I am taking my first holiday in 4 years!!
I know, you just want to slap me in the face, don’t you? Haven’t I bragged about how I spent 6 months touring Mexico and the US on a motorcycle in 2011, how I visited all Europe last summer for another 6 months, and just came back from 3 months in Spain and Morocco? Well, that was traveling, not a holiday. Traveling is intense. You wake up early in the morning, pack your stuff, get on the bike, visit places, take pictures, find a place to eat, a place to stay the night, unpack your things, take a shower, deal with your online banking/emails/investments and crash exhausted into bed. After a few weeks, you maybe get a day off, but you still want to see as much as you can while you are there, and end up going back home more tired than when you left.
During those 6 months trips, we took a few days just to rest. For example when we drove from Guatemala to Seattle, the weather was really cold, in spite of being early May, so we stopped for five days in Lake Tahoe and just did nothing for five days. But I wouldn’t call it a holiday. Yes, we did go around the lake, hiked a bit, visited some cool places. But when we would go back to the hotel, BF would work on the bike, check it out, oil the chain, repack our things, and I would spend time online looking for the next destination, booking hotels, reading reviews… We were supposed to push North to Alaska but the weather was really bad, so I started looking up ferries and cruises instead, so we could still go, and avoid freezing ourselves while riding. We ended up crossing the US to NYC instead, and the weather got much warmer, but what I am getting at is those days were spent planning and shopping for stuff we needed, not just lounging by the chimney with a good book.
Another thing that doesn’t make me feel like I am on holiday (even if I live by the beach, somewhere people actually pay us money to come spend THEIR holidays!) is the computer. I have my computer with me all the time, check emails at least once a day, then there is the blogging, the rents, the investments to supervise… I never really take a break. While the pace is rarely intense, it never fully stops. So it is time for a REAL holiday.
We are going to Belize!!
BF, his sister and boyfriend and I. Just the four of us, between Christmas and New Year. It started out because I got a booking from Airbnb and some people rented our full house for a few days. We could have gone to BF’s ranch, a couple of hours drive away, but we thought we would make a real trip out of it. I know mainland Belize and have been there a few times, but never to the islands so I am pretty excited to be going! And when you live four hours away from the world’s second biggest reef barrier and have never been there, it is a bit of a shame. I took my diving certifications in Honduras, but it looks like Belize has some even more amazing reefs.
We almost canceled the trip, as we booked it late and most hotels were packed full, or wanted us to book for at least 7 days, but eventually I found a nice guest house walking distance from the beach to accommodate us.
I think I will not take my laptop with me, which is the equivalent for those of you who are parents of leaving your 3 days old newborn at home and jetting off to Cancún. Yes, I am addicted. I don’t really need to get online, and often spend 24-36 hours without internet access, but I like to be able to write whenever I get a good idea, or to watch a series at night before I go to bed. I am an introvert and I need my alone time. If we are going to be with another couple all day, as sweet as they are, I like to unwind on my own, and my computer is generally my go to place. That is also where I keep a ton of ebooks, but those I may transfer to my iPod. The iPod made the cut because it is my main camera at the moment, looks like my big camera got moldy while we left for Europe and I didn’t use it for a few months, so I need the iPod but won’t use it for anything more than pictures and book. Oh, and music for my runs. No Sudoku, no connecting to the hotel’s wifi.
It will be hard because the hotel does have wifi. When it isn’t there you just make do without but when it is there, one click away, it is tough, at least for me. What do you think, can you go unwired in a wired place?
Blog-wise, it just requires a little organization, scheduling a few posts and having my VA handle the rest.
Can I do it?
When you are used to bringing your “work” to a non working environment, like right now when I am typing this post sitting on my bed, it is hard to dissociate work and play. Again, sorry to sound like a spoiled brat, but that is the reality. Enjoying the day has always been the priority, but during idle time, I would generally open the computer and do something on it. In Belize, the plan is to do nothing. Maybe some diving, some snorkeling, to eat well, to relax… We are going to Caye Caulker (food and activity recommendations are most welcome!), which is a very small island. You can visit most of it simply walking around. When we have been visiting similar destinations, we have always stayed pretty active. In Santorini, we explored the whole island, took the bike to almost every beach, I don’t think we swam more than once in the sea. So let’s see if we can sit on the beach and sip cocktails all day, and if we go back more energized!
What about you, can you take a one week holiday in an all-inclusive and not get itchy? When did you last take a real holiday away from it all?
This post was featured on the Aspiring Blogger, Control your Cash, thank you!
FI Pilgrim says
That’s awesome Pauline, hope you enjoy the digital detox! My smartphone is the equivalent of your laptop, I think. Always just a pocket away.
My company has recently started a sabbatical program, encouraging this exact “detox” for employees who have been with the company for more than 7 years. One month’s paid time off, and $1k to spend on travel. We are not allowed to have any contact with the office, and the computer stays there until we return. Mine’s coming up in April, and it’s going to be weird. Obviously I’m looking forward to it though!
wow that is a really cool initiative! I was always happy to forget about the office when on holiday but it is just emails that give me fear of missing out a big news. My family is away so you never know when they decide to have a kid or a heart attack…
DC @ Young Adult Money says
Oh man I would LOVE to go to Belize! It’s my wife’s favorite place to vacation (besides maybe Hawaii). I went on a cruise last February and only had internet access for about 5-10 minutes a day. I had Peter from Bible Money Matters keep an eye on the blog and had various other people checking on other things (like our basement rental, our cat, etc.). THAT was a true vacation!
5 minutes a day, that has to be even worse than nothing at all, if you don’t have time to finish. Cruises have crazy high internet prices but if you’re hooked you can still connect on the main land. Not the point of a cruise though.
I felt like that on our honeymoon in Hong Kong I had a week off but man was my fingers itchy. I ended up working on one of the days but still the wife didn’t like it. Have fun on your trip.
working on a honeymoon, now you may be more addicted than I am!
Dee @ Color Me Frugal says
That sounds like an awesome holiday! I do have to admit that it has become harder for me to take true holidays with WiFi access so prevalent- I am usually connected in some way. We are planning a vacation in February to a place that I don’t think has WiFi, so that will be a great way to force myself to disconnect for a few days!
I generally disconnect over the weekend and start back rested on Monday. But then people have been complaining they can’t get in touch, so I have started to connect on weekends. Not good! Hope you manage to really disconnect during your holiday.
Have a great time in Belize! I think I could make it without a computer for a week, but it would be pretty hard 🙂 I think you’re right to leave your computer behind, that’s about the only way to guarantee that you won’t be tempted 🙂
exactly, don’t stack the cupboards with candy if you’re dieting!
Matt Becker says
When we went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, we met some people who had just come from Belize and LOVED it. You guys are in for a great trip! We were completely disconnected from the internet for our 7 days in Costa Rica, but we had our phone to check in on our son, who was staying with my parents. I did a similar thing on a week-long trip down to Florida two summers ago. I still used the internet, but I was completely unplugged from anything work-related. It is really nice to take a REAL break from time to time.
it is great to get away from it all. I still get itchy after a few days. FOMO 100%. But over Christmas and NY, I am sure not much will happen anyway.
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
Wow, Belize! I have never been but that photo looks amazing. Sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve not done a digital detox in years. The last one was a two day detox (though it wasn’t REALLY a detox since I had my phone and checked my email regularly) when I was in Oregon with my fiance.
I like having the phone or ipod to just check emails, I am completely useless with thumbing things on the keypad so it really limits the time online.
Merry Christmas, Pauline
Have a blast and do not forget to update the snaps.
Thanks Peter, have a good one too!
John S @ Frugal Rules says
That’s awesome Pauline! I’ve always wanted to go to Belize, so I’m a bit jealous. 🙂 It has been a while since we took a true vacation, and will be doing that next month when we go to Vegas for five days. I really can’t wait and am seriously even considering leaving my phone at home, that way I can’t work on anything.
Just put the phone on flight mode so you can still check on the kids!
That is a gorgeous picture! Have fun and don’t forget to post pictures!
This is blue hole a super cool diving spot. Will do!
Done by Forty says
That sounds like a great trip. The closest thing I get to what you’re describing is my Appalachian Trail section hike we do every year. It’s not exactly sitting by the fire with a good book, but I do completely unplug and remove myself from distractions.
I imagine it is a great break away from it all. I miss hiking, haven’t done that in a while.
Every time I go to another country I am pretty much away from the web. It doesn’t bother me all that much. My wife will check in maybe once a day just to let our family know we are ok. It is kind of nice, but when I get back I feel like I am totally out of the loop.
I have been to Belize before and it is really nice. It is one of the few “tropical” locations my wife would consider moving to (we aren’t really tropical folk).
Where did you go? I just know mainland Belize and don’t like it that much, but I’ve heard fabulous things about the Cayes. We are off to San Pedro. I read a few blogs about people living there for a while, I’d get bored on an island so much time, the internet is crazy slow, imported goods are really expensive… Mexico offers much more convenience with a similar setting. There is the whole Caribbean vibe you don’t get in Mexico though.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Enjoy! I was on vacation for three weeks and couldn’t stop checking my laptop. It really is like leaving a baby.
I know, I wonder how people do it with several kids and an online life.
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says
Good for you, Pauline! Who cares if you just came back from trip? I’m glad you’re treating yourself right. You worked very hard to get to this point where you can do things like this, so if you don’t – what was the point? Right? I’m 50/50 when it comes to shutting off. Sometimes I’m great – don’t even think about work. Other times I’m looking for a wi-fi connection. Enjoy your holiday, Pauline! I expect to see some gorgeous pictures of the reefs. 🙂
Mrs. Snarkfinance says
Wow! That sounds amazing! I’m only 4’11” do you think I could fit in your suitcase? Any who… the digital detox sounds like it may be a challenge at first but I think once I got used to it I would love it. I think it would be nice to turn it all of for a while for a real mental break and holiday. Hope you have fun.
Thank you! We are driving there from Guatemala so no need to play contortionist 🙂
I like your distinction between traveling and having a holiday. I hope you enjoy it! I think it’s important to unplug once in a while. I’m also an introvert, and I would need to unwind alone, too. Books are a great idea for that. Technically, it wasn’t a “holiday” in the truest sense, but when I last visited my parents for a week, I didn’t really go online or pressure myself to check on things. I’d love to actually go somewhere beautiful and unrelated to family next year.
I love books but prefer to read in English or French, so I am left downloading them.. and using the laptop to read!
Hi Pauline, my answer will be a point blank ‘no’. I have not been without my computer (or equivalent) for quite a few years now. I would love to have a go, though. In fact, I was thinking that I’d love to go to a retreat somewhere.
You just gave me a new business idea “digital rehab” haha. I would have a hard time unplugging if it weren’t planned. Like today my car broke so I was all over the places and spent 36 hours without internet but that was involuntary so I have a big log of things to do. When planned, everything should be taken care of.
This is not a bad idea, actually! Combine it with something around slimming and fitness and you have a great winner :).
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
That sounds fun! The last holiday I’ve taken was about 5 years ago when I went to Costa Rica.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
oh crap wait. Sorry I have a nasty cold. It actually was two years ago to the big island of hawaii.
Nice! was that fully unplugged from the online world?
Enjoy!!!! You deserve it!
(It annoyed me ever so slightly when people would ask me “So, how was your holiday?” ARRRGH. For all the reasons you mention.)
Aaaargh. Let them plan a 7 day holiday and ask them how many hours they “not worked” on it.
Belize is certainly on my list of places to visit. We are not good beach sitters. Maybe for a day, but exploring and seeing lots of stuff is our holiday. As far as no computer, maybe but it would be hard. I guess having a VA makes it easier. Either way, that sounds like an amazing trip and I love that you have made your life so that you can travel hard core or laid back almost whenever you want.
Good for your Pauline! I think a digital detox will be very refreshing! I am disgusted by the amount of time I spend staring at a computer screen!
Janine @ MoneySmartGuides says
Forget about everything here!!! It will all be here when you get back! Enjoy!
wow i never even heard of “Belize” before now, but from the looks of it’s positioning on the map, isn’t it winter there too ??
i say forget your ipod, listen to the local music, get a cultural local book, read and learn a new culture for a week,
don’t watch a serie at night or play sudoku, attend a traditional event night or something, learn a new rain dance.
it’s hard to imagine travelling thousands of miles on a vacation to listen to the same music, eat the same food watch the same series just in a different room!
Best wishes and Happy holiday!!
HAHAHAHAHA!!!! This killed me! Good for you just coming out and making clear the differences in traveling and relaxing. If I told most people I know that I was going on holiday so soon after trekking Spain and Morocco, they’d blow their stack, but I’d also be unable to care less…
Ryan @ Impersonal Finance says
Awesome! It sounds like you’re going to have a great time. I’ll be doing a digital detox this holiday too (although not as long, and not in nearly a nice locale) as you. Have fun!
Emily @ evolvingPF says
Good luck with the detox – that sounds great!! I went to Belize in 2010 and it was a wonderful trip. Enjoy!
Levi @ Wealthnote says
Sounds like it will be a great trip and the perfect time to get some actually relaxation in. I am thinking it is about time for a digital detox. I spend all day on the computer at work and then come home to work on my blog. It would be a nice rest for my eyes if I spent a week no looking at a computer screen.
Have fun! You guys going scuba diving? If so, let us know how diving in the hole is!
I went without a laptop for 3 weeks this summer in Europe. It felt great!
Laura @ RichmondSavers.com says
Sounds like an awesome trip and I hope you have fun and enjoy it! I like the idea of a “digital detox.” I think you’d come back really refreshed if you were to leave the laptop at home 🙂
Erin @ My Alternate Life says
Sounds awesome, Pauline! I’d love to go to Belize!
Enjoy your “digital detox”. I’m totally going to do one of those…some day 🙂