Thursday, 15 September 2011

Holidays - don't you just love them.

Well, I do - love holidays. And I make a distinction between holidays and travelling. My book is about travelling. This week I'm on holiday. (Well, I'm not actually on holiday as I write this - but I'm drafting it at home so that I can spend my holiday doing, well holiday things. But if I can pretend I'm away, I'm sure you can.)

I'm in Devon. Which is not far, and not hugely different from Wiltshire - except Devon has the sea, and the moor, and cream teas. I've not come here for difference; rather to be away from my own washing up, the grass that needs cutting, remembering which week they collect the recycling. I need an interruption to those realities.

For the joy of holidays, for me, lies in its being just that - an interruption. When I'm at home my days have a rhythm. I live alone and so the rhythm is mine to control. I don't have to think about the shape of days. I can even get a little tetchy if there are major challenges to that rhythm. But comfortable rhythms can lead to complacency.

And so I come on holiday. To surprise myself by doing things differently. I might take a boat trip up the Dart. I might tramp across the moor and pretend to be a brigand. (I am alone; nobody will know.)  I might eat a cream tea at coffee-time. I will eat unexpected food, at unexpected times. I will not listen to The Archers, nor organise my evenings to watch the News. I will ask myself new questions.

(Not so different from travelling, then? Yes - it is very different. Travelling is an expedition, and requires significantly more planning. It needs me to interact with my surroundings all the time if I am to keep myself safe, meet great people, catch the right bus. And it doesn't stop at the end of a week.)

But how much of an interruption will this week be to the writing? I can't imagine a day of writing nothing. Of keeping all those words locked away. So I'll write - I expect my journal to be the dumping ground for far more sentences than it handles at home. And I shall read, of course. So - you are saying - this holiday is no interruption to the writing. Surely it's like taking your work away with you? But writing doesn't feel like work. It feels like breathing. I can no more stop writing than I can will my heart not to pump. I am even ready for the holiday to throw up short story ideas, thoughts for this blog, or even snippets of inspiration that will ferment for a while until I find the right home for them.

Why do you go on holiday? What do you hope to find there? And does being away tilt your world at all?


  1. Being in Devon right now sounds lovely - I'd like to get back there.

    I have different reasons for holidays. Sometimes it's just a break. As you said, "an interruption". Sometimes it's to explore new places, which is still an interruption, just a more active one. Sometimes it's to get some dedicated time to write.

    Hope you enjoy your holiday :).

  2. A holiday for me is doing something different - though often it's doing the same things in a different place!

  3. I've done some travelling in the past, and agree it has a completely different feel to a holiday. Even though I saw some fantastic places, sometimes it felt like quite hard work - lugging my backpack around everywhere, finding places to stay, not to mention trying to adjust to a different culture on my own.

    Holidays on the other hand tend to be a far more relaxing business. I'm not a lying in the beach type though, so tend to enjoy exploring new places. These places don't necessarily have to be vibrant cities - one of the most enjoyable recent holidays involved a week-long stay on the Isle of Skye over Christmas. No mobile phone reception or internet connection in the cottage, star-lit night sky, sheep wandering past the window - bliss!

  4. Thank you all - seems there are many of us who need change from time to time, to refresh ourselves.

    And, Helen - I agree entirely - travelling is completely different from having a holiday. (My book - when it emerges - is about travelling!)

  5. Hope you're having a good time. You know how jealous I am! Thanks for popping by my blog this week! :)

  6. Thanks, Talli, and yes - I'm having a great time.

  7. Ooohh - I wish! I should like to travel but the idea of going on holiday sounds good too. It is not going to happen any time soon but one of these days perhaps we will cross paths on the moor?

  8. Ah Cat - Moors are just the place for stories. If I were on Exmoor We could play Lorna Doone; there are beasts on Bodmin Moor - I was on Dartmoor yesterday - it's wild, even in the sunshine. When the clouds gather it's just the place for evil spirits and werewolves . . .

  9. Your holiday sounds perfect, I absolutely love Devon. I did chuckle at your comment about not having to remember which bins were due to be collected, that has me stumped every single week.

    I hope you come home feeling refreshed.

  10. Hi Rebecca - will be heading home too soon. But the weather has been kindish - I'm truly wind-blown, and have had plenty of fish and chips. Back to the bins, then . . .

  11. So refreshing I feel like I've had a miniature holiday just sat here reading!
    I've not been travelling and admit I find the idea of going alone quite daunting. This in itself is reason enough to do it. Pushing the boundaries of things we find a little out of our comfort zone has to be a good thing doesn't it?! For now though there are other wonders that have captivated my attention... like Helen's Christmas holiday to the Isle of Skye! It sounds divine. I can't think of a better way to just 'be'!