For most of us, the number of days available each year to travel are limited. Even if we are lucky enough to have a generous holiday allowance some of this will, inevitably, be needed for life admin, for appointments, for DIY, for family events. And, of course, there are cost implications. We are left with a few short weeks to spend out there in the world and this limitation can add pressure. What if we make the wrong choice: is the airline too budget, will they lose my bags, extort money for being one kilo over the weight allowance, deem my hand luggage too big for the overhead lockers, seat me away from my companions, land miles from my destination; was my selection of accommodation correct, is it too central, is it too far away, are the 30 negative Trip Advisor reviews out of 670 positive the ones I should really trust (if you look hard enough you will find a bad review for anything, and I look hard); will the weather be right; will the hire car company accuse me of scratches I didn’t cause; these are just some of the thoughts that clamour for attention whenever my finger hovers over the ‘book now’ button.
I am a natural worrier and worse, prone to perfectionism. These traits mean that I have a tendency to over plan my travel, to over populate the itinerary. A three week trip to Eastern Canada and New England resulted in 4,000 km of driving through two provinces and four states in order to tick off the ‘to do list’. During a week’s camping in Iceland we did not stay more than one night in the same place. I once calculated the number of holiday days left in my working life and the number was unpleasantly small. I fear running out of time to see and do all that I want to; repeat visits must take their place at the bottom of the list.
What, you may ask, has all this to do with the title of this post? Well sometimes we have to take a metaphorical grip of ourselves. Sometimes the last thing we think we want is exactly what we need. And so, for the first time in a long time, I took the decision to plan an unplanned holiday; a week with no schedule, no list of sights to see.
To minimise any guilt at my inactivity the chosen destination was one we had been to before, the quiet north west of Mallorca, far away from the high rise beach resorts, the nightclubs and cooked breakfasts. We booked a finca on the edge of the Tramuntana mountains, hidden down twisting farm tracks amidst wild flowers and fruit trees. We threw back the shutters and let the quiet in.
The restorative power of peace is not to be underestimated. It certainly helps if that peace is found somewhere so utterly beautiful. We spent hours simply sitting, absorbing, feeling the magic of the soft sunlight, the clean air and the calm working through us. Weight lifted, breathing deepened, sleep lengthened, energy replenished. Sometimes being still is the best kind of travel.
For those interested in learning what Mallorca has to offer beyond the immediate environs of one small patch of farmland, there will be more to follow.