TSC and I will be house-sitting for my folks while they are in Durban. I'm looking forward to sitting next to the pool (even if it's with my laptop to get my big story done in time for Monday's deadline) and just being away from home. It means that I have an excuse not to do all the niggly little things on my to-do list (everything from sorting out my beads and magazines to cleaning out my bedside drawer, which is one of those places in our house where homeless objects like spare batteries and lone earrings seem to collect).
It's not a holiday, but it's a nice break. I was thinking that yesterday and TSC asked me what I was pondering. I said that I was trying to figure out what makes a holiday for me. For him, it's being able to do what you want when you want. I thought about it some more and realised that for me, what defines a proper holiday is:
- Not having to do the annoying daily chores and admin, like cleaning, phoning clients, answering work emails and sorting out laundry. I enjoy camping and self-catering holidays, but my favourite treat is if we're away and don't have to worry about cooking our own meals or washing up afterwards.
- Not having any major committments that impede spontaneity or flexibility. This is why visiting my gran in Mpumalanga counts as a break, but not a real holiday in my opinion. I'm constantly thinking about whether she'll be able to enjoy what we're doing, if she'll feel left out if we go somewhere without her, if we'll get in the way of her social activities etc. Ultimate holidays for me are where it's just me and TSC doing our own thing, or when I'm with people who don't mind everyone splitting up when they feel like it. My family are good like that - we all tend to gather for meals, but my grandparents are free to nap while my folks go for a drive and TSC and I play tennis. I hate it where you're away with people and there's no privacy and no chance for solitude. And unfortunately, TSC's family are the type who expect that when we're away with them, we can't even be on our own for 30min, which is probably why we struggle to be together for more than a few days at a time - it's two different ways of thinking that collide.
- Not stressing constantly about finances. I don't mean I want to be able to just throw money around. I mean that it's difficult to relax when you can't really afford the holiday you're on. Friends of ours recently went to Australia and although they enjoed the experience, they said that they were on a really tight budget, but staying with friends who didn't understand that, and kept expecting them to join them at expensive restuarants or theatre shows. Our friends found it very stressful to be constantly rebudgeting to try to fit these things in. Personally, I'd rather save up for a long weekend and have enough spending money, than go on a week-long holiday where I'm constantly freaking out about the money and not really relaxing.
- Doing something new. It doesn't have to be exotic or expensive, but doing something new or going on an adventure is part of a holiday for me, even if it's as small as seeing a bushbaby in the wild for the first time (which happened when we went to wonderful Sondela).
- Having enough time to unwind. I've loved touring all the waterfalls in Mpumalanga, sunset horse-riding in Cape Town, doing a bridge swing in Zambia, swimming with dolphins in Zanzibar, visiting art galleries in Paris and all the other exploring I've been fortunate enough to do, but I also need time to sleep late, drink cocktails by a pool, take slow, wandering walks and generally just chill out. Without the chance to chill, as soon as I get back to work, it feels like the holiday never happened.
PS: My bucket list is up on Being Brazen's blog! Yay ;-)