When you arrange a trip of say 6-12 months or more i.e. you are dropping out of mainstream life and going to alone or with a partner to visit the big wide world. All the guidebooks and web sites, tell you what you can you, e.g. this activity, OH you must visit this place and so on.
What they do not tell you is that you are allowed to relax and have fun, e.g. days off from sight seeing, and all the activities of a new country can offer. This was a dilemma that presented to me around the 2nd week into this trip, I had flown into Bangkok, and hoped to ease myself into Asia culture slowly etc, for a week I did this, but I knew this was a stopping off point only. I wanted to go to Phuket and go to the beach. I arrived there no problem, found a few things that I needed etc.
Then I decided to explore the different beaches along the coast, now according to the map it looked around 3km from Patong to Karon beach, I said no problem I easily walk that, so headed off in the general direction, hoping for some signs to the beach. I had been walking for around an hour on what I was thinking was the correct road, but I think I was getting lost at that stage, then around 2 hours I said I have to stop, ask for directions etc, I saw the road going from made up (tarmac) to a dirt track, this did not look like the main road – then I knew I was on the wrong road or was I?. A few more minutes walk and I came across a resort called “Paradise beach and restaurant” I asked how I could get back to Patong, she said a 400 baht taxi ride now or a 100 baht lift at 4pm. I could enter this area for 100 baht and that was for a sun bed on the beach, at that point I was very hot sweating, and did not want to go even for a taxi ride back. I needed a rest. So I paid the 100 baht for the chair and went in, got a drink and laid down on the chair, but within 15 minutes I was starting to get restless (not used to relaxing) and then decided to go for a swim to cool off.
Came back to the chair and tried to relax, quite hard for me, but after I had a beer, I was thinking, why cannot I not relax and enjoy this beautiful cove here in Thailand? its warm +30 deg C, I am on a wonderful beach, sipping a beer under a palm tree and my friends are back in the UK and Europe freezing and I have at least another 4 months of this, so why cannot I relax. The answer did not come immediately, but just after lunch, as I headed back for an afternoon snooze.
The answer was not 42, but I had not given myself personal permission to relax, and enjoy the surroundings, I was still thinking that I had a job, life to go back to in a few weeks, but that was so far from the reality, I was kidding myself. I had left my job, life back in Europe and the UK when I flew out of London on January 1st on this new adventure.
So sitting there watching the world go by in front of me, I eventually said, what the heck I give myself permission to enjoy these surroundings, it took me until around 3pm to work this one out, so only had a relaxing time of 1 hour on this beach before I headed back to Patong.
However the days that followed when I went to a beach, or sit on a hill side, I have slowly learnt to sit and do nothing for a few hours, I still feel this is a guilty pleasure and I should not be doing it at times, even after 15 months away. I need to do something, but it is OK to do absolutely nothing e.g. sit on a beach or hill and think about nothing, just let your mind wander and see what pops up, it might just surprise you.
So just give your self permission in every day life to take time off from those hectic days, you need a physical and mental break for a few hours per week to recharge your body, life and soul – just remember to turn off those mobile phones, otherwise you will not relax for those few hours.
Enjoy the switch off from normal life. Give yourself permission to relax and have fun.
Photos from the beach/cove ( more photographs of other places I have visited, please visit www.imagesfromaroundtheworld.com)