I was asked one very simple question a while ago by one of my longest friends. His question was:
“where would you go on your dream holiday?”
As simple as the question may sound, I was having a hard time answering it.
I stuttered a little bit until another friend (who is also one of my longest friends) let a sarcastic tone out of her mind. She answered: “it’s going to take her sometime to answer that because she’s been to a lot of places!”
I was stunted a bit. I did travel a lot. I have been on holiday countless of times, yes. But that is not why I was having a hard time answering that question.
It was hard for me to give a quick answer because now I feel like I have embraced different meanings for both holiday and travelling. I don’t think holiday equals travelling anymore. Also, I think that this opinion is firmly based on the debate that compares a tourist to a traveller.
This is simply my personal opinion, but here’s, I think, the deal.
In my mind, the word holiday only means it is your time to enjoy.
For example, Easter holiday. It is time for people to enjoy their time with family, enjoy the spirituality of the holiday (for the Christians), or to simply enjoy the laid back period that is a long-weekend.
Another example is the term beach holiday. In my opinion, beach holiday means coming to the beach and stay there for the whole holiday. You might do some activities, such as snorkelling or swimming, but you might chose just to lay down and get yourself tanned. Essentially, the word holiday in the term beach holiday means that you are enjoying the beach. You might get tired after a couple of activities, but you could go back to your lodging that is also on the beach and enjoy the beach from there.
For me, travelling is more like work. I get exhausted, into a fight or uncomfortable. Travelling means involvement. When I travel, I buy from local producers, I walk to get lost, I took the bus like locals (though my time in California and Florida made me understand that nobody take the bus, not even the locals). During travelling, while my body might be rested, my mind keeps on working. I might be in the coast of Mediterranean Sea, lay on a beach in Turkey, but I keep comparing its resorts to the ones in Nusa Dua. I might be in the middle of an unknown isolated village in Morocco, eating the best kind of olives and the virgin-est (?) extra virgin olive oil, but all I think about is bathroom, Indonesian vs Moroccan, or lack thereof.
It is hard for me to explain where I would go on a dream holiday. It is simply because I have not wanted to go on a holiday for the longest time. I want to travel and see the world. I want to get involved. I want to talk to the locals – set up focus group discussions and write a paper about my visit. I want to visit my friends in South America, Barbados, Norway, Auckland, Portland, Perth and so many other places. I want to learn a new language, Shanghai for Mandarin or Buenos Aires for Spanish, maybe. I want to go to the most secluded village in Indonesia to do some volunteering or to the deepest rain forest just to prove that there are actually areas untouched by palm oil companies.
I want to do ‘something’ on my ‘holiday’. I don’t want the time I spend away from home is wasted because I choose to just enjoy.
Anyway, in regards to my friend’s question, I did give him a short(er) answer back then. I think my answer was something like,
“I don’t really care about the destination, as long as I am on my own, that would be my dream holiday.”
This answer is true and could also trigger another topic of discussion, but it did not answer the whole question. I am relieved that I am able to answer the question more extensively here. I just hope he reads it!