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Do you prefer to stress yourself out on holiday, or to relax?

2 years ago
Hi everybody! Yesterday one of my students mentioned to me that he and his girlfriend are off to Malaysia in a few days, for 3 weeks. Apart from a couple of excursions and scuba-diving trips he's got planned, he's made sure that, for the majority of his holiday, he has no obligations/plans whatsoever and is free, therefore, at any given moment, to decide to spend as much "extra" time in whichever place he wants to, as the mood takes him. That approach to holidaying makes perfect sense to me.

I remember many years ago when I visited Paris on an Interrail journey (I also took in Ljubljana, Venice, Milan, Nice, Luxembourg, Amsterdam and Brussels), and my main priority in Paris was to hook up with a couple of Spanish friends of mine who had told me to meet them at the Arc de Triomphe at 6pm on the day of my arrival - we hung out at their hostel all evening enjoying cheap wine and cheese. I felt (as one does) that I "really had to" go up the Eiffel Tower while I was in town, so very early the next morning I headed out in that direction. The exaggeratedly snaking queue around the entrance at the base of the Tower, even first thing in the morning, was somewhat demotivating. So, I decided there was no way I was going to join a lengthy line of people and spend 2 or 3 hours queuing just for the wholly unsatisfactory reward of getting a glimpse of the view from up there. I stretched out on the grass, stared up at the spectacular view of the Tower from way down there, enjoyed contemplating that for an hour, then moved on.

I recently observed some tourists in London and Barcelona, and they seemed to be getting very stressed out, frantically busily taking squousands of photos of stuff which, frankly, NO new photos need ever again to be taken of, given the (no exaggeration) trillions of Buckingham Palace photos and the (no exaggeration) trillions of Sagrada Familia photos already in existence. All this pointless activity - and for what? So that their friends on Fb can later "like, like, like" their holiday snaps without even bothering to LOOK at a single one of them?! Give me a break. You call that a holiday? It doesn't strike me as much fun at all, frankly very much.

So, what about you guys? Do you "enjoy" organizing your holidays in such as way as to generate the maximum stress for yourself? Or do you, instead, simply prefer to relax and take it easy?