Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stuff I Learned on Holiday

I'm home.

After sixteen days away taking in three places, I am back into my own bed tonight. My wonderful house sitter has left the place in condition better than I left it (well at least as good as - I don't remember leaving it this tidy) and now I'm about to embark on the next phase of life - what ever that may be.

However, I'm technically still in "holiday mode". This morning I woke at 9.30 am - a sensible time I think, I've done very little so far. I'm waiting on a call back from a phone interview I had in Bali and I'm waiting on a go see from another company - not bad for shoving a line up on my LinkedIn Page when I woke this morning.

Yet still I remain in 'holiday mode'. I will be in this state until the last of the remnants of my exploded suitcase are off the lounge room floor and all of the dirty clothes are washed, ironed and put away.

Until this happens, I can reflect on what I learned on holiday this time around  - which strangely, was a lot more than I expected to learn.

So hear are my holiday lessons:

1) Upgrades are SO worth it

Not that I'm feeling overly flush, I managed to upgrade two sections of my trip for a fairly nominal fee. The first was at the hotel in Sydney where I got a business class room for the night - the small extra fee bought me dinner for myself and the friend who came to visit me as well as a decent breakfast the next morning, Oh, and the room was a bit bigger, with an in room coffee machine. This made the start of the trip something special - not having to pay for wine and food for the evening, even better.

The other upgrade opportunity I was thankful to be able to take was the opportunity to go business class on the way home. But more in this later. For once again a fairly nominal sum, I got to ride home in comfort. But yes, we will talk more about this later.

2) Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You

I'm a seasoned traveller. One of my rules of travel is to be unfailing polite where ever I go. I do make an effort to learn these words in the language if the country in which I'm staying. Bali is interesting in that it has two languages - Bahasa Indonesian and Balinese. Thank you in Bahasa is "Terima kasih". Thank you in Balinese is "Souk samoor". Using the Balinese will earn you many, many brownie points. Just smiling, showing some gratitude and being polite makes travelling quite easy.

Thank you is not a hard word to learn .

Another thing I was taught growing up is when you ask for something, you say please. Watching fellow travelers not use these words of gratitide really did my head in. Being polite costs nothing. Not saying please and thank you gives tourists a bad name.

It's just a simple courtesy. How hard can it be?

3) Sometimes some things at home are better

I was only away for a two weeks, but there were a few things that were sorely missed. These being:

My electric toothbrush
Wholemeal / seedy bread
Walking down the street and not being asked whether I needed transport / a plaited bracelet / a hotel room
Being able to wake up in the morning and it being like cool (not 25 degrees and muggy)
Finding some items at the price at which they were displayed (I'm not a great haggler - I'll play for one or two rounds - that's all)
Having Coke / Diet Coke / Coke Zero all at the same price. For some reason diet coke is more expensive that regular coke.

Which really isn't that much at all - though it was lovely to come back to my toothbrush and decent bread.

4) Confronting your fears doesn't always get easier

I fell in love with the Yoga Barn when I was in Ubud. I know I'm a bit of a hippy, but this place is the mothership for all things even remotely alternative.

During my time in Ubud I decided to bite the bullet and try tackling my fear of yoga. It's not so much that I'm afraid to do yoga - it's more the disappointment I feel in my body when I can't do things, like wrap my arms around each other, or do back bends. I can do other things in the class quite well, however.

In the three classes I went to, the first one - an Intro to Yoga was a lovely gentle session. The second in Anusara Yoga, a little more difficult, but as it was breath based, I was happy to participate.

The third class, another Intro to Yoga class was taken by this incredibly attractive, incredibly flexible man. Instead of the dreamy, slow paced, breath-filled yoga of the last few days, this hottie put us through our paces - spending forty minutes of a ninety minute class on the Downward Dog position.

Confronting is an understatement. Being gently singled out at the class nuffer (okay, I was probably ten years older than most of the people in the class, but I never let that get to me normally - this time I really felt it). There were other things that made me look at what was going on. The releasing of the hamstrings that Pinochet has had me working on for over a year - finally working. The shoulder freezes that I've worked on for years - finally providing dividends, but still, I end up a stroppy, teary mess.

The only way that I can get through feeling like crap with yoga is to do more of it. I do enjoy it - I just find it confronting.

5) Travelling when sick, quite frankly, sucks

I caught a cold on my second last day in Bali. Like who goes to the tropics and catches a cold? For regular readers of this blog, you will know that I don't get nice colds. I get crappy, two day in bed feeling like I'm dying colds that end up with me with a rotten junky cough types of colds. So I flew back on Bogan Air in the Business Class section - which was thankfully comfortable, and they ply you with free drinks and let you roam around the cabin. On a six hour overnight flight where you can't sleep because you're too stuffed up is a bonus. On arriving in Sydney, I caught the train and the ferry out to my hotel, fell into reception and put myself to bed for the next two days. A waste of a good hotel room, yes. Did I get to go to my friend's birthday party that I was in town for - no... felt far too crappy. However a nice cool room, with a big bed and nice soft sheets did me well and I think it made my recovery smoother. That, and a lot of panadol and the odd weak gin and tonic smoothed the ride. Flying back to Melbourne on the Sunday and I was back in the land of the walking wounded - but still happy to get home.

6) Sometimes the wankiest sounding things can be the best things ever

I had the most sublime time at the Sound Medicine session at the Yoga barn. Run by the Bali Sound Healing Collective, this session was one of the most spiritual, awakening, sublime and potent healing sessions I've ever had. I have never been a part of a sound cloud before. I've not had my body and mind disappear from consciousness so completely before. Shervin and his team lead the most incredible meditation session I've ever had the privilege to attend and participate in.

Sound healing - sounds like a pot of crock - it isn't. If you're in Ubud, check this out on a Wednesday evening. I wish I could go back to the Sound Medicine session weekly. I felt at one with the world after this session - and I'd love to learn more about this amazing, magical art.

I got talking to Shervin the following evening after another meditation session and set the universe in motion with something. I want to launch my book at the Ubud Writer's Festival in a year or so. I have put this out there, in the presence of a shaman. May this help to get the project off the ground.

May the magic of this session help to get me doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

7) Holidays are really a very necessary thing

I didn't think I needed a holiday.

Seems I did.

And I'm glad I have had one.

Can't wait to do it again.


Kath Lockett said...

Holidays - either planning one, on one, recovering from one, writing about one or thinking about the next one. And the one after that.....

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Sounds like you had a great time. I totally agree about politeness. Its a shame you were ill at the end - I agree - that really does suck!

We're off next Thursday to my favourite place (Hong Kong) and a scary new place - Japan.

I'm slightly nervous having read about it - but I am also extremely excited.




Elephant's Child said...

I am so very glad that your holiday was valuable - and agree about common courtesy. Costs nothing, and makes a huge difference. And should be done regardless of whether it makes a difference or not.
I hope your cold is leaving you.