My last trip back home was quite traumatic and exhausting. I got really sick within a day of landing (I knew it wasn’t just the overnight flight in economy that had me so exhausted upon arrival), bought property, experienced all the ups and downs that comes with visiting family, and had nowhere near enough time to see my friends. A mere eight days later, I arrived back in Hong Kong depleted. I needed a holiday from that ‘holiday’.
Still, we had Easter in five or six weeks’ time to look forward to. We’d booked our first trip to London – in business class, no less. It was supposed to be a reward for enduring the worst teaching job I’d ever had, and was somewhere I’d never been before.
Except, once back in HK, I didn’t want to go to London. I didn’t want to be trudging through a big city. I didn’t want to DO anything. I was emotionally and physically drained, and the thought of being ‘on’ and moving around had me in tears.
I needed a proper holiday. Not to travel, but to do what I hadn’t done in a very long time, despite all the travel I do: take a beach holiday. My man eventually came round to the idea and thankfully the tickets were refundable and we hadn’t prepaid accommodation.
So, where to go? We hadn’t been to Thailand in about a year and a half, before which we’d spent many a weekend and extended stopovers on the way home from elsewhere. Maybe we’d grown immune to its charms, or maybe it was the hoards of disgustingly behaved mainlanders, surely the world’s worst group tourists, who inhabited our Bangkok hotel on our week’s stay back from Europe, who robbed us of precious sleep and made the jetlag harder to bear. At any rate, Thailand wasn’t on my radar until my little post-Australia meltdown.
I found it: paradise – no package tourists, no mainlanders, no sprawling resorts, and yet a relatively easy boat trip from the nearest town on the mainland with an airport. We had our own villa with a private pool, and also had the choice of using the bigger, central shared pool. The few other guests appeared to share our desire to relax and relax quietly, and we barely saw them.
Of course, there was the ocean just a stone’s throw from the villa, which was just divine to bathe in. Swimming time was punctuated by reading in a beachside hammock, watching the antics of sand crabs (utter mindfulness), massages (even the massages were at a more slow and deliberate pace, so different to those in Bangkok!) and eating. Oh, the food!
There were also long periods of sloth in the villa, watching anything from police procedurals to cooking shows featuring celebrity chefs to reality TV shows about misbehaving cats. It was fabulous! I really only reserve time for such mindless viewing on planes.
So in addition to much needed relaxation and feeling centred again, I learned something about the importance of taking a real holiday. I am extremely fortunate to have such generous leave, but it doesn’t mean that it needs to be spent DOING things all the time. It’s just as important to take a step back and do a bit of nothing.