I love holidays, I love them. Especially the way the holidays are these days. The first day sets the tone. You check into the hotel or resort and they immediately put you on the clock. “Sir, the buffet breakfast will be served daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m..”
I can’t quite remember the last time we took a family vacation out of Pune. It was three or four years ago. It has become a habit now to dismiss everything on the Covid but it is not true and especially because I know a lot of people who have traveled despite the pandemic. And I feel a little stupid that I didn’t, especially since authorities around the world ended up throwing up their arms and saying take care of yourself and don’t even wear a mask if you don’t. not wish.
We made a rule this time: don’t do what we usually do. So the first thing I did was log out of all – all – social media, email and apps. Not even taking calls. All it takes is a business call or message to set you back a few hours, maybe all day. Work and worries will always await me. And unless I switch off, I cannot recharge and am unable to give undivided attention to myself and family. So no Instagram. No LinkedIn. No Twitter. No smartphone basically since all that paraphernalia is a big part of digital disorder syndrome. To the point that I carry the phone with me only to click photos and videos.
Another decision my better half made was to go on a road trip. She loves to drive, we all see a lot more countries this way, it’s safer since you’re in your own environment and it costs the price of fuel.
It takes two good days to let go of habitual habits and worries and learn to relax and unwind. Fortunately, we have a good masterpiece: the buffet breakfast. The breakfast buffet is the planner of planners, the motivator of motivators, the holiest of holiday holy grails.
Getting up early on vacation is a counter-intuitive concept. Also, the goal is counterproductive. Unless of course there is an intrinsic motivation to get up early. That is having an empty dining room or your favorite 6 seater table and great service. We are failing miserably at this so far as we walk into the dining room a bit late. To be honest, the buffet is fascinating to all of us. Every morning we are curious about what will be on the buffet today, accompanying the usual expectations that include waffles, pancakes, assorted muffins and made-to-order eggs. For us adults, the excitement is that we don’t have to cook or do the dishes or clean up afterwards.
And that’s what a vacation is really about for the first two days – soaking up the work-free, guilt-free pleasure of a simple cup of coffee. For children, they can (within reason and taking into account what each wants to do) enjoy two weeks of childhood without studies, without timetables and without restrictions. Right now (as I write this) I’m in the resort’s playroom watching Marsha and the Bear while the younger ones are on the Playstation. I love Marsha and the Bear, and Heidi and Peppa Pig and Big Hero 6 and K-drama and… a bunch of stuff. Stuff that normally I wouldn’t take the time to look at. Just like I wouldn’t take the time to draw or take long walks or swim or read for long hours or listen or build things with my own hands.
It’s been a while since we’ve been around a town, finding our way around by asking local residents for directions, then stopping to eat at a local restaurant just because it looked like a scenic spot where the food could be nice. And to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of such a simple adventure.
Life in the digital age is extremely taxing on mind and body due to digital addiction and lack of habit of thinking and deciding for ourselves, taking small risks and learning from them. lessons. There are apps and digital aids for everything, so much so that they make us feel inadequate and afraid to go without them. That the world would crumble and we would fail at simple tasks unless we had the assurance of the knowledge and database of some big (or small) anonymous tech company to guide us for our own good .
We’ve spoken (face-to-face) to over a hundred people over the past four days, from gas pump staff to restaurants to hotel staff, passers-by, local residents and other tourists from all over the country. I am relearning how to socialize, relax and breathe fresh air without thinking too much. And learning a lot of local history, debating and listening to family perspectives, seeing and experiencing things that I forgot to see and experience and hopefully some of those new lessons will stay with me when I return to town.
For me, the whole point of vacation has been to get a perfectly done piece of toast. A perfectly done piece of toast (for me) is a piece of toast all over, crispy on the outside and crumbling soft after the bite, and with the aroma of wheat and butter wafting through my senses. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of black coffee.
The trick is to flip the toast every time you put it in the machine. Then you get an evenly toasted toast. If you keep toasting the toast in the same position, you get soft toast or burnt toast. Which means you need to relax, be patient, and take the time to toast.
And that’s what I’m learning to do. Take my time to toast because it takes time to learn something and do it right.
Sanjay Mukherjee, author, learning technology designer and management consultant, is the founder of Mountain Walker and chief strategic advisor to Peak Pacific. He can be contacted at [email protected]