Holidays are like retreats for me and only up until recently, did I start having a holiday, which was not work related at all. Yes – an actual flight and destination that had nothing to do with teaching, presenting or meetings. Travel has always been and is still is, an opportunity to share what I have learnt in my teaching career, to hopefully make our industry better, so not having to pack ‘workshop stuff’ is quite unusual. I understand how people can stay under 23kgs because you don’t have to take the projector, manuals, DVDs, books, enrolment details, extension and power board cords, projector screen, Gymsticks, aqua frame etc. You just have to pack clothes and toiletries. Easy.
In September I went on a cruise from Amsterdam to Rome – 12 nights on a magnificent huge cruise ship in the open sea. It was the BEST HOLIDAY I have ever had. So now I have a bench mark.
What constitutes an amazing holiday?
1. I have to say it, but I love travelling by myself. I haven’t really travelled with friends before, but there is something very freeing about deciding that you will walk down a particular street, or pop into an interesting shop, or eat anything that you feel like without the conversation that would politely ask if the other person would like to do it too. Haaa – it is wonderful. Having been in a long term relationship (over half my life), it feels fantastic not to constantly compromise on what you want to do to ensure that the other person is happy. Selfish – well you can only be selfish when you are with another person and I wasn’t – just doing my own thing.
2. Don’t plan everything. Great adventures are the best when they were not exactly planned before the holiday. In fact, the element of surprise makes them more exciting and I often found myself thinking ‘I would have never considered, dreamed, or thought of doing this’. It is especially cool when you end up doing something you have never done before. On this trip, I climbed stuff, rode a Segway through cities, kayaked and went on tours that I would have not considered prior to the trip. This point leads me to the next tip.
3. Always do something you have never tried before. The fact is, if it is part of cruise excursion, or an organised tour, it is unlikely that anything terrible will happen. It wouldn’t look good if a tourist was injured and so I have faith that everything on offer is safe, fun and designed to give me a great experience. Maybe this is also the attitude to have, as I believe in the law of attraction, so of course, I will have fun. It is also an important note to self, walk away from conversations that include the ‘latest disaster’ or ‘be careful, I have heard…’. These people live their lives in constant fear of life and are not the sort people I want to spend any of my precious holiday minutes with.
4. When you travel on your own, it provides more opportunity to meet new people. You don’t have the buffer of a friend, family or partner, which can make it more challenging to meet anyone new. I met some people who are now my cool new friends that I keep in touch with. In the past, the buffer meant that I didn’t have to make a random conversation with someone when I was waiting in line because I had someone to talk to. Yes, travelling on your own might make some people feel vulnerable, but I have to say, it was often the point of the conversation. Most people couldn’t believe that I was on my own. They were ‘shocked’ that I was ‘brave enough’ to travel by myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have already started planning my next holiday… well, just the important parts, like airfares and accommodation. Everything else will be left to the universe and life to decide. Let go and see what happens, it’s the only way to be truly surprised and delighted.