Archives for posts with tag: Holiday

In the northwest corner of the Republic of Ireland, bordering Northern Ireland, sits the ludicrously beautiful county of Donegal. It has a long, particularly curly coastline and consequently some amazing beaches. A lot of them.

Some of these beaches are easily accessible from the main road, and easy to find, especially now the touristic powers that be have strengthened the signage and naming as part of the Wild Atlantic Way.

When I first travelled to Donegal, it was on a road trip with my brother. Somewhere in the county on a coastal road I drove past what looked like an interesting track down to what I thought might be the sea, though I couldn’t see it. We passed a couple of houses and then stopped the car before an unused sports field. The field was full of flowers and was so desolate that sheep were asleep on it and didn’t see us coming. Through the field was a saddle that bore onto the most deserted and prettiest beach I thought I’d ever been on.

I duly locked the place away in my head and saved it for a another time. That other time was a couple of years later when I was on a break with my good lady. I wanted to revisit the route the brothers had taken and propose on the beach.

Couldn’t find the damn thing. Had to revert to a plan B 3 hours’ drive away.

A couple of weeks ago, we were both back up there for a few days, the first time in 15 or 20 years. The roads had changed a bit, the place a little more commercialised. Still couldn’t find the damn thing. You see, there are a lot of coast roads and a lot of beaches, including the mystery Donegal beach.

I reckon I’ve narrowed it down though :-).

There’s more to come on this saga, I think, has to be…

I took a day off the other day. What I would describe as a proper day off. It wasn’t a holiday, and I wasn’t going on holiday. It wasn’t a weekend. I simply didn’t work that day.

I had a bunch of fiddly things to get done, and some errands to run. The kinds of things that I would normally try to wedge into the cracks of a normal working day. Stolen minutes at lunchtime or on a break, going a at breakneck speed to check a couple of pesky items off the list.

What a joyful day it was. I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy your spare time. Ambling around like I had all the time in the world to get my stuff done. No more cursing my bad luck at the traffic or at other people conspiring to to delay me in my rush to get from A to B.

I’ve always been a bit precious about taking the odd day off. This is probably a throw-back to my time as an employee when I had a finite amount of holidays to take and I didn’t want to waste any on needless frippery.

But there’s something to be said for simply taking a day off to slip into the slower part of the stream for a while, to enjoy the journey, rather than the destination.

I was on holiday quite recently. We took the family skiing. Not something we do every year; it’s too expensive and I’m a big fan of the heat.

We went to Italy. I don’t do the data roaming thing, because I’m not a big user of data when I travel; voice and text is enough for me. This means I rely on wireless networks, you know the deal.

The apartment we rented was tiny, but the use of space was so amazing IKEA should have been taking notes. It had no wireless, though. This meant if I wanted to get online it was the mountain restaurants and bars.

This was fine in principle, except the connections were so flaky that you couldn’t really do much, so I didn’t.

I was basically off the grid for a week, except for 5 minutes to check in for the return flights online and download the boarding passes with my fancy airline app. And, do you know what, while I was ‘away’, the sky didn’t fall in.

It was actually great. I didn’t miss it at all, and felt no compulsion to go onto social media and tell people how many corn flakes I’d eaten. No withdrawal symptoms, no first world problems, nothing. It was like the good old days when you went on your family holidays and came back wondering what news you’d missed and what song was number 1 in the charts while you were away.

Coming back was not too bad either. The inbox was manageable.

I recommend being off the grid it to all my friends, at least to try it for a few days. A sort of digital detoxing.

Holidays are great. There’s the chance to unwind, spend some quality time with family and generally not think too much about work.

These days, however, we often can’t rely on somebody to cover for us while we’re on holiday and do the work that we would do if we were not on holiday. So what we sometimes find ourselves doing is working ourselves to a frazzle in order to clear the desk for the holiday, and then returning, somewhat refreshed, to face a backlog and the mountain of work to be done simply to get back up to speed.

When you add the fact that it sometimes takes two or three days to unwind, and two or three days to gear ourselves up for the return to work, it sometimes feels like a week’s holiday is simply not worth the time or investment. Perhaps you’re one of these people who can instantly slip out of work mode and leave all your troubles behind you. If so, you are a lucky person indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for work hard and play hard. I need to work harder, however, to enjoy my holidays and make sure that the seams between the work hard and play hard periods are shorter so that they almost end up being seamless.