you could get structured spontaniety.
Travel on the Brain says
You are definitely right. Travel should be a great experience, not a forced or stressful one. Unfortunately, I meet and know so many people who don’t see it that way. And I like your term ‘structured spontaniety’ – sums it up perfectly!!