How Weekend Breaks can be a Special Holiday Retreat

May 4, 2020

“…while others talked of the razor wire wrapped around their souls, or staring out the window with a being expression that showed no trace of desire, remorse, impatience, or resignation, just temporary abeyance, like a person waiting for the ends on an invisible clock to reach and appointed time.” James Lee Burke, Sunset Limited

I used to go on short weekend breaks all the time when I worked for the corporate world. My flatmate at that time, would always say how wonderful it is to get away. Now thinking back I think she loved having an apartment empty. I used to go on mini breaks around Italy because I studied Italian and I loved the food, the weather and culture.

She’d recommend places such as Bellagio a tiny place only accessible by boat from the North part of Italy. There’s a direct train from Bergamo to a boat. And then you get to a beautiful spot. Apparently all Hermes scarves are being made there. I don’t know how much truth is that. However, I did end up buying lots of scarves.

I was bored because I stayed in a tiny hotel where the only company I could keep was the cat. The people that stayed were honeymoon couples. I decided to never listen to my flatmate ever again. I thought I’d take that quiet time to write but I only ended up drunk on a bottle of wine. The only thing I ended up writing was my signature on the bill.


Photo by adrian on Unsplash

We all love a trip to another city. We love to tick it off the travel list. We love to hang our work clothes and get into shorts and t-shirts and spend the weekend with sun, a glass of something and enjoy the moment. Short breaks are great for many reasons but they are a complete nuisance if you have a 9 to 5 job in the city. We all have the need to rest. The Financial Times says:

There’s something factal about rest: we need it daily, weekly and yearly. That said, my reading of the (slim) evidence is that if you can bear the cumulative expense and the travel time, frequent short breaks beat the occasional elongated vacation.

I understand the appeal for wanting to escape the city, however, a short break away will not ‘fix’ you. Rest is super important but a short weekend break wouldn’t give anyone rest as it has been advertised everywhere. If you google ‘short weekend break’ you’ll see a massive list of ‘city breaks’ and how good they are.

The city breaks don’t give you the rest one would imagine. City breaks can be exhausting. Here are a few reasons:

One

You know the drill. Leave work on Friday maybe a bit earlier as no lunch break was taken. Grab a suitcase packed from the evening before. Then, get on a tube or a taxi to get on a train and only then to the airport. At the airport wait for minimum an hour — that’s lucky. If your flight is delayed the wait is a lot longer. Fly for an hour and a half or maybe two or even three hours depending on where one is flying.

Once landed you’ve got to take a bus, taxi, train or some kind of transport to a hotel or Airbnb. I am not even talking about if I had to check in my bag; the waiting time only goes up. Adding it all up it would probably amount up to about 8 hours of just travel if not more..!? And that’s just one way! Add all the hours you’ll have to do to get back home!

I ended up a lot more in transit than actually enjoying my time away. You only have a weekend ok maybe three days or a maximum of four days. Two of those you end up being on the road!!!!

Two

How much money that one weekend cost me? A lot! I’d often return broke and needed to get my hand into my savings. The amount of money I’d spend on a hotel, food, and any other entertainment would leave me drained for the rest of the month if not two or three.

It’s not cheap being a tourist.

You’ve got to remember sometimes you want to dine in a nice place, listen to some live music, have a nice glass of wine all that cost money. It’s only one night!!!!! What about three or four nights…? You don’t travel somewhere to just sleep in your hotel room and eat a take out, do you? To watch TV one needs to understand Italian.

One might have a cable but did people travel all this way to stay in a hotel room and watch cable…? What about the experience in the new city/place people longed to see…?

Three

I’d need a few weeks to recover after my trip away financially and mentally. I’d be exhausted after all my time walking around the city. No matter how wonderful or historical the place was I’d get tired. After all, I am there only for a short time so I tried to soak in everything I could. Once back home I’d need to recover for a few weeks.

However, I couldn’t I had to go to work the next day. I had to perform and be on top form at work. How often we go back to work after a trip away? No one has an extra day to spare for rest from the weekend away. After the weekend away people are knackered, skinned, and had to be the best at their job. That’s hard work!

‘We are living in age where European city breaks have become akin to collecting football stickers, each placed lovingly in its Panini/Instagram tomb, never to be seen again. If the weekends themselves are tiring, the pressure to plan the next is exhausting.’ Hugh Morris

I used to take those trips thinking I am learning about the culture and travel but I only spend huge amounts of money and was tired as hell. I was delusional. The idea of the short break is great in theory but in practise it’s rubbish if you live in a city like London and work in a corporate job.

I haven’t even mentioned the emissions and how bad it was for the environment!!! I love a getaway weekend but on my terms. I would never do those trips ever again purely because of those reasons.

However, I now live in Spain. My husband and I go on many road trips. That’s different. We don’t get on a plane. We don’t need to take a tube, taxi, or train to something before we start the journey. We get in the car with whatever suitcase size we like and off we go. A few hours later we are listening to flamenco, staying at a fabulous full of a historic hotel, and have a proper rest.

We enrich our lives just by driving down to the south of Spain. No need for a massive hotel or restaurant bills. Spain isn’t expensive unless one decides to stay at a luxury hotel. Why? Most of the time people spend out. You need a clean room with a comfortable bed and a clean bathroom. We go to the South of Spain so often we get discounts at the hotel where we stay.

We also learn to look for airbnb to get inspired for design and a ‘new’ sustainable way of building a home. We did find one place which was absolutely magical. It only cost us 40 euros a night! It is a bit of a drive but totally worth it. The views are spectacular and you sleep like a baby once you get there.

Sure, we’ll have nights where we splash out but that doesn’t put us out of pocket. We learned how to travel, experience the culture, learn history and have a break. That’s life, but travelling for a short break while working in a corporate world — it’s suicidal!


A room we stayed at for 40 euros a night, author’s pic

New Way of Travel…?

I hope everyone learns to travel in a way that doesn’t affect the environment, doesn’t break a bank, is restful and it’s enjoyable. With the current state of the world, we are not travelling anywhere so it’s good for the environment. The nature has some rest from emissions and people everywhere.

It’s good to evaluate how we live and travel for the future too. Travelling doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane. How about getting in the car and discover what’s a few hours drive away from you..? Do you know what’s next to you? Learn to discover what’s on your doorstep. You must have chosen where you live for a reason.

You might have a lake nearby, or woods, or seaside or an amazing natural park… Nature doesn’t have to be in Italy or Portugal or Spain. Nature is everywhere go and discover what’s near you. Learn to look ‘inside’ and the grass is not always greener on the other side! You might have the most magical place on earth you have been looking for but missed it until now.

Love and Light.

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