During the recent Covid pandemic one of the many questions I heard asked was, when can I take a holiday such as a Staycation or Vacation abroad? Once it was lawful to arrange a holiday, there was the daunting task of completing the relevant Covid tests and travel documentation. Subsequent talk was then about the chaos and time delays at airports, train stations and sea ports.
For me one of the joys of going on any holiday is the planning and the anticipation of visiting a place that is being booked. Once arrived at the chosen destination there is the delight of embracing the familiar or totally brand new surroundings and activities.
In an article by the Oxford Royal Academy A brief history of the English summer holiday it outlines the development of a holiday in five key stages: Holy-days and pilgrimages: The Grand Tour: Beside the seaside: International travel: Staycations!
The origin of the word holiday comes from Holy-day or Saints-day as shared in the Christian calendar, and was important in medieval life. Most of the Holy-days took place on a Sunday but included other festival times such as Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide. Taking a Sabbath rest in the Christian tradition is very important as it encourages believers to focus on worship to God and human friendship on a Sunday/Sabbath after a period of work, so as to experience spiritual and emotional refreshment. Rest helps to recalibrate body, mind and spirit from all the stresses and strains that have been encountered in a domestic and working week which will be different for each one of us.
Purpose and aims
At this moment in time think about what would be your priority when thinking about arranging a holiday?
Destination? Who you travel with? Activities? Price? Dates and timings? Other ……..…?
During a time of rest it is beneficial to try and slowdown from the fast pace of everyday living and take some time to have extended periods for sleep that will recharge our mental and physical batteries.
It is also important to enjoy taking a leisurely breakfast, dinner and evening meal and to stretch our legs during local walks. Any shared entertainment with family and friends that brings fun, joy, laughter and even frivolity is very much welcomed.
For many years a holiday represented a pilgrimage to a Holy place or, for the wealthy, taking a Grand Tour of Europe and being enthralled by new experiences that have influenced culture and architecture in the UK and beyond.
There has long been a tradition in some parts of the UK where companies would close down for a week or two and all the employees would travel to popular seaside towns such as Blackpool to enjoy a Holiday Week. Organized activities developed such as the traditional Donkey Ride, a Pleasure Beach, Bingo Sessions and Theatre Shows on the local pier or in the city centre. Recent holiday changes include weekend breaks to a nearby city or town enjoying the entertainment and the local culture and history.
New Buses and Coaches were made for people to travel on and Train Lines were introduced and expanded. Cruise Liners were built to travel to America, Australia, the Far East and Africa. Towns and countryside grew to accommodate Guest Houses providing Bed and Breakfast. Luxurious Hotels were established and amazing Camping and Caravanning sites were formed.
The oldest Package holiday was an excursion organized by Thomas Cook that included Tea, ham sandwiches and a brass band and was the beginning of mass tourism. In 1949 Horizon holidays were formed and later many post-war packages were organized to Spain. Today specialist holiday companies arrange Safari Trips, Archaeological Digs, Golfing and Cycling events. The chance to climb a mountain in summer and ski in winter and lots of other activities that appeal to the interests of certain groups.
Many people work to live and enjoy a break away. However, such experiences are not without their troubles and disappointments, for example delays at the airport, vehicles braking down, ships engines failing and trains crashing. We experience arguments with those we travel with and have to eat humble pie and say sorry. We get into debt trying to keep up with the Jones (our neighbours and friends) and their fabulous holidays. I am a great advocate of a mini holiday that can give equal excitement and rest over a shorter period of time.
What is the point of a holiday?
It is often said that after a busy holiday what we need most of all is another holiday! The benefit of any form of holiday may be found in three forms as outlined below:
Spiritual As the name suggests a Holy-Day is for spiritual rest and renewal. To stop and ease the spirit and to pray and express gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of life we are given. To meditate and contemplate and find spiritual nourishment from the Bible, other Holy Scriptures or Wisdom Literature that strengthens our spiritual life.
Physical On holiday we have an opportunity to recharge our physical batteries. When I worked as a Postman for a couple of years I remember a lovely man called Paddy who seemed to work every hour God gave him. When he retired at the age of 65 it was only a matter of six months before we were told that he had died and had been denied a well-deserved rest from his labours. It seemed that his body had been so exhausted over the hard years of working, that he wasn’t able to recover from an unexpected illness he incurred. It is often quoted that it is very important to take adequate times of rest after physical work, so that our bodies may recovery from whatever level of exhaustion it has encountered.
Emotional It is also important to rest our emotions and minds. Social media and all that we have to think about, plan and prepare does take its toil upon us. We may be resting physically but our minds and emotions can be racing ahead and expending lots of energy that makes us fatigued and emotionally exhausted. I remember speaking to someone who took pride in saying that they had never taken a sick day from work over a period of nine years. However through a series of events both at work and home the person became unwell emotionally and ended up having over a year off work whilst recovering from mental exhaustion.
So enjoy planning and looking forward to your next holiday or Holy-day. Give thanks for all the memories and moments from previous holidays and remember that we are body, mind and spirit and if we neglect one over another then it will create an imbalance in our health overall.
‘Encouragement for Daily Living’