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Taking a Break

I'm not easy company for a touring a distant land. I have rigid, strong opinions on what constitutes a perfect vacation. I also come with a whole list of quirks and stubborn ideas. For example, I have no problem in doing the exact same thing — visiting the same city, staying at the same hotel, touring the exact same sites, and experiencing the same calm and peace — every single year.

Would I travel for hours to another city just to stay indoors at a hotel for a few days? Unless internet speeds are terrible...hell yes!

I am a huge proponent of routines that have a high probability of working out. Trying out new experiences is not on my list, except when it's recommended by a like-minded person. No amount of shaming from friends can change my mind especially since things work out well for me.

  • Top-most priority on a break is comfort and peace. Hotels are a critical part of the journey. I'd happily splurge on hotels and food and stay indoors with Wifi
  • Vacationing should not entail sweating it out in the hot sun or wiggling your way through large, noisy crowds. These are nightmare scenarios. Would I travel to Agra, visit the Taj Mahal, then back out and head back to the hotel if it were too crowded there? Hmmm...not an impossibility!
  • Covering tourist spots is not a priority. Covering a couple of major ones is good enough. There's always next time!
    • Far too many people focus on recovering bang for buck from their flight ticks and end up rushing through a bunch of cities and tourist spots
    • I would love to visit the Stonehenge in the UK, sip a cup of coffee and get back without checking out anything else
    • Decompressing and absorbing the essence of the place takes time
    • Objective is to reset your brain, not ticking off places on some map and claim you've conquered a geographical region on social media
  • Be careful about overloading your brain with new experiences. There is a balance your brain is comfortable with. A rush of new experiences can seem exciting but your brain may lose it's ability to reset because nothing is good enough for relaxation any more. You may be left wandering the globe to fill the void

I've spent a good amount of time picking a suitable hotel. To be honest, this is super exciting. Location is critical. It must be located near the primary objective such as a beach or lake that I'd visit daily. It also needs to be away from crowds and the beeping of horns; the kind of place where if you were to turn off all appliances, you can hear the sound of silence.

In my experience, the cheaper the hotel, the shadier the crowd around you. If you're travelling with friends, this doesn't matter, but with family this is front and center. If you must save money, shorten your stay. But pick a good hotel and lean on the expensive side. More often than not, a higher price translates to cleaner sheets and towels.

I also have ridiculous parameters such as — it must be located close to a Domino's (or decent Pizza place) or KFC or at least a McDonalds. Many luxury hotels are located in far off places without decent food options around them. The rationale behind being around these western food joints is in case the local food is so abhorrent that I pick up a bug that disturbs my digestive system, thereby threatening to ruin my time off, I can at least fallback to these joints that (hopefully) serve good food.

While being in exotic, tranquil places is something to look forward to, travelling by air is an experience I loathe. The wait time and the rush at the airport is grueling. I realize I'm exaggerating a bit here. You'll always find me in some quiet corner at the airport in direct view of the flight status board (due to anxiety about missing the flight) listening to podcasts and music. I'd very much prefer travelling 14hrs by bus than deal with airports. Trains are the worst, mind you. Number of times I've ever travelled by train to a distant land is less than 10, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Here's an interesting take on travel that contradicts conventional ideas: