The end of a holiday evokes feelings of loss. (pic credit: Streetek)
Coming to the end of my holiday and, like any ending, it brings up feelings of loss, wistfulness; of wishing, perhaps, that I’d appreciated my time more: lived it more, felt it more, maybe. Perhaps I could have absorbed the beautiful countryside more enthusiastically, visited the sights more engagingly, and appreciated the reassuring sway and swagger of the boat more wholeheartedly.
As I sail to the end of my holiday, and reflect on just how productive I’ve been with my writing, thinking, creating and planning, I discover that holidays are brilliant for boosting creativity.
Writing in the August 2011 issue of The Psychologist, Christian Jarrett’s article Wish you were here? examines the psychology of holidays. He says that creativity can emerge when ‘unshackled from the constraints of work and stress’ – in spite of all the frustration that can occur when getting ready to go on holiday.
The only challenge is that this boost to creativity is only temporary, and the effect quickly fades once we return home and are swept back into the quotidian demands on our time in what’s called the ‘fade-out’ effect. Thankfully, however, scientists are working on how to extend that post-holiday glow.
I fully intend to extend mine once I get back home.
Three days into my boat trip on the Broads, and I’m reflecting on how quickly I adapt to new surroundings. It takes me three days, in fact.
What began as resistance to relaxing, complaints about the crampedness on board, and a feverish need to stay connected to the outside world via mobile and dongle, has transformed into the extent of my new world. Home is forgotten – as is work and ‘normal’ life – and I’m enjoying just being in the moment, watching the world pass by.
On holiday it takes three days to adjust. In a new job it takes about three months to learn the ropes and feel less of a new girl. And it takes about three weeks to let a new (good) habit kick in. When I took up writing Morning Pages, it was about three weeks in that I started to appreciate the value of them.
So, instead of resisting in future, perhaps I’ll just trust in the power of three.
I’m in the relaxed, peaceful surroundings of the Norfolk Broads, on a comfortable enough boat, enjoying calming scenery and invigorating fresh air, and taking advantage of precious early nights.
Except something happens to my inner world when all is calm outside: my creative imagination takes over in my dreams – and not just its benign aspects, either. In fact, I’ve noticed that when all my physical, mental and emotional needs are taken care of during the day, and I’ve got nothing to worry about at all, then all my fears creep out while I’m asleep.
I know I don’t appreciate things until I don’t have them any more – that’s human nature. But boy have I missed a room of my own since embarking on a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads.
Boating on the Broads
Before departing, I had imagined a serene journey along the river network of Norfolk, gliding past wildlife and other friendly ‘sailors’ with their jaunty hats and jovial waves, and plenty of time and space to think and write.
I was right about the first two, but wrong about the second. Not used to ‘camping’ or managing without wi-fi broadband, hot running water, and the ability to Continue reading →