The importance of rest

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What’s the first thing you think about when organising a holiday?

Accommodation?

Flights?

Attractions?

The price of beer?

The last thing a person takes into consideration when travelling or holidaying is the importance of rest. In your planning, if you’re like me, I guarantee that you will study the guidebooks and determine a rough outline for each day. You’ll have handpicked your destination and will want to make the most of the time you have. After all, how many holidays and trips do you get to go on? Unless you are a hotel heiress, working three jobs or had a wealthy family member leave you an inheritance, the answer is not many.

This leads many people to make the mistake of trying to do too much. It seems like a strange concept but it can affect the outcome of your time away. The urge to have a go at everything in a hurry can be a strong draw, a lot like a child at an amusement park- everything is new and exciting but come five o’clock the good times seem like a distant memory.

I can relate to this. Thoughts will filter through your head like, “I may never be back here again”. As well as being a great pick up line, this theory has some weight behind it. The last thing you want to do is regret not doing or seeing enough. Sometimes life prevents trips any longer than a few weeks, and to see a place properly can take much longer than that. You ask yourself the question- is it better to see everything quickly or a few things well? You end up running around, moving from one place to the next, barely stopping to scratch yourself.

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Not enough rest makes you sleep on a boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

 

This is the result of being unrealistic of what you think you can see and do. It can be like lining up at the dinner buffet and loading a little piece of everything on; pretty soon it all tastes the same and you still have no idea what you’ve just had to eat. It doesn’t leave much room to appreciate what’s around you.

Even joining a tour can stretch your energy levels. The constant requirements to keep moving and be at certain places at certain times often leaves little time to relax. Most tours do have down time but the pressure to explore on your own can be too hard to pass up. Experience tells me that cramming so much in leaves you borderline useless when you finally return home to real life and work. The very trip you thought would regenerate you can drain you more than if you had stayed home on the couch.

So why is the most underrated thing that someone can do while on a trip is to have a rest? Feeling compelled to do something, anything, is so high that people forget that without a moment to recharge your batteries, they find themselves exhausted before they are halfway through their trip.

The whole concept of rest days, then, can sound like a waste of time. In past blogs I have written about making the most of your opportunities while travelling. Whether that’s for a day or a year makes no difference. But what I neglected to mention was that scheduling days off is imperative. Lazy days can be rewarding both physically and mentally.

If the idea of ‘wasting’ a day still doesn’t sit well with you, at the very least, try to spend more time at certain places taking everything in. I’m talking about low energy activities, not hikes up mountains or sky diving.

Sitting in a hammock, reading a book and sipping on a cold one cannot be considered wasting time. I chose to do this one trip instead of participating in a Thai cooking class. In fairness, I’d rather watch a gecko climb the wall than cook and I was feeling a touch under the weather, but the break was bliss. The only annoyance was the Thai lady who ran the hostel calling to me from down stairs every twenty minutes or so, “Hellooooooooooo. Mister, you want shisha?”

“No thanks.”

“You sure? Good shisha. Very cheap.”

“Maybe later.”

“Ok. I ask later,” then whispers to another traveller, “He no want shisha. Sumpin wrong wid dat man.”

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Pai, Thailand.

 

The saying “I need a holiday to recover from my holiday” gets thrown around fairly liberally. Some people have the knack of feeling more tired than when they left. Running around foreign cities, dealing with foreign currencies and public transport is not as straight forward as it sounds like it should be. It is possible to pull off the hectic, full on approach to travel, but if you don’t like being tired, dirty and drinking cheap energy drinks for breakfast, I suggest being realistic and inserting a rest day into your next travel itinerary.

Wayward Tip: There’s no shame in being lazy for a day. Your body will thank you for it, not to mention your boss when you return home.

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