A topic that usually generates lots of discussions here in my home is the kind of holidays L. and I want to spend. I am usually the one to vote for relaxing holidays while he prefers to walk a lot, drive for miles and miles, sleep in uncomfortable vans and explore. In the years we ended up having both relaxing and adventurous holidays, but I think that the best ones we had so far were those when we mixed the two options. But let me explain myself better.
I love to spend time in a peaceful place, either by the seaside or on the mountains – I don’t really care where I go, to be honest. I just want to have some time to walk around but also draw, write and read. These are my hobbies and as you can see they don’t require too much action. Of course, my brain works incessantly, but my legs could be somewhere else that I wouldn’t notice.
Nevertheless, I did join L. in a couple of troublesome trips with camper vans and I have to say I appreciated the amount of sightseeing we were able to achieve. However, I missed having a bathroom, not having enough time to deeply enjoy a place as we had to keep driving and not standing a chance to do what I love – namely draw, read or write.
I also have quite a good memory, which means that I still remember feeling uncomfortable on such occasions. According to research, what we remember about a holiday is the beginning, the end and the highest pick, being it positive or negative. I believe I remember a bit more than that, so for me it is even more important to generate good memories and not to come back home with the feeling I’ve thrown away my money.
Therefore, I am not particularly keen on spending on trips where we drive for long hours and sleep on chip mattresses because that’s too much and I now know I won’t enjoy myself. On the other hand, I know that spending a week in a place where nothing happens is a torture to L. plus can turn out to be quite boring for me as well.
That is why when we decided to go to Hawaii one year ago we chose to opt for a compromise. L.’s plan was to visit at least 2 islands, rent a car, snorkel in every possible beach and possibly stay in campings. My idea of a holiday in such a paradise was a two-week stay on one island, sunbathing at the same beach all day and sleeping in a proper hotel. We argued for a week and eventually ended up doing a bit of everything, which turned out to be a really good choice.
We landed in Hilo, in the Big Island, where we saw what it really means to live in Hawaii. That is not exactly what we see on tv. Houses were made in chip wood, people were rather poor and everybody was driving way too much to go anywhere. Cafes served not so tasty food, streets were dirty but I have to say people were quite relaxed and happy. Over there we took a bus tour to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park which was pretty amazing, walked for hours to reach Richardson Beach (bad idea, my fault, we eventually returned by taxi), had a chance to spend some time with the locals as we stayed in an Airbnb, bought some souvenirs at the street market and collected black sand for my sister M.
We then flew to Honolulu where we spent some days on the beach, snorkelled at Hanauma Bay and went shopping in Waikiki. We ate two incredible meals at Dukes, which is famous for a dessert called Hula Pie, found ourselves in the Spam Festival and enjoyed the night life we missed in Hilo.
We didn’t see everything there was to see, but at the end of the 10 days we were relaxed and happy. We both had the holiday we wanted in some way as we visited what we were really interested in (such as the active volcano on Big Island) and kept some time to relax on the beach, read a book or drink Mai Tai and slept in comfortable Airbnbs. By the way, I truly recommend to have a drink at Marriotts when there are local musicians playing live music.
That was the first of a long list of “mix and match” holidays. I learnt how to plan my trips better to include some visits to landmarks and L. decided that after all some relax doesn’t hurt. If it also happens that we have friends living in the city we are visiting, that is even better as we can use our time off to improve friendships, laugh and make good memories.
At the moment we are not planning any real holiday – we will only fly a couple of times to Italy to join a couple of family reunions. We have just moved to London and I still need some time to adapt to the new life. It still feels like a holiday to me, I need some time to digest the new information and get used to my new habits. However, when time will come to take into consideration going on holiday again, I think it would be wise to keep alternating days of pure peace and quite with something more adventurous. It is a very good way to visit a place without getting to tired and ending up needing a holiday to recover from the holiday. We want to relax without missing out or retrieving bad memories and that’s our strategy to do so.
What about you, what type of holiday do you prefer?