5 powerful lessons from holiday that apply to life

Being on holiday, like I have been recently, reminded me of how different it is compared to back home. Here I compare my time away from the routine, the work, the rushing around, to the time I had in the Lake District and later, Portsmouth.

I was was able contrast how different it feels, and what it means in terms of living our lives.

A reminder, travel is stressful, as is life

No matter how many times I travel, even to a location I have been before, I get apprehensive.

I wake up too early, I’m restless before leaving, just killing time waiting to go. Even when I finally leave, a nervous tension remains within me. I guess it’s the newness of it all, or the expectation.

It’s not so much anxiety because I don’t imagine something bad is going to happen. But I feel on edge, an uneasiness in my body.

It doesn’t go until I get to my destination, my accommodation, then I have to take a little time to recover. If you’re like me then the travel can be the most demanding part of the whole holiday experience.

We need to to accept the fact that it will often be like this, and trying to enjoy the experience even as we worry. The same with our lives. Uncertainty will not go away we need to find a way of thriving within it.

Accepting life as it comes

Travel means going outside our comfort zone. This can result in things going wrong because we’re not expecting them, or haven’t planned for them.

Life on holiday is one long adventure that starts the moment you leave home. Delayed trains, cancel flights, bad weather. It happens.

Experiencing this uncertainty and misfortune can, if you’re open to it, help you adopt a different attitude towards life.

Instead of trying to squeeze life to fit into a plan, you learn to take life as it comes. Adapting, learning, growing. Changing plans to fit the circumstances.

It’s a process of letting go. Of control, of being certain, feeling safe, and embracing each moment as it arrives. Then doing the best you can with what you have.

Holidays give us the opportunity to do this far more than the routine of home. Because the unexpected is more likely. So a break away from home can be a major learning experience.

I learned I was more capable than I thought. During the routine day-to-day I don’t get a chance to push myself. But climbing hills in fog, facing my fear of heights and travel. Has helped increase my confidence.

Broadening your horizons

Because there is so much free time on holiday, it means you can get so much more done. Your life seems to expand because there’s no responsibility to do anything. You can use your time as you see fit without any obligations.

Holiday represents freedom, away from the prison of the day-to-day.

Which is why I can feel a little reluctant to go home at the end. Because that means the routine is back. The work, the chores. The same places and same faces.

When I return from holiday my life feels as though it shrinks. I feel smaller, imprisoned, even a little down. Because I know I won’t be able to match what I accomplished away from home.

The lesson here I feel is to try an make home more like holiday, even just a little. Use what free time you have to go on adventures, try new things, and stretch yourself.

Getting a different perspective

With all this extra time you can contemplate your life more easily. Out from under the deluge of tasks you can spend more time in reflection. Learn lessons from the past and consider the future.

Travelling also means seeing how other people live. One of the best ways of understanding yourself is to learn how other people live.

You gain insight by comparison, the more different, the better. Contrasting the struggle, the triumphs, the values. Those little moments of joy.

You can see yourself, your life with greater clarity.

Learning to savour the moments

One of the things I feel some of us have a problem with is we live at a frantic pace. When they look backwards they see they have just skimmed over life, with no deep connection to it.

When I was on holiday I slowed down so much. I spend a couple of hours just familiarizing myself with this new place. It means I don’t get to do as much, but the upside is that I feel a greater sense of connection to the place.

On holiday you have the opportunity to slow down. To really savor the moments and deepen your perceptions. The end result is that perhaps, the experiences you had will be more vivid in the remembering.

Every so often, just stop for a moment and savour being in that place. Be attentive, notice what’s around you, how you feel. Stand and stare.

That way when you are back home in the fast lane of your life you can say you remembered the time you had.

Making life a little bit more of a holiday

I feel it’s important to take these insights from our time away and use them in everyday life. Perhaps trying to make the day-to-day seem more special, more like a holiday.

Each holiday I have has felt the same way.

An adventure.

That’s what life needs to be like. Stressful at times yes, but rewarding. A way of growing and expanding your life.

So the next time on holiday, go to learn, to grow.

‘To see what can be seen, hear what can be heard, and learn what you are truly made of’ – Richard Collison (Tweet This)

How do you remember your holidays? What did you learn, about the world, about yourself? Comment below.

2 thoughts on “5 powerful lessons from holiday that apply to life”

  1. Hi Richard, glad you had a good holiday, and I like the idea of making every day life a bit more like a holiday, we shouldnt feel imprisoned just because we’re working and in a routine, we are creatures of nature and are born to be free.

    • Quite true Rob, I feel modern society has made many of us just cogs in a machine. The ‘live for the weekend’ mentality is a symptom of this. Holidays represent a time when we are liberated from the drudgery.


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