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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cool Travel Guide’s Alternative Holiday Mojo Maintenance Programme

Here's my alternative guide to that top ten list of ways to find and keep your holiday mojo: 1. Immerse yourself in your destination at least a month or so before you leave. Read as much as you can about the history, culture, people, politics, cuisine, etc, watch movies and listen to music about the place. That way, when you arrive your knowledge will be greater and your discoveries will be deeper and will consequently stay with you longer.
2. Do plan for your return, but stock the fridge with the food and liquor of the place you’re travelling to. Better yet, buy a local cookbook, some ingredients, and a bottle of the local drink of choice while you’re there, so you can continue to savour your experiences when you return.

3. Don’t arrive back early. Stay away as long as you possibly can and make the most of your trip. Even better, maintain that adventurous spirit and fly in the morning you’re due back and rock straight up to work with your luggage and souvenirs for your boss and colleagues. (Leave a change of clothes at the office on your last day.)

4. Definitely ease back into work gently and answer only important email. Spend the rest of the day emailing friends and family about your vacation or typing up your holiday diary before you forget your experiences.

5. Don’t just keep one reminder of your holiday close to you – create an online shrine of memories and memorabilia, scanning in your ticket stubs, postcards, matchboxes, bottle labels, and coasters, blogging anecdotes and recollections, and posting your photos for everyone to see. Buy souvenirs that you can use – a beautifully designed kitchen item from Scandinavia, clothes from Buenos Aires – and they way the memories will always be with you.

6. Keep your connection to the destination alive by buying CDs, DVDs and books and magazines from the place while you’re there and listening, watching and reading them when you return. If you went to Spain spend have a Pedro Almodovar film festival one weekend. If it was Lebanon, then stick Fayrouz on the stereo and keep her there. Paris or Milan? Send a few hours thumbing through French or Italian Vogue.

7. Don’t just “slip into holiday mode”, stay in holiday mode: take a short walk every evening (just head to the nearby park or around the block), head to a local café every day for an hour, have a candelit meal every night, and spend time reading a book before bed.

8. Do relax every day, but relate your choice of relaxation to your holiday – swim if you went to the Mediterranean, do yoga if you went to India, get Thai massages if you went to Thailand, and so on.

9. Be a tourist in your hometown every week – head to a concert or show once a week, visit a museum or sight on the weekend that you’ve never been to, go on a walking tour or guided visit, and get out of town regularly, even for a day.

10. And when you’re so sick and tired of Fayrouz, you can’t stomach another taco, and you just can’t get into tai chi, apply for leave, start planning your next holiday, and return to #1.
Any other ideas? I'd love to hear your tips.


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

That is what hubby and I do... as we are coming home from a vacation - we start 'looking into' the next one... we go online and investigate places and weird things to see and do...

Lara Dunston said...

But I'm keen to know whether you reinforce the effects of the trip you've just been on... do you try to stay in that 'mode' of being? i.e. if you've returned from Cuba do you make mojitos, play Celia Cruz, watch 'Guantamera', get salsa lessons, read about Castro, or whatever? Or are you happier to begin a new journey?

Prêt à Voyager said...

Going to the hamam when I was in Cyprus was just the medicine I needed after 4 straight days of non-stop going in Berlin. It taught me the lesson that it's ok to slow down. And going to the hamam was as cultural experience as any other.


Anonymous said...

Great suggestions. The worst thing about travel is coming back to your every day life and losing that great laid back feeling. I'd love to link this post, would you mind?

Lara Dunston said...

Anne, I so know what you mean!

And, Travelmuse, I agree with you - which is why we're travel writers - we never have to 'go back'! Of course you can link to me!

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister. Why wait for a vacation to be on vacation?

Can't yet afford that trip to France you've been dreaming of? Attend a local wine tasting that focuses on the region(s) you're pining for. Bring a map!

Feel like you haven't seen the sunset in ages? Head to the roof of your office building for 15 minutes and drink it in.

No time to discover Istanbul this year? Find books by its most famous authors, and you could be immersed in the city within an hour or two.

Lara, thank you both for your site and your suggestions -- traveling can be physical, emotional, and self-educational. And it never needs to end.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Melanie! You have some very cool suggestions there!