The case for taking a break

I need a break.

At the beginning of this year, I was working out every single day. Work was demanding – juggling a schedule with limited resources and an abundance of coverage to be done (I work in the media, for those of you who don’t know).

I got sick on Carnival Friday and it took me about two weeks to recover fully.

I knew by Ash Wednesday that I needed a time out. Desperately.

Easter is usually the time I travel, because why use 10 vacation days when you can use 8? I got the rare luxury of getting three weeks vacation approved this year, so I was originally planning to spend two weeks traversing Vietnam and one week in Cambodia.

However, the more I considered this plan, the more I realised I was starting to dread my vacation.

My holidays are rarely ‘relaxing’ in the typical sense. I try to pack a lot into a short space of time and I tend to do activities that are moderately physically demanding.

When you’re in a wild, vast land like Peru for just 12 days, it means you may have to spend the night on an overnight bus, hours after climbing three and a half hours one way to 4600 metres to spend 15 minutes at the edge of a glacial lake.

The face of someone who’s not entirely sure it was worth it

Or perhaps you decide to go kayaking in a sea kayak for the first time on an extremely chilly and windy day in Patagonia, Chile.

You catch my drift, right? I am #teamoverdo when it comes to my vacations. Also, #teamfirstworldproblems

After the last couple months I’d had, the thought of sleeping on buses, trains and boats, piling myself and my backpack into small, inconvenient spaces, maybe trekking through jungles and other miscellaneous terrains (because who the hell knows?) was giving me serious anxiety.

Why just visit Machu Picchu when you can CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN BEHIND IT!!! (maniacal laughter)

At that point, I considered something radical. Why not book a relaxing vacation?

Like a…lounge by the pool, stay in reading all day, take leisurely walks, lay out on a beach, do some shopping kind of vacation?

I consulted with my friend Shanya (@baglady_basics) who happened to be in Vietnam while I was making the decision about what to do.

She advised me to look more closely at Indonesia. So to the Lonely Planet I went and everything I read about the place seemed right up my relaxation agenda.

I settled on making Bali my main stay for two weeks, because if you can’t take it easy in Bali then what the hell are you doing?

I also figured as long as I was on that side of the world I may a well go to Cambodia and Vietnam anyway, but just brief stops in each country.

So, I now have no idea what I’m doing with the next two weeks of my life.

Ok that’s a bit dramatic…

I’m accustomed to planning every detail of my holiday down to the hour. I know where I’m going to eat every day of the week and if I’m feeling particularly neurotic I’ve read the menus and already know what I’m eating for every meal too.

But alas, Indonesia will not be getting this treatment.

So far I know where I’m staying for the first 7 days of my trip (I’ll be there for 14 days) and know that I’m heading to Komodo Island to trek and dive next weekend.


Beyond that…everything is pretty murky.

I’m surprised by how relaxed I am about this to be honest.

Who are you Imposter Belix?

Real talk though… I’ve decided I need to let go of this idea that I have to have every minute of my vacation accounted for, that my days have to be packed with activities to the point where I’m falling into bed exhausted every night, only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

I read and posted about traveller’s guilt a few weeks ago and how it can impede your ability to make good decisions as it pertains to your overall wellbeing while on vacation.

Sometimes (all the time) I feel this overwhelming obligation to do every and all things possible while on vacation because when will I be here again? When will I get to do this again in my life? When I have a screaming toddler nipping at my heels and sucking me dry of all my disposable income? (JK, I fully intend to rear my lil homie (my nickname for my imaginary child) to be a mad chill traveller and very hipster-woke-minimalist from birth).

I digress.

I treat every trip I make to a new country like it’s the one and only time I’ll be there so I have to make it count.

But what does ‘make it count’ mean? And why can’t it mean lots of different things?

To be honest I also feel a sense of obligation to anyone with even the most remote interest in my travels (especially the women) to show them all the amazing experiences and sights and sounds and tastes of the places I go to so maybe it’ll inspire them to buy the ticket they’ve been putting off buying.

Think of all the elephant butts you could be watching

All that said, I didn’t intend for this to be a long post.

I just wanted to say it’s ok to take a break from what everyone expects you to do, and what you expect yourself to do. It’s cool to go somewhere far and not tick all the boxes…maybe you’ll turn the page over and see a shit ton of boxes you missed before.

Less intense and demanding but maybe just as rewarding boxes.

For now, my loose itinerary involves wandering some rice paddies, fighting off mosquitoes, getting a massage everyday, smelling everything (it’s wild how strongly my memories of my vacations are tied to smell), having long leisurely meals with a beautiful view and running from Komodo dragons and active volcanoes (sorry Mom).

Let’s see how this goes.

Follow my Instagram @CeolaB for all the adventures (or to see me doing a lot of nothing at all).

2 responses to “The case for taking a break”

  1. Really proud of you C! I can relate to this entire article and have also gotten a bit tired of the super intense trips. I’ve been enjoying taking it easy on these past few trips!

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