What I learned from my one month vacation

Posted April 2018

You may be wondering what I learned from my one month vacation…

Here is the answer.

As I embarked on this month journey traveling to two new countries-Australia and Indonesia-, I realized I hadn’t had this much time to myself since … I started working a summer job at 13 years old! Looking back, I am surprised at how much I learned about myself from my one-month vacation on the road…

I like adventure but I also need a restful environment. I’m not sure if this started happening when I started working as a corporate flight attendant, but I now need a clean, quiet, comfortable hotel room (with AC, comfy bed and sheets) to rest and fully recharge. I can go a few nights without it but after that, I turn into an angry monster. I need my beauty sleep! It’s definitely something I’ve learned to prioritize in this field of work but I didn’t realize I also need it when I’m on vacation!

I like being a nomad, for a short time. Yes, I understand that means I don’t really like being a nomad… but hear me out. I’m already a part-time nomad as a corporate flight attendant, constantly changing hotels, cities, and countries. As a vacationer, I like to explore as many areas as I can, but I learned on this trip that I like to have one base and leave from there to go explore… it gives me a false feeling of being grounded, which is reassuring. In a way, it makes me feel like it’s my home away from home.

I value time with locals and prefer it to spending time with fellow travelers. One of the highlights of my time on the road was chatting with Ketut, my driver in Ubud. I fully took advantage of our time together and asked him all the questions I could about the culture, rites, and rituals. I asked him to bring me to local restaurants and order local food so that I could taste the real, Balinese food.

I don’t do well in a hot and humid climate, for a long period of time, with no way to cool myself down. Throughout my 4 weeks in Australia and Indonesia, I thought I was going to die a few times because of the weather. I partially blame it on my Canadian+Irish genes, but the humidity and heat got to my body… and without a COLD pool or a COLD shower or the AC on HIGH, I couldn’t bring my body temperature down. (I’m insisting here on COLD because most showers I took were warm -even if it was set to the coldest temperature- and pools were never cold enough!)

It’s very easy to travel these days. With Google maps (and all its derivatives), Instagram (yes I use it for research), WhatsApp, blogs, credit cards, atm machines, Uber and Apple pay, the world is at the tip of your fingers. I cannot believe how easy it was to get around and plan activities even if I didn’t speak the local language (in Bali).

I don’t get bored. This is something I realized early on in my Flight attendant career, but it was confirmed on this trip. I just don’t get bored. I keep myself constantly busy to a point where I also need to schedule downtime for myself to rest and recover. I am very curious, and that drives my every move.

I enjoy being alone. I remember someone telling me, ‘Enjoy and appreciate moments when you are alone because once you have a family it will never happen again’.  It really stuck with me and I am so grateful and almost crave ‘me time’. Don’t get me wrong, I love being surrounded by friends and family, but I am also happy when I’m alone, fully immersed in my environment (and my thoughts).

A travel buddy makes everything easier. I know what you’re thinking, I just said I enjoy being alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to travel with a friend. It’s actually wonderful to have some to share your meals with, to explore temples and mountains and rice fields and also just to save you a spot on the long ferry between islands.

I need to learn how to pack lighter. I’ve become better at it because of my current job but I believe I once traumatized an aunt in Dublin with my 2 large suitcases. Even if I was only traveling with a backpack, it was full from the start. Big mistake and I knew it, but I couldn’t figure out what I was bringing too much of. In retrospect, I brought too many tops, shorts, and fancy dresses. When it’s that hot, you want the least amount of clothes on, so light dresses usually win! The only plus side to overpacking is I was less tempted to buy clothing since I was already restricted on space. I did leave a few old things behind during the trip to make space for a few new small items.

A month vacation on the road is tiring! The first thing people tell me is ‘ wow it must have been so relaxing’… uh no actually it was quite tiring changing cities every few days! You don’t realize it at first but this type of traveling takes a toll on your body as you are constantly stimulated and challenged by new elements.

There is so much more I want to do and see. I feel like that month vacation was the starter course… and I missed out on the rest of the meal. Once you are on that side of the world, there are so many more countries to explore: New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and much more!

So, when’s my next month off? (never)

Related posts: Brisbane, Byron Bay, Federal, Bangalow, Newrybar, Sunshine CoastGold Coast, Seminyak (Bali), Canggu (Bali), Ubud (Bali), Outskirts of Ubud (Bali), Nusa Lembongan, Nusa CeninganGili Trawangan and Sanur (Bali).

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