Did You Choose the Wrong Holiday For YOU? Written by Dr Linda Berman.

Take a look at these images. Here are people on holiday. Yet these photographs depict activities that could not be more different from each other.




🔼Image:Tourists.Ignacio Ferre Pérez. Flickr


Which one appeals?

Four Holiday Myths:

1. Each of us wants a similar kind of holiday and has the same concept of what a holiday should be.

2. We all should relax, get on and enjoy ourselves.

3. Everyone loves holidays.

4. Nobody wants to be alone on holiday.

The Reality:

1. People vary in their choice of holiday.

The images above signify varying holiday expectations. Some like activity, climbing, hiking, touring, exploring cities.

Others like relative stasis, reading in the shade, sunbathing beside a pool.

For me, a holiday is about taking a book and going to a mountain and reading.” Sonam Kapoor

“My boyfriend thinks it’s crazy that I wear a different bikini every day on holiday.” Tamara Ecclestone

“April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees.” E. Y. Harburg

“When I go on holiday, I go to places that have animals I’m interested in.” Dominic Monaghan

2. Holidays may not always be relaxing or enjoyable.

Expectations of perfection often result in disappointment

Sometimes our internalised images are based on fantasies about childhood holidays now long gone. They have disappeared forever in the greyscale mists of time, frozen moments in fading albums. 

Perhaps some of us might return to such locations, only to discover that both they and the place itself are changed. We cannot recapture the past.


Image: Guernsey, 1955. Andrew Sweeney. Flickr.

Sometimes things might go wrong on holiday.

Being thrown together may result in arguments. These are less easy to avoid when there is no work or school. Sometimes arguments arise over each person wanting to do different things.

“I think holidays create so much pressure because people feel they should be having a good time. But you shouldn’t. ”
Craig Ferguson

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

 John Steinbeck

3. Some people do not like holidays.

Often they feel pressurised to go, which is a recipe for an unhappy holiday.

Some people cannot leave work behind and are constantly on mobile or laptop, stressed out.

You see them, pacing anxiously, mobile glued to their ear, gesticulating.  Those around them can feel resentful, or deprived.

“I’ve never lost that freelance mentality. You can’t take a holiday because you’re worried the work will dry up.” Charlie Brooker

“It came to him that he didn’t like holidays. . . . They bore down on you. Each one always ended up feeling like an exam . . .”
Lily King

Going on holiday with friends.

“Plenty of friendships are sustainable through dinners and lunches, but will not stand a week away. So be careful with whom you go on holiday.” Julian Fellowes

“I have found out there is no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”

— Mark Twain

Think before offering, or accepting, an invitation. It might sound great; the reality may be different. Imagine: you’re all having dinner together. Your friends drink loads, they’re on holiday after all, but you drink very little.

After the meal, they expect to split the bill equally. Do you swallow your feelings, or express them?

(How might you handle this?)

Alone- or together?

“Vacation time is the best time to do solitude because you could just take two weeks of it or one week of it and just isolate yourself. And when you isolate yourself, you can just begin to convert that time of vacation into any product you want.”
Sunday Adelaja

“I get a friend to travel with me… I need somebody to bring me back to who I am. It’s hard to be alone.” – Leonardo DiCaprio


Some people like to holiday alone. Others prefer to be with a partner, friend, family or group. Resolving this can be difficult, especially if there are different holiday preferences within a partnership.

Travel anxieties.

There are many anxieties which beset travellers; some suffer severely, and they might seek help, others less so.

Here are some common ones:

Fear of leaving home. ( Bursts, burglars.)

Fear of travelling alone, getting ill, being pickpocketed, scammed.

Accommodation: will it be comfortable, with wifi, phone signal?

Airports: missing plane, delays, crowds, cancellations. Fear of flying or terrorist attacks.

Fear of the unknown – language difficulties, strange places, cultures, different food and water, getting lost.

Work : fear of losing your job or business.

Money worries.

How will I look in a swimsuit? Do I have the ‘right’ clothes?

Reluctance about coming home: back to work. 

All these concerns are reminiscent, in a lighthearted way, of Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon Vacation experience, when everything went wrong. High hopes led to several disasters, amusingly depicted in this American film classic.

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, Anthony Michael Hall, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Dana Barron, 1983

Imagens Portal SESCSP Follow MSDNALA EC001 NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, Anthony Michael Hall, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Dana Barron, 1983. Flickr.

Alain de Botton, in his beautifully written book The Art of Travel decided on impulse to go to Barbados after receiving a holiday brochure with a beach image inside.


                                       Image: Holiday Brochure. Flickr.www.holidaygems.co.uk/ 

Yet the experience did not match his expectations. Everything was as beautiful as the image. However:

“A momentous but until then overlooked fact was making its first appearance: that I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island.” Alain de Botton.



He had overlooked the fact that he would be beset by worries; he would take all these with him.

He suggests “psychotherapeutic travel agencies” as a solution, matching holidays with our psychological needs.

So Why Do We Ever Go On Holiday? 

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.”– Charles Horton Cooley

Despite anxieties, people still travel. The attractions override most concerns.

We cannot totally avoid problems that might occur. However, some of the issues can be discussed openly beforehand.

Share fears and preferences before you go….

There is much helpful psychological advice  about achieving relaxation on holiday.

Research indicates that holidays aid good health, relieving stress and lengthening life.

The Joys of Holidays.

We are away from work, and perhaps family, or we have time to bond.

We can explore new places and cuisines, learn about other cultures.

We have time to think, relax, be creative.

We can see art, beautiful scenery and many wondrous sights.

We can photograph fields of sunflowers, twisted olive trees, cracked old plaster….

……and so much more!


“Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?” – Walt Whitman



                  Orchard in Blossom near Arles, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888



Taormina, Sicily.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s