My kind of holiday
Let me start with a question. Why do you/would you go on holiday? To unwind? To relax? To get in touch with nature? To experience adventure? To spend time alone? To bond with friends and family? To meet new people? For discovery? To run away from chaos? To hide from creditors? To have fun? Whatever it is, the reason to travel shapes your holiday. You have to know what you really want in order to plan an ideal holiday. Planning is crucial. It sets the ball rolling on how your holiday will pan out. This is the stage where you list all the destinations you know of and start cancelling them out one by one depending on your preferences. If you go for a pre-planned vacation and you end up liking it then count yourself lucky. An ideal holiday works well when you customize it yourself. Think about the value you get for your money, time investment and all the things you would miss out on if you didn’t go on holiday. That is reason enough to craft a perfect holiday. Allow me to describe my ideal holiday and as you read, think about how you would craft one for yourself!
Cleanliness is next to godliness! That is what my class five home science teacher taught us. I want to check in to a clean room. I am not always concerned about the size of the room. The mattress size or texture of the duvet will not do much to determine whether I have a good time on holiday or not. However, cleanliness or the lack thereof will definitely have a hand in this. When my room is cleaned every day, I feel taken care of. I am not the kind of person who throws stuff everywhere in the room and leaves a mess, but I appreciate a little housekeeping to maintain hygiene. I do not spend a lot of time in my room during my holidays. I guess that is why, size or comfort does not bother me much. But I love retiring to a clean room after a day of serious adventure. That is not too much to ask for.
When it comes to meals, I prefer a buffet setting. I don't want the hustle of thinking about my next meal. I want to walk in and be met with a ready selection for me to choose from. But even then when I leave my appetite to take charge, I always want a taste of almost everything. So I end up putting small quantities of each item. I try and behave like a Mzungu and follow their etiquette. You know, where you start with soup or salad, and then follow with the main course, followed by fruits and cake for dessert. By the time I am sitting down for dessert my stomach is always full. A buffet gives me the value for money illusion. I mean, the food is plenty and I can eat all I want. I also get a variety of dishes which is more than I can say for ala carte. I am a stickler for good food and my kitchen background helps a lot.
For a holiday to excite me, it must have an element of nature. I get away to get in touch with nature. Nature has a way of making me feel peaceful and relaxed, allowing me to reflect. My holiday feels incomplete without having experienced what nature has to offer; be it quietness, adventure, serenity or fun activities. Nature is something different than what I get to experience every day in Nairobi city. The reason to travel is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. I will travel anywhere as long as there’s an element of nature. Nature just does it for me!
Breathtaking views make my holiday. It's my climax. Views make up for any place that my holiday fell short. My holiday should and must have views: be it at the destination, along the way or a manageable distance from where I am staying. My friends call me the sunset guy. I want a location that allows me the perfect view of the sun going down the horizon majestically and rising again the same way, the very next morning. Such moments give me goose bumps. I do not want to be confined to a place where the only thing I can see is buildings, trees and bushes. I want to see the horizon, landscape, large water bodies, hills, waterfalls and plains. Holidays are more of an eyesight thing than anything else. It's what you see that makes you happy. It determines how you feel and this is what you will remember about the destination. That’s what would make me want to go back to a holiday destination. Beautiful views allow me to appreciate nature even more. How else would I appreciate God's amazing hands?
If am travelling to any place that’s accessible by road, I prefer driving there. If it's a considerable distance and there is an option of flying, I would prefer to come back by plane. I travel to know places and experience them fully. I feel that going by road gives me the opportunity to see and know places before getting to my destination. During the first leg of the trip, I have the e energy. I am eager to see and learn more. Therefore, I can afford the energy to get there by road. When coming back, my excitement is probably not as much. This would mean that coming back by road is tormenting and I would rather get back home quickly. Again, there is nothing new to see on the way back, unless you use a different route from the one you used while going there. Going by road and flying back is what’s ideal for me.
The first day at a destination, I want to do nothing. I want to wake up, take breakfast and do nothing after. Eat lunch, do nothing, eat dinner, do nothing, then sleep. I go on holiday to relax and rest. I do not want to get there and have to work my body again. I want to lie down on that couch/sun bed and have someone bring me a drink. Maybe this is what people call managing jet lag. I want to wake up when I want, eat when I want and sleep when I want. I mean my money bought that experience. I am the boss. I am not the one who said that the customer is always right so don’t shoot the messenger. I want to feel in charge of my comfort and rest. I switch off my phone or put it on aeroplane mode. I usually prefer not to receive any calls or texts during this time. I am not mean, but it's my time to rest. No one should be angry at me for disconnecting myself from the world. I am connected 90% of the time throughout the year for God's sake. If there was a service for carrying lazy people around, I would gladly pay for that on the first day.
On the second and consequent days of my holiday, I want to explore. My time to be lazy is up and it’s time for me to move around. I want to discover, learn and experience what my destination has to offer. However, every activity should be at my pace. I am the boss here remember? I don't want anyone hurrying me up to get out of the bed or eat fast. I will choose to do an adventure because I feel like it. My mind is more prepared on the second day to go for that game drive, that swim, that walk, that boat ride, that beach volleyball or that zumba dance class. I do not allow myself to feel any pressure. It's my holiday and I need to enjoy it the best way I know how. I don't want to feel cheated at the end of my holiday. I also do not want to blame anyone for an opportunity I missed. I want to experience everything a destination has to offer. This helps validate my holiday spending.
As it has become evident, my ideal holiday has to incorporate a taste of nature, good food and fantastic views. I prefer going by road and taking a flight back. I want to do literally nothing on the first day. Most importantly, I want a squeaky clean room.
What is your ideal holiday like? What would make you spend on a holiday? What would make you rate a holiday as successful? How would you want your experience to be like?
Kindly click on "comments" below to share your ideal holiday
Eliud Ndungu, a part-time adventure travel blogger who’s been exploring his motherland-Kenya for over 3 years