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Is there such a thing as too much holiday?

I used to dream of being able to travel indefinitely. Of moving from one awesome destination to the next, enjoying one mind-blowing experience after another. I thought that if you had time you could really maximise the cost of an overseas air ticket, instead of having to rush back to the office.

When I was working full time, we used to only really be able to take 2-3 weeks vacation per year. That’s because out of my annual leave allocation, I always save some for family time perhaps to be enjoyed at Christmas, and you really need to keep a few days here and there to tag onto a public holiday in order to create a mini get-away.

This time our trip to Europe had no boundaries, other than the fact that it costs real money (Euros at that!) to keep staying there. We felt really chuffed to know that we were taking a month and even that could be extended if we felt so inclined. I’ve always been so envious of friends who had the flexibility to spend a few months at a time just travelling. At last here we were too!

Daily rhythm: morning cappuccino at our local coffee shop in Montforte, Italy

What I learnt from this month-long trip is that two weeks is too short – you are only really getting into your new rhythm when you need to head home. I already had plenty of experience of the two week stint! It feels like you have just started having proper fun when it’s rudely curtailed.

Four weeks however, is really quite a long time to be away from home, especially if you have furry children that you can’t call or whatsapp. It’s also fairly tiring to just keep on going for a month solid. We found ourselves in such amazing places that it seemed to be a crime not to get out and explore every day. When you are spending around €200 a day (including accommodation/car hire/meals etc) it also feels ridiculously wasteful to say spend the day lying around in your AirBnB reading a book.

In my opinion, three weeks is just about the right length of time. You’ve detoxed from your previous environment, you’re adapting and getting into a new lifestyle, you aren’t saying to yourself ‘I wish I could take the dogs to this place’ just yet.

I think it’s also important to vary the activities and pace of your holiday. If you are doing pretty much the same thing every day e.g., lying on the beach or driving round the bushveld, two weeks is probably sufficient. When your plans are more varied and your environment keeps changing say from city to country, or from being alone to staying with friends, it fine to keep going for longer because it feels like lots of mini-holidays.

So I’m not ruling out longer trips, but in future I will make sure that we build in time to relax in between the hectic sight-seeing. Smelling the roses is just as important as seeing the world. 🌹

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