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Holiday dilemma. Saturday July 8, 2017

I opened my U3A (University of The Third Age) Newsletter, perused it, and found out that the group I used to go to was restarting. The tutor, it said, had had some health issues, but with the help of members of the group, it could run again.

I was cheered by this as it is fun, thought-provoking and educative. Three of the elements I hold dear. I seem to need this stimulation for optimum mental health, as well as the easy sociability that comes with being part of a group that has the same interest.

We recently returned from a three week holiday, and I wasn't thrilled either to be away, or with the destination. Which was odd, as many people would have jumped at the opportunity: "How fortunate you are. Three whole weeks!"

But, for me, it lacked interest. Yes, the weather was nice. Yes, it was relaxing. Yes, the people we knew from previous stays there were friendly and eager to meet. But I just couldn't work up enthusiasm and became stultified. I didn't know how to fill the yawning gap of the afternoon after breakfast, shopping at the market and lunch were over. I took to reading, but fell asleep over my book. Falling asleep after a good night's sleep? Surely I didn't need the extra hour? And I felt guilty, because this holiday was costing us good money!

It is only since getting home that I've put two and two together, and identified that these were not my ideal conditions (though my husband has no such qualms, he loves doing nothing on holiday.) So it is a dichotomy. Who to please?

Do you ever have this problem with a holiday?

What are the key ingredients for a successful trip where you are concerned?

I recognise that the break HAS done me good, but would've liked to have enjoyed it more while I was there!

I would be interested to hear how others feel about holidays.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 2:11am

Dear Sally, I can relate to this. I wouldn't say I am up for a really active holiday as such, but my husband never wanted to do anything at all. He is not very mobile now, but even when he was, he was happy to just sit and soak up the sun and yes it was boring! He is very much into routine. He liked to go the same place, even though there is a whole world out there! To be fair, when we tried somewhere else, we compared it to the place we found we liked and so - back there we went again. I stopped enjoying holidays (so I welcome your blog as I thought it was just me). I think we went on too many at one point, which took away the novelty. Especially the same place, same faces... But also it depends on mood... if I was depressed I would not be happy anywhere and this can feel even worse when on holiday, as you are 'supposed' to be having a good time and some of us just need a bit of entertainment or something different to take our minds off things! By not doing much at all, we have too much time to think. I wonder if three weeks is too long for a holiday? I find a week, for instance, is never enough but the last time I went for a week, I think I was able to appreciate each day a little more, knowing it was not going to last very long. Anyway, I am gabbling. Interesting though, thanks Sally xx

Sally Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 7:04am

Thank you for your interesting comments, Molly. You understood! Yes, I think I would enjoy short breaks more now . Three weeks is, for me, too long for a holiday of that type.

LP Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 7:25am

Hi Sally,
I've always loved going away on holiday. As a child I never wanted to come home. I think just the change of environment and novelty is enough.
I love warm climates, different cultures, landscapes, buildings, shops, food, tv! I prefer 2 weeks if I can, enough time to unwind and get right away, before having to think about it coming to an end.
My ideal would be to combine exploration and adventure with days of relaxation, I'm happy with either, but not that keen on the idea of packing in lots of sight seeing with no time to relax. It's hard to afford holidays, but I find it important to have one to look forward to.
Thanks for an uplifting blog Sally. Well wishes to you and all. LP xx

Jul Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 8:53am

This is an interesting blog Sally! My husband loves going away. He works abroad and sees his return to our hometown as an opportunity to either go (escape) to our house in France or on a holiday. He doesn't seem able to relax into where we live and participate in life here. I do like holidays but recently spent a week in a resort on the Algarve and I can't quite pinpoint why, but didn't feel right the whole time. I think Molly has summed it up very well actually. I like routine and like to read the newspaper every day which of course I don't do when I'm not here so miss all that. My OH says I can still read the paper online which he does, but what's the point of being abroad and sticking to the routine you have back home? I think everyone likes to feel grounded wherever they are and I've noticed I get messages from friends who are abroad more frequently than when we are all in the UK. I would love to go backpacking again in Cambodia or somewhere I've never been, camping or just taking year off to travel. But would I? Is this just in my dreams? I have a friend who says the same and makes me laugh when she said in the same sentence "but I got annoyed when my husband was speeding along ahead of me in the airport and I was having to carry a heavy bag..." I must end this with saying that we are very lucky to have the freedom and money to be able to do all this travelling for pleasure and I do feel rather selfish complaining about the relative luxury of my life. But I know exactly where you are coming from Sally. Jul xx

Marmaladegirl Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 9:30am

Thanks for the blog Sally - my aim is to be like you one day (be a member of U3A and go on holidays). I haven't been able to have a holiday since the summer of 1997, after that I moved in with the man who became my now ex-husband.... I looked after his son from a previous marriage plus the two daughters we had while he went on holidays with his friends, but we were left at home. I managed to leave him in September 2011 but as an unwell, single parent have been too poor, ill and knackered to go on holiday since then. However, I have worked out how to have "mini breaks" - and when I say "mini", I mean mini. Looking at a beautiful flower, feeling dark chocolate melt on my tongue, sitting round the table with my two wonderful daughters - those moments feel like holidays. Because we all do need to take a break now and again, to stop and breath and savour life. Also, as Molly says in her comment, it is important to have something to look forward to. "Holy-days" - we have come a long way from the meaning of the word. I'm not religious so "holy" might be the wrong word for me, but I can find something peaceful, meaningful, beautiful, uplifting every day. Wishing all Moodscopers a moment of hope today. Marmaladegirl

Vivien Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 9:50am

Hi Sally, interesting blog. I took my first holiday in 5 years this year. Went to Southern Spain (Singles holiday) - got really stressed out before hand. What needed to be done, make sure my Mum (now in a Care Home) would be fine, organise people to visit and oh yes, organise myself to go away. I was petrified. Wasn't sure how I'd cope but it turned out to be fine. Met some lovely people and am even thinking about next years holiday. For the last few years I have been a full time carer for my Mum, but due to health issues, she spent x months in Hospital, before finally being transferred into a care home. What a relief. That was when friends said ' go on holiday Viv. I am now hoping to get more 'breaks' - I can go and stay with my sister then use her place as a base to go to other places. Also I must get out to the countryside, if only for a day. Yes, we all need a break but getting it organised is a different thing. Take care all. Viv

Kelly Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 12:39pm

That's a pretty common experience for me. Depression is not a fun vacation buddy and neither is anxiety. For me a good trip is one where I don't end up in tears too many days of the trip.

Helen Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 1:03pm

Hello Sally. I have a similar dilemma with every holiday we book. Husband has a stressful job and his perfect holiday is to fly somewhere, anywhere, warm, be handed a cold beer and lie on a sun bed for two weeks without moving. Now I can manage this for a few days but then I go stir crazy. I love to explore new places, experience the culture, visit temples and animal reserves, eat weird food. However, I like to do all these things at a relaxed pace. My bungee jumping days are over!
I remember going to some Greek island where there was nothing to do or see. Everyone was wedged cheek by jowl astound the pool. Yuk! I read ten books that fortnight. Husband thought it was a great place and would go back in an instant.
The problem is that the less I do, the less I want to do. Lethargy sets in and my mood plummets. So now we set a few guidelines when choosing a holiday. We try to have two holidays, one where we do and see stuff and one which is more relaxed. I can cope with the relaxed holiday as long as I have one (hopefully two ?) trips. The other thing we do is to never go back to somewhere we've been before. A new place means at least you have somewhere new to explore even if you don't go very far. I plan my holiday reading so I have some good books to entertain me and if I do fall asleep I tell myself I'm on holiday and I deserve the rest.
I am so lucky to be able to go on holiday at all and I feel guilty that sometimes I just feel indifferent and would prefer to spend the day in bed but I guess that's the nature of the beast and I'm still working on that one...

Helen x

The Gardener Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 1:24pm

Helen, with you all the way - though Mr G's job was not particularly stressful just had no wishes to do anything on holiday. Dilemma is the right word. I know many happy marriages where the couple regularly holiday apart. They are criticised. Response? If we holidayed together, we would not stay married! Mr G never wants to do anything on holiday, lie under an unmbrella, read trashy books (and why not) and drink. As this does not mix well with heat with him often provokes severe quarrels. I MUST nove. We have a compromise - Corsica and Club Med have been perfect. Some swimming, lots of sun, miles of beach walking then sociability in the evening - Club Med will not permit sitting with the same 'gang' for two weeks, so you meet fascinating people. A few years ago we 'rescued' an obviously distraught couple from the terrace table next to us and took them back to our garden and relaxing wine. They had a dream shattered. Like us their family was scattered far and wide. They found a gite in the Dordogne, and ammassed 17 of their family, 3 generations. Nobody was speaking at the beginning of the second week. The daughters-in-law, working or not, reckoned they did not have to get up, husbands in charge of children. Husbands probably had well deserved hangovers - they also had work-generated stress. The grand-parents (stupid people) had envisaged long lunches under the trees, catching up. They got lunch while half the family had just got up and demanded breakfast. Some were on a diet, or turned vegeterian, or were not speaking to their parents anyway. Just shoved Mr G out to lunch in his wheel-chair - over 30 degrees - lunch was nice, people welcoming - but, pleasurable? No, too much responsibility - and he wants to go to a 'do' in next village, even hotter. One golden rule I've learned over decades of holidays, NEVER set out to do anything the first day - it's 'wind down' day, which often becomes 'wind up' day!

Everhopeful Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 2:49pm

Holiday preparation can be exhausting if u have gardens to water,fridges to empty,camping kit etc but great fun when u get there if the kids r happy etc. We used to get very upset on return because there was always post to bring u back us earth with a bump usually to do with neighbours and planning! When the kids had flown the nest and we had a bit more to spend for ourselves on holiday we hit one of the best ideas for us.We went on walking holidays in mountain areas in Europe.We were on our own with a map or two and had to get to the next place for the evening meal and because the mountain taxi had moved our luggage there! It was good because we stepped up our fitness with lots of walking before we went,only took small bags and walking kit,saw amazing scenery,got very fit,enjoyed delicious food but lost weight and met lovely people. It is a great idea if u like walking or u can choose a base to stay and walk from there.The second year we put in some extra rest days and that was a good idea! It is possible to have activity and relaxation together on holiday if u look hard and try to be flexible .Someone else said that what u really want in a holiday is a break from some things.I really enjoy not cooking for a change what about u?

Jane SG Sun, Jul 9th 2017 @ 7:25am

I agree Everhopeful. My Mum always used to say that 'a change is as good as a rest.'

Jane SG Sun, Jul 9th 2017 @ 7:25am

Thanks for the blog Sally xxx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 5:46pm

To everhopeful - perfect holiday. We went with the Ramblers Association - to meet up with my b and s-in-law - neither of us wanted to spend a lot of time together - so with a group was perfect - twice Greece once Sicily - glorious scenery, plenty of exercise good food and company - but you have to be able to walk, we miss such things.

Leah Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 11:15pm

Great bog and great detailed comments. I wrote a blog last year called Routine about how even on holiday I need a routine and I miss the routine of my shop. Thanks again Sally

Sally Sun, Jul 9th 2017 @ 8:37am

Thank you all very much for your comments. It's great to read other experiences and to share something you don't necessarily tell people when you return from holiday. Because they want to hear you had a good holiday!

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