Learning to take it easy

Relax…relax. No, don’t charge some internet to your card, just..relax. This is what I’ve had to keep telling myself since we arrived on Aruba. I’m a city-centred type of traveller. I like to keep a tight itinerary, fitting in as many sights and tours as I can, as if this particular time would be my only chance to see what’s in front of me. So after winning a competition with KLM Air France for two weeks on the happiest island in the world, here I am trying to just empty my mind and enjoy relaxation in its purest form.

I’m pretty good at being able to do nothing, just come by my house on a week night and see how long I can sit in front of the TV for, but I’m not very good at switching off and just spending time being with myself. This is what Aruba has been teaching me for the past week: how to ignore the emails and the TV schedule, quit scrolling the Facebook newsfeed and only sign in to Twitter to post smug photos of beach feet and poolside views (sorry). I’m understanding now that sometimes there’s more to travel than just picking the destinations that are going to fill up every hour; sometimes you need to take some time to just…chill.

Hammock time on Palm Beach, Aruba

I’m sorry I said ‘chill’, I know it was douchy but it felt right.

Being so used to taking holidays in busy, built-up places – New York, Lisbon, Paris, Edinburgh, L.A – for the first few days my head was telling me to pack up the sun lounger and organise the two weeks before it was too late. But then the other side of me, who never gets to be in the limelight, was slurring sleepily about taking it slow and exploring the island one day at a time. As I sit here typing on a lounger by the side of the hotel pool (for the first time ever), I’m not wishing I was queuing at a museum or trying to navigate a foreign train system. I’m enjoying doing virtually nothing.

That’s not to say we haven’t done anything since we got here – we’ve actually done quite a lot already and still managed to get hours of beach time to sun our pasty white buns. We’ve shopped at the malls, nibbled gelato on Main Street, dipped our toes in bright blue Caribbean waters for the first time, learnt about native and imported butterflies at the Butterfly Farm, twitched at the Bubali Bird Sanctuary, counted lizards and Iguanas, eaten a horrifying amount of food, tasted the local beer, took a full day Jeep safari tour, snorkelled from a pirate ship, and watched a film at the local cinema. Tomorrow we’re going to a ‘special’ island to Sea Trek and feed the zebrafish

I can definitely tell why they call this ‘One Happy Island’. It pretty much is the epitome of happiness – no stress, smiles everywhere you look, beautiful beaches, bright blue surf…and it’s just 30km long. Amazing how they fit that much happiness into such a tiny sandpit.

So for now we’ll just relax, and only worry about the room charge print out when we’re packed and ready to leave.

If we’re ever really ready.

Follow:

12 Comments

  1. 8th May 2012 / 5:19 pm

    Love this! Also love that blogging isn’t really relaxing but love that you posted it anyway, and it’s a good trick to be learning. Jealous doesn’t come close… ;)
    xxx

  2. 7th June 2014 / 12:08 am

    It is hard to crack that ‘off’ switch, isn’t it? I’m not sure I can do it…!

  3. 8th June 2014 / 6:33 pm

    Thanks for linking up this month! I can totally relate to this post, I find it really difficult to just switch off and do nothing – it’s a totally fish out of water experience for me as well. xx

  4. 9th June 2014 / 9:33 pm

    I used to be really good at doing nothing but I don’t know what has happened as I get older?! It is important to do so occasionally though and to have some down time to keep ourselves sane so this is a great reminder!

  5. 12th June 2014 / 6:48 pm

    I know exactly how you feel Charley, after living in/near London for so long I think I’ve forgotten how to relax. Having no phone and laptop is a good start I’d say. And cocktails. And winning a trip to an amazing island!

    • 13th June 2014 / 12:34 pm

      Haha, yes winning a trip really does help towards relaxing! And you’re right, living in a place like London means you’re always feeling like you should be doing something.