So, as we assume higher responsibilities on our corporate ascent, we are exposed to higher levels of stress than ever before. The “new normal” of poor condition of the economy doesn’t help. One has to definitely take some time off from normal work and re-charge your batteries, rejuvenate oneself. So that one can come back and start attacking the problems…again.
How much to vacation and how to vacation ? My personal view is that one 10-dayer and two-three 3 dayers in a year are good enough to complete one’s quota of breaks for the above purpose. The 10-dayer obviously has to coincide with the summer / Diwali / Christmas break of the kid(s). The 3-dayer ones can be stolen from normal weeks or by smartly planning for a week in which a Tuesday or Thursday is a declared holiday.
We go for an international vacation every alternate year and that has been a terrific source of knowledge and broadening of horizon for the kid…and for ourselves as well. The type of protective environments that we are raising our kids in leaves them bereft of experiences which can build personalities and character. Hence, we should use our vacations to make up for that. One of the smaller vacations in a year should definitely involve a bit of roughing out, which can address the over-protective-upbringing part. “Roughing out” of course means different things to different people, depending on the “degree of smoothness ” in your lives.
Roughing out would involve taking a train journey for some, going to some rural resort for others, trekking / camping for yet some others. Last time, I was exploring some wildlife resort vacation and discovered (to my horror) Taj Safaris developing a 6-star experience in the jungles of Chhatisgarh. Cannot say that we won’t try that sometime .
Doing your Internet research for couple of hours before your holidays is a great help nowadays. We had actually planned that we are going to eat in some place called Giani da Dhaba when we were going to Shimla, and driving from Chandigarh airport to Shimla. We had almost decided what we want to eat also at the Dhaba. Of course, the glow sign board on the Dhaba had been changed from that on the Internet snap from Airtel to Aircel.
Take soap strips, hand sanitizers, toilet seat paper covers, toilet seat sanitizers (now available in a spray form) whenever driving for >1 hour and having kids with you. Avoid using Dominos, Pizza Hut for coinciding with restroom breaks. Their restrooms are not 4-sigma like their processes are.
The mobile phone as a still camera has easily arrived. Click lots of snaps and delete unwanted ones after the holidays. The digital camcorder is also a cool innovation with videos on memory cards, and can be uploaded onto the laptop easily. It has become lighter too.
Take your glares without fail and use them liberally – no point in getting UVed. I say this because our levels of tolerance of direct sunlight has reduced a lot what with sitting inside air-conditioned offices from 8-8.
My list of choice set for the shorter version of breaks are : Far East capitals (BKK, Singapore, KL, HK-Macau), Dubai, Mauritius, Maldives, Colombo, Lakshadweep, Agra, Udaipur, Kumarakom, Shimla, Goa, Puri, Ajanta-Ellora, Jim Corbet, Taj Safaris .
I won’t name examples of alternative destinations for the longer vacation ones since this list can run into paragraphs nowadays. However, I shall cover an increasingly growing topic of discussion on this set of destinations, viz, doing the “touristy” things versus doing the “off-beat/ real” things on such vacations. So, a growing number of friends are advocating to swap the Big Ben for the Lake Districts, Phuket for Koh Samui, and so on. In fact a bunch of sophisticated people even look down upon conventional “kitschy” vacations. However, my view is that you can leave the sophisticated relaxed holiday for the next time you visit these places. There is some merit in Madame Tussauds, London Eye, British Museum and hence you (or more importantly your kids) deserve to go there at least once. You can go scooting in the Hebrides and meet the solitary reaper the next time you go to the UK. A similar topic of “looking down upon” is our Indian vacationing way of touching 10 spots of interest in our 10-day vacation and taking snaps of ours at all such popular places. My view – do this unabashedly. Snaps at popular places are an experience in their own and make fodder for sweet memories with family & friends ten years down the line. Click shamelessly, video-record without compunction, be in-your-face.
So, please go ahead and enjoy…as I read somewhere, “Vacation is what you take when you can’t take what you have been taking any longer”.