Mindfulness, Minimalism

The holiday I’m not looking forward to

This post sounds all wrong doesn’t it? How could anyone not be looking forward to a holiday? What about all the people who can’t afford a holiday right now and would kill for one? How ungrateful can you be?

Well yes. It is completely ungrateful and very unmindful, but let me tell you all about it.

After we moved to our new home this year, we impulsively booked a week away. We hadn’t been on a big holiday for over two years as we’d been saving and scrimping, covering payments to two homes and then getting mortgage ready. Finally when we moved we started to become more settled, and wanted to celebrate. For us the ultimate in feeling that we’d moved on from a financially difficult time was being able to afford a holiday.  So on the internet we went.  We picked somewhere completely random,  Madeira, sounds nice enough but not somewhere we’d ever yearned to go, or thought much about. however it’s by the sea, pretty, warm, relaxing. So all booked. Mostly paid for.

Now the holiday is almost upon us and we’re both having cold feet. Why? Well it turns out, even though we both completely agreed and were desperate to go initially, and were excited about going on holiday, independently we’ve both realised this is not the kind of holiday we’re really into. We like shorter mini breaks; city breaks where we get to take in a beautiful place we’ve always longed to go to or holidays in the UK that involve our dogs, which for us are the equivalent of our children. We’ll be leaving them for a week instead and we feel kind of sad about that.

For me, I have never enjoyed summer sun holidays and though I can while my way through a book for a whole morning, and possibly an afternoon, I’d rather do that cosied up to an open fire than on a sun lounger. I’m no longer the drinker I once was and so the chance to be hungover for a week without having to go to work doesn’t do it for me either. We’ve tried to fire ourselves into excitement mode tonight by looking at pictures of Funchal, where we’re staying. It’s an incredibly beautiful place, architecturally there’s lots of old mixed with new, there’s a botanic gardens (for some reason I always love a botanic gardens on my hols) and it’s by the sea. What’s not to like? Yet we’re still asking ourselves why did we book this?

Funchal in Madeira, it actually looks pretty beautiful

You see we didn’t book with authenticity, or very much mindfulness. We booked in auto-mode. What do people do when they book a longed for holiday to relax we thought? They go for a week in the sun of course (I’m sure many of you will tell me I’m wrong now). We didn’t take the time to consider actually we probably would prefer to do something completely different and that’s OK. It’s OK to be different. We’ve not had a summer holiday for two years we said. This is just what we need. So when I think back the last time I had a weeks summer holiday in a sunny place by a pool was nearly 20 years ago. There’s a reason for that. It’s just not my kind of thing. So why? Why? Why did I not remember this? I’ve had some amazing holidays over the years; city breaks to Amsterdam, Paris, New York, a tour of Italy, lovely cosy holiday cottages. I’ve enjoyed so many of them. They were not summer sun holidays.

I’ve learnt something from this costly, and hopefully retrievable mistake. Take some time to really think about what you want before you go ahead and do something. Don’t follow others paths to happiness as if they are your own.  I committed myself to something I thought I wanted, that I thought would make me happy, and that is actually causing me some anxiety now.

I know that for many people, this post will seem strange. How can anyone not want a relaxing week away? This woman is clearly mad. Perhaps, but what it tells me is I wasn’t listening to myself and this is a real trait of over buying, over eating and over indulging generally. Being on auto pilot. It’s a real wake up call for me to be more mindful in making big decisions and to really feel how I am feeling about something before I commit to it.

Anyway I am going to put a beginners mind to Funchal. If I let myself get more and more anxious and unhappy about going, it’s going to be a waste of my life. I am going to explore the city with a curious mind, and eat , drink and be merry. I just won’t be booking a return visit. I will do a few blogs while I am over there, so I have to make an effort for you guys if nothing else!


3 thoughts on “The holiday I’m not looking forward to”

  1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Earlier this year we were having a very stressful time and decided on a whim to book an epic 10-day trip to the northeastern US for the fall. Why? Because other people love the colors of the northeast in fall. Other people ooh and aah over NYC and the historical sites of PA and MA. Sadly, we’re not those other people. We’re beach people. We love the sand, kayaking, looking for shells, and relaxing with a book by the sea. We have a month until our trip and plan to make the best of it but we’re right there with you in saying “never again”.


    1. How funny that we’re both experiencing the same thing in opposite directions! It’s funny isn’t it how other people’s ideas seem to impact on us and we’re willing to spend loads of time and cash fulfilling it and then we’ve realised actually that’s not OK for us anymore. Coincidentally and slightly weirdly the trip you’re taking is one we’re planning next year for my 40th from the UK!

      Liked by 1 person

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