This may not be the most widely accepted opinion but I don’t actually find these end-of-year holidays (the December ones specifically) relaxing at all. Everyone outwardly moans about coming home in January and starting school and work, but I actually love it. I feel calmer at home. There is order. Quiet. Routine. I feel healthier and more peaceful, inside and out. Is that a weird thing to admit?
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks. I finally feel like the dust has settled a bit, so I can return to my online space and pause, reflect and write. I know travel stories are not always interesting to people who are not planning on visiting the same place, so I won’t dwell on what we did or what we saw, but rather on what my trip to Greece taught me – because there was a lot to learn.
That’s what makes travel of this sort so valuable actually…the time to simply think about things, away from daily demands or people (lovely as they are) who require your attention. It’s the ultimate luxury, time to think. Anyway, this is what I learned while on holiday in Greece for 10 days:
I read something recently by writer Liz Gilbert on the joy of sitting at a restaurant alone, enjoying a meal, and simply observing the life around you. It really resonated, especially yesterday – as I sat at a sidewalk cafe under an Athens sky flinging the odd rain drop on to my head, and sipped on my beer, and lazily ate my salad. I noticed the couple at the table next to me exchange a sexy glance. I saw the waitress and waiter giggle about something behind their fists. I glimpsed a bird wheeling above. My sister had already headed back home to England so I asked for a table for one, ate my lunch alone, and it was WONDERFUL. Some people get lonely. I get energised.
It’s been so nice not feeling guilty about not blogging. Tralala. It’s given me some time to chill and I’ve spent my time not blogging watching some series, including Mad Men. Yes, I know, I’m about 6 years late to the party, but what can I say, I’m a late adopter as they say in marketing terms.
It’s been fascinating (and appalling) learning more about the sexism, racism and homophobia that was so commonplace in the 1960s in New York. There’s also one scene that blew my mind where they go for a picnic and then once they’re done, Don Draper chucks a beer can into the pristine forest and his wife simply flicks the picnic blanket up and leaves all the trash lying on the grass. Apparently the researchers for this show tried to be as accurate as possible and this attitude towards littering was very commonplace at the time.
Over Easter we stayed in the Hemel and Aarde valley with family and I think I’ve found one of my favourite spots in the country. I’ve been there before, but I was reminded once again that there is something blissful about being close enough to the buzz of Hermanus, but still being tucked away in tranquil farm life, where there are fewer people around you.
I want to live here. No traffic jams. No sirens. No electric fences. Just acres of the most beautiful lush valleys and dramatic mountain peaks. Air so fresh it gives your lungs a kickstart. Rivers and streams trickling past. Wine farms you trip over. Space for kids (and adults) to explore. Take me back.