Pockets of sunshine

What a difference a day made, twenty four little hours…
~ Jamie Cullum, What A Difference A Day Made

When I was a little kid, I had a very different notion of holidays. My family made little tracks around some parts of the world, climbing the Great Wall, bus-ing past the Arc de Triomphe, sitting on a thin raft and getting thoroughly soaked in Manila falls… and I loved it, I knew I was lucky, I squiggled eagerly in my travel journals. We haven’t done many big trips for awhile now, to save $ and perhaps because we have discovered something else…

I still like starting and working my way through projects, and it is impossible to scrap my habit of looking hard at travel agency windows. I still hold my dreams of visiting Italy and Greece and India and all these fantastic places which will be completely different to anything I can concoct in my mind, because no amount of travel photos and intricate descriptions can possibly HOPE to show you the people you will run into, or the way the place will feel… the stories your mind will write for you once you are there.

So yes, overseas travel is fun, and the memories of how we used to do things – waking up at unearthly hours to ‘make the most of our time’, running through museums and buying way too many souvenirs for people we don’t even see twice a year, eating a bit too much to sit down comfortably – still make me smile, make me think I will do it all over again sometime…

But I’ve learned another way to do holidays, too. I’ve learned how do just be, as has been written about in those ‘inspirational articles on living’ you read these days – and which I used to roll my eyes at and translate to ‘laziness’ in my brain…… Seriously, Being, or Doing Nothing, whatever you call it – and focusing your senses on the people next to you, the sun on your face, the different shades of blue/green in the water; stopping to photograph an umbrella, walking through town barefoot, taking pleasure in traipsing through the gardens for hours – it is GOLD. It will teach you how to love yourself and life and other people and work a bit more. I would never have embraced this way of living if I had not had the fortune to be in this country.

I would still be traipsing through shops at 11pm and feeling ever guilty about not working more if I were still living in Asia. I would still think my goals must include a nice big house and a shiny car and lots of credit cards. I would still think you’re only ‘on holiday’ if you get on a plane and tick off a huge to-do list in your time on foreign soil.

How grateful I am that I didn’t just wake up to real holidays and how to spend a weekend well at the age of 70 and newly retired… And how wonderful to feel that weekends can be long enough if you fill it with lots of empty gaps and deep pockets of sunshine.

Happy Sunday-ing!

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2 responses to “Pockets of sunshine

  1. So, you’re from Singapore originally! I lived there for about 4 and a half months last year. Fun place, LOVED the food, can’t wait till I can go back for more!

    My family was much the same with respect to holidays when I was growing up, but these days I really relish staying in a place and taking it easy, noticing the little details, sitting in a cafe for hours, talking with people, just enjoying. It’s really satisfying, isn’t it ;)

  2. That is very cool. Yes… can’t complain about the food selection there indeed!

    And yep – details, people, cafes – especially Wellington cafes – are superb!!

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