As I was lying on a beach in Thassos, I noticed a lovely couple – aged about 55-60 years old – preparing to go out at sea in an inflatable boat with motor. They were vacationing with their caravan, camped nearby on the edge of the beach. At the same time, same beach, another couple – approximately similar of age, loaded with everything but the kitchen sink -, were wandering here and there, far from relaxed, she following him who was holding a beer can.
The striking difference between the attitudes and conduct of the two couples mirrored their life principles – themselves as opposed, most certainly. As I was watching them, it dawned on me that, indeed, we alone choose how to live our lives and a mere instant on a beach can be the perfect illustration of our choices.
Many would be tempted to state that going on a holiday is something special that breaks the routine of the rest of the year, a treat, a luxury. Well, things are not exactly that. The annual holiday is actually a compression of the 365 days in a week. An analysis of this issue might reveal that, in reality, how we spend our holidays is how we live our lives.
Let’s start with the first step: holiday planning. If you reflect upon how you plan it, that is how long before, who decides the destination and time period, who accompanies yous – if that’s the case -, you may realise that it is the same type of planning you do when it comes to the rest of the time. For instance, if you plan and book your holiday 6-7 months in advance, it might be delusional to think that it is because of the travel agency’s offers, discounts, etc. In actuality, it is about your own need to plan everything on time, not to delay thing to the last minute. Speaking of, “last minute” offers can carry many advantages as well and, yet we do not take them. Or we rather rarely do.
Your asking friends, relatives, parents, doggies, etc. to join you in your holidays may actually be a reflection of your urge to avoid spending time alone or with your spouse and / or child only. The “for the child’s sake” reason is not valid, really. Especially if the child is 2-3 years old and could not have demanded that. On the other hand, if you are into a more “adventure” holiday and your spouse, parents or parents-in-law succeed in convincing you that it is too dangerous or crazily risky, it could be that they have a big say in other aspects of your own existence as well.
Where do you go on a holiday? No, it is not about the money: the same amount could cover a shopping spree at the mall, or a three-week tent or caravan camping trip, a week at a 3-star hotel at the seaside, in the mountains or in a cultural city or a couple of days at a 5-star one. The question is: what do you choose? Your choice shows what you find precious in life, what your interests and values are: material goods, freedom, nature, culture or luxury.
How you reach your destination? If the destination repeats, do you follow the same itinerary again and again? Do you go by car, by plane, by coach? Has it ever occurred to you to change the itinerary or the means of transportation? How would you feel to take the same route, but instead of a 3-hour flight, you go for a 3-4 days of driving. Which would the advantages be? And the disadvantages? The answers to these questions could reveal how conformist you are, how hasty, or whether you like or dislike changes and challenges. By assessing the situation, you will discover that you act the same in the remaining 51 weeks of the year.
It is much easier to become aware of what you do during a week than during a year or a lifetime – what your beliefs are, how you behave, what you feel, how you decide, what your habits and things you cannot give up are. If you want to change something in your life, you can start with your holiday. That way you can introspect how you react to changes, how you act in novel, unusual instances, how you adapt, what you can learn from all these new challenges, where your vulnerabilities lie.
In the end, I wish you a … less typical holiday!
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Text: LOREDANA JEFLEA
Translation: ADINA SHOLLENBARGER
Photos: ADINA HALAGIAN