This is very much a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Everyone gets nervous about leaving the workplace for an extended period of time. Worries about what emergencies might arise while traveling, project things left undone, calls not made, lights left on, invariably cause the stress level to increase just before departing on vacation. This past winter has been especially hard on New Englanders, compounding the need to get away, as well as the anxiety that the trip is meant to shake off.
Our bodies and emotions do not operate on the press of a button. Although we understand, intellectually, that we are on a holiday, this does not mean that fact registers emotionally . Sometimes it can take a day, or two, into the trip before one can actually begin to unwind. These days, as technology allows us to be reached anywhere in the world, the temptation, or in some cases, a perceived need to monitor daily life back home, can often extend that process, or in some cases prevent it from happening at all, leaving the unfortunate working traveler as, or more, stressed than on departure.
So how do we force ourselves to reboot, and enjoy the relaxation we so desperately need, and have paid for? This is not an easy answer.
Even while sipping drinks at the beach bar of a lovely all inclusive resort, our mind can still spin.
I often suggest, rather than starting with a tropical cocktail, arrange an adventure, or some sort of learning experience instead. Try something out of your comfort zone that one would not normally do at home. This not only gives you a great story to tell later, but when the mind is forced to learn something, it has no time to focus on everyday problems. There is no better way to reconnect with loved ones than learning something new. Zip lining, surfing lessons, skydiving, cooking classes, tango lessons, horseback riding, skiing, an historic tour, swimming with whale sharks, are among the many things that will increase your heart rate in a healthy way, and will bring you home somewhat changed. New experiences, learning, and adventure, are all on some level what every traveler is looking for.
Another way is to find a resort that forces one to disconnect. Many luxury resorts, especially British ones, have refused to put televisions in the rooms. For instance Nisbet Plantation in Nevis and Curtain Bluff, Antigua.
Horned Dorset Primavera, Puerto Rico, encourages their guests to watch the scenery rather than CNN by removing the big screens from the equation.
Others, such as romantic Jade Mountain, St Lucia, ask guests not to use cell phones in public areas, and to keep them on vibrate while on property.
Still more, simply because of their remote locations, will only offer connections at reception or in the lobby. Examples of these, such as Young Island,
Lapa Rios, Costa Rica, Petit St Vincent, Explora Lodges, Chile, or something like a Galapagos Cruise, can help force even the most resolute workaholic off the grid.
But we can be like addicts when it comes to our work, or connectivity, and we seek it out even when it’s difficult. Ultimately it’s down to us to remember why we have travelled and leave ourselves open to new experiences and the ever elusive peace we are looking for. Once again, do as I say, not as I do.