Yesterday I almost took the best photograph in my life.
I was finishing my run on the beach when I saw a bride and groom literally walking hand in hand into the sunset. If you were very ungenerous, you’d have thought of the bride as rather overweight; I saw her as ripe with new life. Their backs were towards me but I could feel the promise of happiness in their bodies.
Their official photograph was covered in the sand doing his thing.
I almost pressed the camera button; I didn’t.
Do you know why?
Because, in a flash I realised that I’d rather keep the feeling of the memory (yep, the Greeks have a word for this and I know it) than commit it to the screen.
I tried to hold to the perfect moment when the Universe is in complete harmony and you experience profound sense of calm and wellbeing.
It lasted couple of minutes.
Still, my experience last night made me think.
Think about all holidays that I didn’t allow myself to enjoy.
Remember all breaks when I ended up more stressed than I started.
Reminisce about all the beautiful moments that I’ve spoiled.
I also reflected on happy and restful we’ve been this holiday. I thought that this is the one holiday we love unconditionally.
Do you know what is the secret to love your holiday unconditionally?
I reckon these seven tips will help you make memories, love your holiday and get back to your everyday life rested and contented.
#1. Don’t worry about spending money
This one is very hard for me. What I realised is that I failed to enjoy previous holidays because I was too preoccupied worrying about money and trying not to spend it.
So, I always ended up away, not spending much on fun and living basic life in difficult conditions (yes, have you tried to prepare a meal in a self catering apartment on a Greek island?).
This time, we are spending on fun and I am not feeling guilty about it.
This doesn’t mean that you should live completely without regard for money. You can change the worry for planning though.
#2. Don’t get in debt
I remember many holidays when all spend went on credit cards. No wonder, I was so worried all the time that there was no space for joy and play.
This time, the use of credit cards is a matter of banking connections rather than cash flow issues (for some reason, Greek ATMs don’t connect to our current account well).
This is why I managed to take a ‘chill pill’ (this is what my son calls it).
If you want to love your holiday unconditionally, make sure you are not building debt.
#3. Make memories
I’m a big believer in making memories because memories are what connects you to the people in your life and keeps you warm and smiling on a dark, rainy day.
Some experiences that build memories will cost you. For example, this year our son took to water skiing – it costs a bit but the smile on his face I’ll remember forever.
Most experiences are priceless but not costly.
Do you think I’ll easily forget running on the beach and crashing a wedding in my dishevelled state?
#4. Don’t accumulate things
Minimalist I probably would never be. I’m leaning towards ‘essentialism’ though.
This means that I have limited buying ‘things’ to the absolutely essential and this can be one of two things – either ‘absolutely necessary’ or irresistibly beautiful.
I can safely say that this year we’ve bought very few essential items.
#5. Live for the moment
I usually have a great problem leaving my problems – or even simply preoccupations – behind.
Even on this holiday I spent couple of days get it wound up about selling the apartment in Sofia (yes, this is still going on).
Generally, one of the reasons that I love this holiday unconditionally is that I’ve managed to stay away from work and worry.
I’ve tried to learn to live for the moment.
There is a lot of joy to be had from playing a beach game with my son (even if I suck at it); or playing cards (even when losing).
#6. Let go and listen to your body
Do you live according to a strict schedule?
I usually do. I get up at 6.06 am; read, write, work…
I have breakfast, lunch and dinner and hardly ever drink.
When you are on holiday you can let go a bit. I’ve done.
I wake up when I wake up; no alarms. I sunbathe, swim, train and run. I written a, bit but my writing schedule has been all over the place.
And you know what?
If I fancy a beer in the morning, I have one (okay, the earliest for me has been lunch time but this is decadent for me).
#7. Challenge your comfort zone
Challenging your comfort zone is good for you in many ways. And makes for a very enjoyable and refreshing holiday.
You don’t even have to go big on this one. I, for instance, have been checking how many items of clothing I really need on holiday. During this break, I’ve been washing the items I wear every evening and…
…it looks like that next year I’ll be coming here carrying only a small backpack.
(John, doesn’t know yet and he’ll be rather upset. He has brought something like 10 t-shirts and five shirts – didn’t wear most of them but then he was not up for challenging his comfort zone so he is not learning.)
Going on holiday is not always – and doesn’t have to be – cheap. What is important is whether it is ‘good value for money’.
Now that I mentioned ‘value for money’ you are thinking about the things you get for your money, right?
What I mean is probably different from what you are thinking about.
Because for me, the value of a holiday is measured by how rested and relaxed you end up; value is measured by the experiences you collect and the memories you create.
It is about whether you love your holiday unconditionally.