Light Rain, 14°C
I have this recurring fantasy about my perfect holiday. It begins with the completion of a big project at work and the desire to escape. Sometimes I leave straight from work to the airport. Other times I stay in a hotel first, after a night in the city or maybe after catching a bus from home. I then fly to Singapore and onwards to Japan.
It is a fantasy derived from experience and expectation. With that knowledge I have tried to incorporate the fantasy into my actual travel.
This last holiday was a case in point. I should have loved it. Instead I struggled.
I stayed in an airport hotel before we left, watched a concert in the city at night, shopped for little things for the trip. I could have done with a couple of sleep ins though.
I was so anxious and stressed prior to departure and for the first few days. Well, my fantasy is usually a spur of the moment trip with no time for anxiety. Was it just that? Anxiety about turbulence, about leaving the home unattended, about saying goodbye to our dog Kita for a time?
No. I had finished that work project prior to departure, completed a karate grading, but I didn’t feel like I could let go, still couldn’t switch off. It’s the problem of knowing that delivering a project isn’t the end. There’s plenty of support, bug fixing and further development left to come.
All this stress built on the other anxieties.
Then there was the fear of letting the other two in the family down, of being too selfish with my holiday plans, of feeling their disappointment or, worse yet, letting them come to harm. I couldn’t plan out the holiday as I liked it. At each point I have to check if they want to do that too, to work around their needs. I really want them to be happy. It puts a lot of pressure on me.
Honestly, all I felt like doing was nothing, spending time relaxing, watching my movies, reading my books or making my projects. But that’s selfish. But when you are on holidays with your family there’s almost no time alone by yourself. I’m different to them. I like quiet, lonely places and long train rides gazing out of the window. They like crowds, amusements and action.
Usually in my fantasies I go alone.
It’s ten years since I made my first trip overseas alone. Since then I’ve done a few more to Singapore and Japan. I love them for the freedom to explore, though I also miss the other two, always wanting to share the best things I’ve found with them.
I ended up loving our family holiday to Scandinavia and Japan at the beginning of the year. Sure it started off with anxiety and actual sickness, but once the antibiotics finished it was so much fun exploring and sharing activities with the other two. It was all new for all of us and we all wanted to pack in as much as we could.
Even in familiar Japan we managed to do things we all enjoyed, even if it was Alex getting excited over a beautiful sunset from a castle, or delighting in snow outside the railway museum.
The Gold Coast, well, I found that pretty stressful thanks to all the driving. For me, the only rest of an afternoon in the hotel, or wandering the beach. So it wasn’t really my holiday, but it was still enjoyable.
But Singapore and Malaysia…My fantasy of exploring the East Coast Park in Singapore was more fun with a family on bikes than alone and as the holiday went along I felt we enjoyed it more together. There were plenty of good bits.
What was missing was time to relax. Quiet times without lots to do. That’s the problem of short holidays. Then there were those times where what we had wasn’t enough, where the food in the resort or just outside wouldn’t satisfy, when travel elsewhere was required, when staying back is not an option.
I think Alex agrees. Sometimes doing nothing is enough. And so there is conflict, arguing, disappointment. Which is tiresome enough in itself.
And now the holiday is over for a week and the same old work piles up. Already I feel like I need another holiday. I walk the beach and gaze at the sky and dream. But will the dream just be a disappointment? I just don’t know and it makes me sad.