How to enjoy the 'new normal' staycation.
Reflections from a 'slow coach' who, like the rest of the world, is getting creative and using alternative methods to enjoy regular things, including that Great British classic, the summer holiday.
In 1986 at the ripe old age of 18 + ¾’s (the three quarters being highly significant at the time) I first stepped onto an aeroplane with my BFF to encounter my one and only girls holiday to Tenerifeeeeeee. Up until that point all my family holidays had been in the UK and diversified between caravans and camping in tents. Imagine my delight when I could save my own money and afford, what I thought back then, was a ‘proper’ holiday.
Absolutely everything was exciting about that first trip, from the night flight to the crappy apartment in a huge block of holiday flats to the intense heat of the Canaries and the discovery of partying all night and sleeping all day on a sun lounger. We got dizzy on the potent cocktails, we dined on the new tasting paella and marvelled at the different landscape. Madonna’s new hit ‘Holiday’ blared out of the bars and clubs, and Simple Minds, ‘Don’t you, forget about me’ soon marked the anthem of every holiday romance that year. This experience was an entirely new and delicious taste sensation. I was hooked and it wasn’t long before I started a career in the travel industry which spanned over two decades.
Slow forward the Summer of 2020 at the real old age of 53, life has completely changed pace, taste, and direction. In the year of Coronavirus and uncertainty over traveling abroad, cancellations and quarantine, I returned to the Great British holiday of yester year, minus the camping (sorry, it is just not my thing, much to my partners disappointment).
Returning to a childhood favourite, we set off for ‘Welsh Wales’ as I named it back then, to experience a twin centre break in Tenby and Llandudno. What I wasn’t expecting was the same excitement I’d had on my first trip abroad, I dismissed this feeling and put it down to the thrill of seeing a different set of four walls after a long and challenging lockdown period of sameness. Despite the weather and Storm Francis, my partner and I absolutely loved the ‘twin centre’ week of walking in the Domain of Dragons. The many beautiful coastal paths of Pembrokeshire to the long beach walks from The Great Orm to Conwy Castle and back.
The slower pace, walking everywhere and taking time to soak in our surroundings enhanced the experience by tenfold. Helped by the fresh sea air and imposing mountains, the moodiness of the weather and unpredictability of each day seemed to inject energy into every pore and a fresh type of excitement similar to that of when I was 18 + ¾ ‘s but oh so different. There was no denying it, I was hooked once again. Since returning from our glorious break I have encountered the holiday blues and missing Wales and their majestic mountains, windy walking days and the calm of the sea. By having not much to do (apart from walk about 25km each day – which is a different story) a natural creation of brain space happened and was replaced by a playful, not a care in the world, Clare.
Since my return, instead of arranging zoom meetings, I’ve opted to meet fellow fans of the outdoors and taken our meetings to a more walkie-talkie style of doing ‘business’. Turns out it’s really powerful and energising – unlike zoom.
The Summer of 2020 has indeed taught us many things
- Slowing down has helped change the ‘busyness’ pandemic
- To enjoy each moment and plan for none
- A staycation rocks.
- Walking and talking beats a car journey, beats traffic jams and beats that age old of cry of ‘are we nearly there yet?’. Walking is not about the destination but all about the step by step journey
- Expect rain, expect wind, expect storms, expect sun, expect clouds and that way you’ll never be disappointed
- Face masks make great mini wind shields….
If you breathe in your surroundings, kiss the elements, absorb the smell of the sea, immerse yourself in adventure, listen to the sound of the waves and not Madonna’s ‘Holiday’ and slow down like a tortoise we can truly recharge our life batteries. In fact, we can do this any day, if we make time to do so. #slowdown #bemoretortoise #lifeisslow