In the last ten years, there has been a trend that is accentuated – if we think «holidays» we necessarily think: the plane, the distant destination, the photos on Instagram. There are people who know the countries of Southeast Asia better than they know France.
I have travelled a bit in my life. I spent a few years with a person who needed to go really far to feel happy. And what don’t we do if we love someone? I can tell you that on my side, I didn’t have to go that far to be really happy. Worse yet: the person in question never found his «happiness» sought… And meanwhile, we managed to leave a pretty big carbon footprint behind us.
Travel – a problem with our “ego”
Isn’t it the same for many people? The travel becomes a «gadget» that we buy to feel better, to boost our «ego»… And meanwhile the environmental costs are very high. Aviation is responsible for 2% of CO2 emissions (the same percentage as the pollution created by Germany) and 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. If we continue with the same growth, in 30 years, half of the world’s energy will go to touristic flights.
In fact, if you want to visit beautiful places, you don’t have to travel thousands of kilometers. If you want to rest and spend quality time, you don’t have to spend 10 hours on the plane. To believe that we will be better off if we are far away is to reverse the problem. If we do not feel well in our lives, the radical change in the landscape won’t change anything about it. The «local» holidays in «slow» version can give us much more personal enrichment than any «dream» destination.
The benefits of “slow” and “local” vacations:
1) Our brain will become creative.
Doing nothing is the art that each of us should master. We live in the world of performance. Even our vacation becomes a “mission to accomplish”. We don’t know how to stop. But it turns out that it’s when you “do nothing” that your brain is most active and creative. In 1998, Marcus Raichle, who conducts research on MRI, discovered that when people focus on their task and think about solutions in a very structured and “constructive ” way, their brain activity decreases rather than increases. (contrary to what one might expect). The most impressive thing is that once the research subjects were able to relax and do nothing, it was precisely the moment when their brain activated. This phenomenon has been called the “default brain mode.” When we let our brain rest, we activate its creative mode. And if we overload our brain with stimulations, we become counterproductive. Stopping also allows us to rediscover the priorities of our lives and better face the obstacles.
2) We create memories with perfume.
It’s a bit of the story of the Proust madeleine, but perfume is very important to create our memories. Spending a lot of time in a place makes that the perfume you smell there will print all the memories of what you have lived there. Then, in the future, it will be enough to smell the perfume, briefly, by accident, to be transported in our memories of this place. Personally, I almost feel that too many visual stimulations cut my sense of smell. It’s like my brain is using all its resources to analyze everything it sees and doesn’t have time to record the scents around me. I have no olfactory memories of a distant destination. An olfactory memory is a great ally against stress and anxiety attacks. Just find an essential oil with the perfume that reminds you of holidays, mix it with sweet almond oil (50 drops of essential oil for 50 ml of sweet almond oil) and apply it on the wrists when stress comes, its calming effect will surprise you.
3) We discover what does it mean to be together again.
We can spend our lives close to someone and never really be “together”. We don’t realize that sometimes in life we start to cross paths, we live in the same apartment and we don’t find time for our loved ones – because we always have bigger obligations. But nothing is more important than sharing moments with those who matter to us. Travelling far, where we have a lot to do, which we consider another “mission to accomplish” does not bring us closer either. Although it is difficult in everyday life to find time for each other, let’s do it during the holidays. Sometimes we travel just because we have lost the habit of being close and we prefer to spend holidays overloaded with events juwt to not be alone with one another. Holidays should be a time to bring us closer, to remind us to appreciate and love each other. And to remind us who we share our lifes with.
4) We learn to leave our “ego” behind us.
You’ll say, “Why don’t you do all these things listed above in Greece, for example”. Yes, of course, we can try to have a “slow” vacation elsewhere – but first we have to ask ourselves, “Why do I want to go there?” Why create a catastrophic carbon footprint? Very often it is the question of the ego. Being able to rest in Greece makes us feel «better» about ourselves. We compare ourselves to others – but all this does not make the holidays peaceful. The more we nourish the ego, the less we find inner peace. In addition, when we are in a destination considered as «paradise», we force ourselves to be always happy… since we are already so far away, since our holidays must be «ideal». If our significant other gets eaten by mosquitoes all night – and he will be cranky all day – in Greece, we risk blaming him for “ruining” our stay, which is supposed to be “ideal”… And if we are in a more accessible destination, we will let him take a nap during the day while we read a book. So, unfortunately, we will never really be relaxed spending a holiday in distant destinations, because our ego will prevent us from it.
What about you? And you are ready to spend a «slow» and «local» holiday? Do not hesitate to leave a comment.
This post is also available in: French