PARIS DIARY

How not to return from holiday feeling fat and depressed

Don’t be the horrible, obnoxious traveller.

 |  PARIS DIARY  |  5-minute read |   20-05-2017
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The last time I returned from holiday I was four kilos heavier, exhausted, had hardly read 23 pages of the four books and 12 magazines I had lugged, was covered in zits from all the midnight sweets I had gorged on and was barely speaking with my family.

As I arrived home grumpier than usual for all the above reasons, I craved for the insanely rejuvenating adventures I had had with my husband before he was my husband (or was it before we became parents?). I ached for the mad expeditions without my husband (before and after I had one). We still have some amazing holidays when everything and everyone miraculously click.

koelbd_052017123909.jpgBon voyage.

But I’m done leaving this to chance and divine intervention. If I’m taking time out and spending money, then I’m going to damn well make sure it works.

First rule — pen the rules. Before you board that flight or train, take five minutes where each member of the vacation crew voices his or her non-ludicrous holiday wish list. Don’t ask for private seaplanes and dancing with Rihanna on her yacht; unless she is actually your friend and in that case I’m coming too.

But by stating the impossible you might make it possible — like wanting to sleep in when you are travelling with a five-year-old sans nanny or grandparents. A simple agreement to alternate stealing breakfast up to the room for the other person will do the trick.

Steer clear of buffets. They are a great option for the child who loves to eat her pasta with rice sprinkled with jelly beans but as a vacationing, long-deprived adult it will be the death of you. I have nightmarish flashes from my last beach break of the 500 scoops of ice cream that I dunked, every evening for six days, under the chocolate fountain.

In my defence this was no ordinary fountain; it was a melting Lindt cascade and the flowing, dark liquid set just so on contact with the frozen homemade dollops of delight. This was obnoxious endless eating — long after the brain has said “I’m full” and the body has burst.

holidaybd_052017123309.jpgDon’t overpack.

It’s the age-old excuse — I’m on holiday. If you don’t want to come home fat and depressed, allow yourself one and only one buffet or cheat day where you go nuts, make yourself sick with debauchery and then for the rest of the trip feel the guilt and order only a single à la carte dish even if it’s dessert (it is a holiday!).

Research. Know where you’re going and make a quick must-do list. You can be spontaneous and go with the flow to do absolutely nothing, but at least you’ll know what you’re choosing to miss by refusing to leave the beach.

If you are a princess masquerading as a hippie, then zoom into the pictures of the hotel bed and read the fine print; don’t leave it to your partner because remember you’ve fooled him into thinking you are easier and less demanding than you actually are. This way if they don’t have 300 thread count Egyptian sheets, at least you will be prepared to rough it out.

Don’t overpack. No one changes their outfit four times a day. Take enough underwear and repeat everything else. You’re not repeating places or people except for the ones you’ve gone with and who cares about them anyway?

I always end up wearing the same two things with the same shoes despite carrying six pairs of pants, nine skirts, 18 shirts, 12 dresses (smart, casual and tart), five pairs of shoes and seven sweaters for six days. The problem is half the clothes don’t fit right (or maybe that’s after attacking the buffet) and who can be bothered to wear those pinching heels when you’re on your feet all day.

Devote half an afternoon to try on and pre-decide what you pack. Check the weather; summer is not the same everywhere. Nothing is more annoying than having a bag full of shorts when the wind chill factor makes it feel like five degrees outside. To travel lighter — pack and then remove at least two of everything. Repeat this as many times as you dare.

Do it. You will thank me when you’re not sifting through 125 things to decide what to wear. You know that Indian who travels with exploding suitcases that don’t fit in the hotel room and then buys or borrows two more for all the junk they’ve just shopped because I-must-own-everything-I-like is the only life they know? Don’t be that person. Excess is so 2016. Minimise your materialistic acquisitions to unclutter your life and become a more manageable, efficient, sleeker version of yourself.

Go offline. If this is too scary for you then you’re the person who needs to do it the most. Baby steps. Switch off all devices for one full day. 24 hours is nothing. You can do it. Play a board game, read a book, gossip, reconnect in person with the person in front of you.

Another baby step — take all the photos and selfies you want, just don’t post them till you are on the flight back. It will instantly make you less anxious and more present and I’m not even mentioning the lost hours you will reclaim.

Don’t be the horrible, obnoxious traveller demanding to be waited on hand and foot while treating everything with disrespect. There was a luxury villa in Thailand that refused to take our booking till we got my French husband to make the call. They weren’t being racist, they were protecting their property.

I have cringed enough times at how the entitled Indians (myself included) behave on holiday and everyone loses. Stop complaining and sending meals back because rest assured they will spit in your food.

Take a big sip of your margarita and remind yourself you are on holiday.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Also read: How a trip with a group of men proved to be an eye-opener

Writer

Koel Purie Rinchet Koel Purie Rinchet @koelscouch

Professional Attention Seeker. Currently loves and writes in Paris.

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