Your Holiday Decision: To Relax Or To Explore?

This is the question many people deliberate over each year when deciding upon what to do for their holiday. Is relaxing by the beach ‘a waste of time’ compared with exploring a new country?

 “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.”
 – Elizabeth Drew

I think she’s obviously had a bad experience from a couple of travellers at a dinner party! In my opinion travel/exploring really does broaden the mind. Now I’m not suggesting that you subject friends to the horror of your 2000+ slide show presentation with 5 hour video of your holiday, not even Guantanamo Bay would employ that sort of level of torture!

Having said that, travel/exploring makes sure you have at least one thing  interesting to talk about and gives you a new perspective on the day-to-day things in comparison with other countries. One of the best things about exploring a country is experiencing everyday things for the first time, no matter how small they may be. For example, why do we, as a nation, have cereal or toast for breakfast?  Why not try another country’s breakfast for a week? Go Mexican and have a burrito!

However, there is something to be said about going away just to relax and recharge your batteries. It may be the only time of year you can properly rest and switch off. You might be so exhausted that all you want to do is lie by the pool with a book and a cocktail. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Everybody needs that from time to time. All I would say is that if you do that please don’t do it on the doorstep of an amazing culture and sights to explore. If you do take a least a day trip or two. Bear in mind the words of James Michener…

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”
– James Michener

Exploring a country firsthand challenges your perception of it. You finally view the world how it is, not the way you thought it was through all the influences of media, friends and family. You will see cultures and people in a new light and nothing will ever again be black and white to you again.

“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.”
– Bill Bryson

If you go on holiday to explore a new country you’ve never been to, even the most mundane part of the  journey somehow becomes a bit more exciting, as you’re heading into a completely new experience for yourself.

What I would suggest is this: why not compromise and have a few days or both relaxing and exploring? When it comes down to it, holidays are pointless unless they change something on the inside, whether it be the reset button on your stress levels or changing your life in a completely new direction from an amazing experience you’re had. Both are important and equally valid outcomes from holidays. At the end of the day its down to personal choice and what is right for you at that point in your life.

It’s important to remember that when you do choose, make sure it’s what you want to do and not what your others expect/want you to do.   You’re the one who’s worked hard all year, it’s your money paying for it, it’s your holiday entitlement being used .  It’s your choice, so make sure that it’s a holiday you can enjoy, otherwise  what’s the point?

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