Travel journalist, broadcaster and author, Sarah Tucker, has a new book out: The A to Zen of Travel. “I decided to write The A to Zen of Travel because I wanted to show how travel - taking the right journey in the right way - can help you with offloading emotional baggage and to dispel the myths of an industry that is known in the business as 'the perfume counter' - because travel writers make everything 'smell' much nicer than it is,” says Sarah. Here Sarah shares a few tips on ridding yourself of emotional baggage with Just About Travel readers
Anxious, depressed, lonely, heartbroken, grief stricken, tired, lacking in focus, sad, unbalanced, hateful, jealous, envious, greedy, self-obsessed, lazy, vain, impatient, vengeful? Or all of the above?
Stand back from the emotion and look at it as though it doesn’t belong to you. As though you have the feeling in your hand and want to study it rather than feel it. Take this ‘feeling’ with you on your journey and leave it there. Let it go there. And come back with less emotional baggage than you went. And PS: don’t pick up anyone elses’ either.
ANXIOUS? GO FOR – trekking and adventure holidays, holidays with a guide with a small group or one on one. Can be anywhere. Hot or cold climate irrelevant. Outdoor and wilderness holidays. AVOID – holidays with the family or friends you want/feel need to impress, all inclusive, cruises because they don’t confront the issue – they allow you to ignore it.
DEPRESSED? GO FOR – wilderness, outdoor adventure, white water rafting, holidays that present a physical challenge and release. Ideally warm but not hot climate. Go by self but within a group. Ranching holidays (being around horses is known to alleviate depression and other emotional negativity). AVOID – family holidays and holidays with friends, cruises, all inclusive as they allow you too much thinking time and you will be prone to deal with their issues rather than your own if travelling with family and friends.
LONELY? GO FOR – adventure trekking, but ones that start at one point and end at another (do not go on one where you are going in a ‘circle’ – ie end up where you started – this is psychologically not good). Cold or warm climate – not hot. In a group no smaller than four no larger than 10. AVOID – city breaks as you are always most lonely in a crowd and with someone you don’t love. There is no exception to this rule.
HEARTBROKEN? GO FOR – high adventure or high culture as in dramatically different culture (eg China). Europe is not sufficiently different and distracting. Hot or cold climate. AVOID – purpose built ‘singles holidays'. Heartbreak should be distracted not compounded, by stating the obvious. European breaks. City breaks.
GRIEF-STRICKEN? GO FOR – adventure and wilderness holidays – the more wild and dramatic the better. The landscape will literally ‘absorb’ the emotion. (eg Yukon, Australian outback, genuine rather than cultivated wilderness – ie National Parks no good other than in States and Canada where ‘park’ is wilderness). Climate irrelevant. Small groups. Recommended guide. AVOID holidays which focus on WWI and WWII history or any war for that matter. Anything that smacks of ‘loss’. No war memorials!
ANGRY? GO FOR – Mountain climbing, white water rafting, Indiana Jones type adventure. No frills. OK, only on the last day as a reward if you must. Ranching holidays rather than riding holidays. Ideally cool to cold climate. AVOID – luxury holidays, all inclusive, cruises too much thinking time and feeling of enclosure – either because of geography (stuck on ship), or need to make the most of the ‘value for money’ element of the break – ie all inclusive – must eat as much as possible; or luxury – must take full advantage of what is on offer within the ‘deal’.
TIRED? GO FOR – wilderness journeys, small groups, or ideally one on one. Travel with your teenager if you have one. Any type of climate. AVOID Cruises, self catering, luxury, camping, family holidays. family holidays add to the fatigue. Ditto self catering. Luxury holidays and cruising don’t allow you to work through it, they merely allow the ‘tiredness’ to be more sustainable. (Ie they don’t deal with the cause just the symptom and its only temporary).
LACKING FOCUS?GO FOR – three day short break cultural trips to high impact culture cities (Vienna, Venice, St Petersburg, New York, Barcelona, Prague for example). Organise one on one guide for three days. Learning to sail holidays. Holidays with your teenager. Cool to warm climate – not extremes. AVOID – all inclusive, luxury holidays, cruises as there are few distractions to challenge the issue. Family holidays.
SAD? GO FOR – paragliding, sky diving, anything to do with flying (in a plane doesn’t count). Trips with one on one guides. Outdoor walking, cycling, riding. Ranching holidays in Canada – genuine ranches rather than the ‘cosmetic’. Climate irrelevant – but ideally ‘bright’ (ie bright winter light or Spring light). AVOID – city breaks, self catering holidays, single holidays as cities create a sense of loneliness, self catering holidays allow too much thinking time, ditto singles holidays.
HATEFUL? GO FOR – holidays that require lots of physical energy – high adventure, white water, mountaineering, kayaking, ranching, holidays with animals – not looking at them – working with them and helping them. Cold to cool climates. AVOID – Luxury holidays, self-catering, hotel holidays, family holidays, self catering. Romantic breaks. Staying away from other people, wilderness holidays absorb the hate – other people will reflect it.
JEALOUS GO FOR - wilderness holidays, walking holidays anywhere, small groups or one on one with a guide who is passionate about what they know as well as knowledgeable. Places where the obvious wealth is obscene – nothing like force-feeding someone with a sweet tooth, chocolate for days on end. Cool climates. AVOID – back packing holidays. They will make you think of what you could have had. You will have too much ‘thinking time’.
ENVIOUS? GO FOR – back packing, simple trekking (basic no luxury), train journeys, cycling, climbing, hiking but with a mission at the end of it – ie you are doing it for charity that will help someone somewhere in the world. Ie your journey is for a greater good, not just yours. Cool climates. AVOID– Cruising, luxury, camping, family, self catering. Too much time to think and too much that may be related to directly what you are envious about.
GREEDY/SELF OBSESSED? GO FOR - any holiday where there is a need for speed and preferably you are doing it for charity and not just yourself. Rally car holidays, open top journeys through USA, RV journey in Canada, dune buggy journeys in desert, outback journeys in Australia, any form of holiday where a ‘race’ is involved in some way. Cool to warm climates. AVOID – all inclusive and cruises. Anything that resembles any form of rambling and slow paced holiday. Health farm holidays, or anything akin to it. All inclusive and cruises there’s as much food as you can eat all the time even if you don’t want it. And health farm holidays increase the craving for food rather than decrease it. Slow paced holidays will allow more time to eat.
LAZY? GO FOR – third world country adventure, wilderness adventure, mountaineering, volunteering. Cold to cool climates. AVOID – luxury holidays and all inclusive. Everyone does everything for you on these types of holiday. They cater for and nurture sloth and laziness.
VAIN? GO FOR – race journeys (ie some form or challenge to complete), white water, ranching (but as a helper/wrangler), wilderness journeys but on a mission and where you need to rough it and be part of a team. Hot or cold climate. AVOID – Monte Carlo, Dubai, Las Vegas, Milan, anywhere where people are self obsessed and not self aware.
IMPATIENT?GO FOR - wilderness adventure, learn to sail holidays, white water rafting, mountaineering, third world country expeditions. Hot or cold climates. AVOID – Luxury holidays, cruising. Luxury holidays everything is pampered for, ditto cruising, there is no element of DIY.
VENGEFUL? GO FOR – wilderness adventures where there is a ‘captain my captain’ of a guide (ie Croc Dundee and Indiana Jones – substance as well as style – must have both). Ranching holidays as a wrangler. Cold to cool climates. AVOID – holidays with families or friends, or self catering, cruising or luxury which allow too much thinking time. And families and friends may encourage vengeful thoughts rather than alleviate them – albeit unintentionally.
Want to know why these suggestions work? Check out the book. TheKindle edition (£4.99) is available to buy now on Amazon. The paperback will be published early July 2014