Why I Don’t Go On Holiday

This is going to be a very personal post, but I’m hoping it may resonate with some of you. These days, when I get asked whether I’m going anywhere on holiday, I kind of groan internally and roll my eyes. And when I clarify, that, no, I’m not planning on going anywhere, the question arises of why not? Then I start squirming with my internal reasons which to externalise would sound of a negative mindset, a world weary attitude and a case of being distinctly disillusioned. You know the sort of thing, like, what sort of a world are we living in anyway, with  the planet being trashed, religious war-mongering and the natural disasters, and social deprivations…the list could go on.

I haven’t always been this way. I’ve had some much appreciated holidays where I’ve immersed myself in culture and nature respectively, eagerly soaking it all up with shining eyes and sharp intakes of breath. The best were a tour of Italy, a stay in Venice, a few days in Paris, and a road tour of some of the national parks in the American states of California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, followed by two holidays in Dalyan, Turkey, where this location in particular, I found so compelling it became the setting for my novel. And there was the tiny Greek island of Meganissi and a bit further back in time holidays here in Scotland visiting the wilder climes of the Highlands and Islands. Nothing disappointed in these holidays, I was able to indulge my romantic side, everything was magical- the art, the museums, the architecture, the sights, the landscapes, and the flora and fauna –  and the money was well spent with no regrets.

And it is very true to say, as the inimitable Shakespeare did, in Henry IV Part I:

If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work,
But when they seldom come, they wished for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.

We need change, we need interesting diversions, or ‘accidents’ away from our daily routine, we need a balance between work and leisure. And it surely must be true that travel broadens the mind (though they say it depends on the mind in question).

Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

I’m in full agreement with this, and I certainly benefited from this attitude when I was younger, but to turn this around a little and now being of middle age, I’m currently more in sympathy with these sentiments from writer, Jilly Cooper:

‘’I’m not wild about holidays. They always seem a ludicrously expensive way of proving there’s no place like home.’’

 And from Margaret Fuller, American journalist, critic, women’s rights advocate, and author of Woman in The nineteenth century, 1845, with respect to what you can achieve in a home of your own making:

 ‘A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.’

And as creative people, who don’t necessarily have 9 to 5 jobs that are a means to an end, with a need to regularly escape from in the form of a booked-ahead holiday to wish away our time for, we can feed our creativity at home by doing our art. We may have more to sustain us at home than most, because home is our working environment where we get to express ourselves by doing our creative work, whatever form that may take. So you could argue that we are lucky enough and in some ways privileged by being able to do this and not have the same need for time away from our home environment .

Everything changed for me regarding my attitude towards holidays when I hit a mid-life phase of questioning, with an urgent need to make changes in my life. I decided a holiday might help, so my hubby and me impulsively chose Cyprus at the suggestion of our local travel agent, with no awareness of what the place was really like. As long as I can snorkel, I said to the agent, and as long as we can get into the north of the island by car, where there are some tantalising-looking beaches to explore, then it should be fine. Well the answer was yes to both these provisos, and off we went for 10 days, leaving our cat, Ziggy, in the care of the neighbour next door, much to his disgust I may add.

But everything went downhill, as they say, because Cyprus became a helliday, not a holiday. The romantic idealism in me, inspired by websites describing goat tracks to meander down to isolated beaches, and rustic ruins to explore on the island, was well and truly squashed, flattened, and stamped on. And my hubby, who takes some persuading to go on holiday in the first place also faltered along with me. You could say we crashed together. In a nutshell, it was a resort holiday, and we hated everything about it. The overwhelming feeling I had, as we drove back from the mountains from lack lustre villages with nowhere to have a coffee, in our too-expensive-a-hire-fee  car, was that of sheer stupidity at not having realised we had chosen the very type of holiday that would always have been anathema to us. The beach front was a Legoland of hotels, with the hoards of collapsed parasol ‘shrouds’ looking like grim reapers marking and haunting their territory. We found some little coves after a lot of bussing and walking, but they were crowded and busy, and when I ventured onto the main resort beach, being determined to salvage something from the holiday, I snorkelled amongst floating plastic bags and the odd condom. There was no access to the north of the island because the Turks were still patrolling the border, after the Greeks had been turned out, leaving the ghost resort town of Farmagusta cordoned off behind barbed wire, with tattered beach towels still hanging over rusting hotel  balconies. And when we tried to find some rustic ruins, as described in a brochure or two, there was no signage to follow, and at one point we found ourselves in a local shooting range in a quarry, and further on, snarling dogs, so back we came to the confines of the resort.

It was when I watched some TV, and caught sight of some international world news channels, the disillusionment was complete. There was no going back now from this. Seeing news of underprivileged people starving in Eastern areas of strife and fear one minute, then adverts for Western ipads the next, struck me to the core. Then the days crawled by, as my hubby and I counted them off, desperate to leave, until before long we were waiting to spot our luggage on the airport carousel – round and round and round it goes, when you spot your luggage nobody knows – the final tedious nail in the coffin of our helliday. Well, okay, we’re not exactly patient types in this respect ;>)).

So nowadays I try to make the most of my home life, where I get to do my writing and painting, and get out and about to counterbalance this with some volunteering in social care – also providing good experience if I ever decide I’ll have to go get myself a ‘proper job’. Me and my hubby live in a rural place, with access to my own kind of wilderness right outside the door where I make the most of it, considering myself very fortunate indeed. When we need breaks or a change of scene, we use what we might otherwise have saved up for a holiday, to go for lunch or go to the coast for the day. This is our leisure time. I wouldn’t say never to any more holidays, but I would reclassify them as ‘travel opportunities’, to dump the baggage of my expectations before I get there, so I can stand a chance of being pleasantly surprised.  And I’ll have to find some lady friend companion/s to go with because my husband can’t take any more!

Here’s hoping you’ve had some great experiences with your travelling, and not too much of a mixed bag. And if you are going somewhere soon, I do sincerely wish you Bon Voyage.

Comments always welcome.

(Gif from Giphy.com)

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About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Blogsite lynnefisher.wordpress.com Twitter @writeartblog Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/
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19 Responses to Why I Don’t Go On Holiday

  1. A.P. says:

    Boy, if that was “personal,” I’d hate to see what some of *my* recent posts have been like! Seriously, however, I’m entirely in accord with Mark Twain on the aspect of travel. When I travel, I invariably recognize some form of prejudicial thinking that was holding me back. I meet people who are out of my normal loop, and insights emerge in our conversations that are useful. Then I feel more energized when I return home.

    However, this is in reference to travel only. The concept of “holiday” — going on a big splurge, pleasure-seeking on a vacation, something to tell the boys about when I get back to the 9-5 drudge and all that — no no no no I don’t do that no more. I’m the type of person who has no qualms about reminding somebody gloating about an expensive vacation that there are people starving all over the world, and that next time they might consider how the cost of flying to Bali might have been used to help the poor.

    I don’t know how much age has to do with it, with me. There might be an INFJ thing going on here as well . . .

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi Andy, I thought you might have something to say here, thanks for commenting. I am pretty careful about being personal, but I do feel increasingly compelled to be so, if that’s any reassurance. In full agreement with you regarding travel versus holiday. Very well said! That’s why I can’t rule the travel out forever. I love being around more ‘open’ cultures, more expressive and so on. I loved being told to have a nice day when I was in the States, and I’ve adopted that to say to people myself. We are a bit uptight over here, which I’m sure you’ve heard, and this does frustrate me at times. Cheers to you today!

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.P. says:

        Seems to me I’ve heard that the Britons don’t “cut loose” too easily, but we also have the impression here in the States that the English way is to be very courteous and witty as well. I’ve noticed over the years in America an increasing lack in both courtesy and humor, though again my experience may be biased by my having lived largely in crowded urban areas, where I and others logically were not generally in very good spirits.

        Interesting your foreknowledge, because I also knew as soon as I read the first sentence that I was probably going to be compelled to comment on this one. I find myself becoming increasingly more personal as well. I try to guard against it to the extent that my blog is “supposed” to be about the creative-artistic process, in particular as regards my own work. But for some reason these days my work is *equating* itself with my personal life, as though there is to be no further separation between the two. This is both scary and strangely encouraging.

        Before I sign off, I’ve been meaning to say THANK YOU for tuning me into Lauren Sapala. Reading the INFJ Writer has been like hearing somebody speak to me personally, directly to my heart. She is an incredible human being, as well as deeply gifted.

        Cheers to you as well, my friend. 🙂

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      • lynnefisher says:

        Thanks, Andy! It is pretty impossible to separate the self from the creative process – they surely must be interwined for us all by nature. I suppose the personal expands into family and relationships, so I steer clear of those in the main, as do you.There are times I want to rant about disappointments etc, believe me, and I do have a creative friend or two to share the more negative side of being a creative person with – Thank God. As for Britons, yes we are polite and can be witty, as for cutting loose, it’s more difficult because there is a natural reserve, most evident in queuing! I’m going to a Volunteer day tomorrow, lots of new people to engage with, so I’ll be doing some people watching, but I usually find caring types are more open than most, and that is what I prefer…certainly an INFJ thing. So pleased you’ve tuned into Lauren, she stands out for me too. You might like Jacob Nordby’s Blessed are the Weird as well (ebook very affordable)…Lauren and Jacob are friends and work together. Cheerio for now, Andy, and of course…have a good day!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to enjoy travel, but I no longer desire to fly since the advent of extra security measures that limit what I can take to eat or drink on a plane or the thought of getting picked for a body search. Planes are also more crowded now, and I don’t like crowded places. I am perfectly happy limiting myself to road trips, but I’m not wild about those anymore either.

    Maybe it’s because I’m almost eighty and loving to be home more and more. I’m close to the beaches here, a local art hub, and mountains if I want to drive a bit farther. I’m surrounded by vineyards. I’m content. I now travel vicariously as I pick up one of the books from my reading stack. I’m never bored and can happily occupy myself with creative pursuits and broaden my mind here at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Oh that is so well expressed, Barbara. I agree about planes, I can always find being above the clouds truly amazing, but the being confined in such a small space taints that now for me and I can’t wait to get off. Also the germs one can pick up on the plane go on holiday go right along with you. It sounds like you live in a great place for creative endeavours and you paint a lovely picture of living life happily at home. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A.P. says:

    Lynne, I found out last night that Jacob lives relatively nearby, about a five hour drive from where I live in Idaho. Lauren mentioned him last night and I went to his web site. I agree that I would probably like that book! I guess she coaches with him sometimes, so it will be interesting to see the relationship between the two. I’ve still only read 4 chapters of the INFJ Writer, but that’s only because I’m a space case. I keep cogitating on the insights, and forget to turn the page. 🙂

    People seem to appreciate an occasional personal statement in a professional context just so long as it doesn’t happen constantly (which would be unprofessional.) I wrote a rant recently and deleted it half a day later. But I also wrote a post when I was extremely depressed, and left it there. I actually went back to delete it, but so many people “liked” it that I didn’t have the heart. I think people like what they can identify with, in general — and maybe as a Writer this is something to bear in mind.

    Also interesting that Lauren lives in San Francisco about three or four miles from where I used to live. She even founded Write City there, which I attended for a year or two sporadically, without running into her. Small world? Maybe next time I’m in travel mode I’ll head South and make a few stops — could be enlightening. 🙂

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi Andy, that’s quite fortuitous for you, sitting here feeling a bit envious! Yes, I think if personal ‘material’ is used professionally in a book of this kind which we’re talking about, then it helps the reader see that the writer is writing from their own experience, which is very important to me personally, and it also carries more weight. It seems to me that more and more writers are doing this when they have something to say to like-minded people or to help others. So this kind of ‘life writing’ does interest me big time, very different to fiction, but in the past I’ve found life writing very natural to me (as it seems to be for you too), so I will do some for sure, and it will have to be midlife transitions! Cheers for now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.P. says:

        “Life-writing” is an interesting and seemingly more topical theme these days – we could probably elaborate. But don’t be envious of *me,* my friend. I’m merely a starving Artist probably much like yourself. Great will be our reward in Heaven, so we might as well just tough it out.

        Like

      • lynnefisher says:

        Yes, we certainly could elaborate on life writing! I’m hearing you about toughing it out, made me laugh!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Galen Pearl says:

    You are preaching to the choir! I had the good fortune to live in several different countries and to travel to many others. But these days I’m very much a homebody, which for me is Portland, Oregon, USA.

    I haven’t flown in years, and a road trip for me is 2-4 days to somewhere not too far. There is just nowhere I want to be more than home, which includes every other weekend at my mountain cabin, only an hour’s drive away from home.

    However, as you said, travel does broaden our life perspective and help us understand and appreciate people and cultures unfamiliar to us. I am so grateful for the experiences I had, good and bad, and the friends I made (and still have). Learning different languages, learning about other customs, trying new foods–my life was enriched beyond measure.

    I tried to share some of that with my kids when they were growing up, but when they reached adulthood, I “retired” from escorting them around the world and turned them loose with their passports!

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi Galen, so glad you got through. Many of your points seem to confirm that feelings about holidays can very much change with age and different perspectives developing, which seems perfectly natural to me. That mountain cabin sounds a wonderful retreat. The only aspect of travel that could tempt me these days is nature based and being drawn to wilderness landscapes – so your cabin fits! Many thanks for taking the time to post.

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  5. I’m too much of a homebody to think of traveling, and when I do finally leave the house I find that I spend a lot of time wondering if the part of “paradise” I’ve found it a real representation of the area.
    If I do travel, I always try to stay away from resorts because I feel so chained down to sticking to a schedule.
    If anything, I wish I could have a friend in every place I want to visit. That way they can show me the “real” locale.

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Sara. I’m in full agreement here. Even when I have been in what is considered a desirable place, I’m kind of scanning the periphery, searching for the real ‘story’. The idea of a friend in every place you want to visit is lovely, probably the very best way. I guess some of the real could be found by doing research beforehand but sifting out the hperbole and ‘idealistic’ language and descriptions, which have fooled me in the past. And as for resorts, never again!

      Like

  6. Good Afternoon, I really enjoyed the line “We all need an interesting diversion from life.” This couldn’t be truer. I look forward to reading more from you.
    Thank you so much for starting to follow me.

    Like

  7. Excellent observations upon the realities Lynne. Like you I do not like ‘resorts’. When I go away it is usually to a small home built on ancestral land. So it is really home from home where all the points you make still apply.

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      That sounds lovely. I think the message is to be very circumspect, work out what suits you best, and go with that – and any experience good or bad helps with that process. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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