I have just returned from a week’s holiday, a week doesn’t sound that long, but when life is as stupid busy as it has been of late, a week felt like a complete sabbatical. It was long overdue and very much needed. I had quite a lot of time to think while I was away and what follows are a few reflections:
1) Holidays are awesome! Stating the obvious maybe but was fantastic to get away from an everyday routine and turn the brain off for a bit.
2) Step away from the twittersphere – a whole week with no twitter was surprisingly liberating; as fantastic a resource as it is for connecting with people and learning new stuff, I think it took me a week away to realise how much noise there is at times, and how just staying aware of it all is quite draining. It was definitely good to step away.
3) A good cattery is a godsend – Mogs is a very sociable cat and I hate leaving him, as silly as I know that is. He is massively affectionate now he’s back and I rather suspect he enjoyed having a break from his routine too!
4) Cross country skiing is much more fun to try than to watch! I’ve been a big fan of the lycra clad athletes all season but wasn’t sure that I’d actually enjoy it when I tried it. The snow wasn’t the best (too late in the season, too warm), fear not I didn’t wear any lycra, but it was great fun – definitely worth trying if you ever get the chance.
5) Europeans have a very different sense of self-awareness to Brits (I know that’s a massive sweeping statement). If I was feeling more controversial I’d suggest they don’t have any self-awareness but I suspect they have just culturally learnt not to care about it! Whether it’s an aversion to queuing or lack of awareness in the sauna – they just don’t seem to bother about other people!
6) Travel insurance doesn’t cover terminal illness! I’m a last minute kinda gal and the night before travelling was desperately searching for travel insurance that would cover me to return home if I needed to but I couldn’t find a single insurer who would cover my costs if I needed to – my Dad has been diagnosed as terminally ill and of course it’s a pre-existing condition, so effectively I would have to cover all my own costs.
7) Train travel is a great educational experience – there are so many different nuances for international trains, whether it’s how to open the doors, where to buy tickets, or just the different experience of the different types of trains, I love it. Which is saying something given how much of my life I spend complaining about poor train travel in the UK.
8 ) European beer is much, much better than what we drink in the UK. Great fresh taste, no preservatives or funny stuff in it and consequently no hangovers.
9) Work is *not* the most important thing in life – I know this is such a ridiculously obvious statement, and one that should be a given, but if I’m honest I still struggle to find the right work-life balance. Taking time away from the office, thinking about family and friends, reflecting on the happenings in Japan and Libya, was all useful to rebalance my perspective. The challenge is to hold that over the coming weeks but I’m determined to give it a go.
10) It is great to spend time outside. It is really humbling to be in the foothills of mountains and surrounded by nature; to breathe cold and crisp air; to soak up some rays and listen to the birdies sing. At the end of the day we are all tiny, insignificant beings in the big scheme of things and it’s useful to remember that every once in a while.