Sometimes travel can feel like ticking a box of every experience in the travel guide, rushing from one landmark to another and collapsing at the end of the day. But there’s another way to plan your holidays, and it’s all about zooming in and travelling with focus.
What does it mean to travel with focus?
Time is short, and when we're older many of us want to be more strategic about how we spend our time. Retirement living is also more expensive, so if we do invest in travel, we want to get the most out of the experience. If you’re currently easing into a lock-and-leave lifestyle with plans to holiday, read on for some ideas about making it count.
One option some holiday-makers now choose is to narrow their focus. So rather than traipsing through every temple in Chiang Mai or every museum in London, they are a little more discerning. They visit only temples with jade Buddhas, or only a couple of museums about design – in London, this might mean the V&A, the Design Museum and the Museum of the Home.
Focussing in this way can also mean you see things you wouldn’t otherwise, because you’re not just ticking off the best-known attractions.
What kinds of things can I focus on?
Here are some ideas to help you hone your interests, and get you thinking about what your dream holiday might look like.
Take a foodie tour
Your dream food holiday might be a trip to Italy, taking a cookery class and a walking tour of markets, as well as researching the best restaurants for local food (which may not be the most expensive.) Or you could focus on a particular region’s cuisine, such as Northern Thailand, Southern India or Andalucia. Let your preferences decide for you (a tour of England’s best-loved country pubs, perhaps?) and make it your mission to find the hidden gems and local haunts.
Visit lavender fields in France
This is a fragrant journey for mid-summer when the lavender is in flower, and is a dreamy idea for anyone who finds the smell of lavender soothing. You’ll also visit some of the most beautiful regions in the south of France on your mission. Read this travel blog for a great list of places to stay.
Find an area’s ancient monuments
Many places have incredible ancient ruins to discover. On Sardinia, for example, there are some 7,000 ancient megalithic structures called nuraghe, dotted all over the island, that are not found anywhere else in the world. Many of the sites are free for you to discover and wander through on your own; here is a list of ten that are worth visiting.
Go on an artist’s pilgrimage
Planning a trip around an artist or style you love is another wonderful way to see a place. For example, you might research the Art Deco architecture of a particular city and map out an itinerary that covers landmark buildings as well as restaurants, cafés and hotels. A trip to Barcelona to see the architecture of Gaudí is a visual feast. Or or make your holiday all about Monet by seeing his paintings in Paris at the Musée Marmottan Monet followed by a day trip to visit the gardens at Giverny.
Visit just one place and go deep
Rather than trying to cover three or four cities in as many weeks, rent an apartment and relax. Visit the local bookshop or library, swim at the town pool and buy flowers and food at the local market. Of course you can still see the tourist sights, but you can also take time to simply live and breathe the place like its residents do. Often this makes for a more memorable holiday than trying to squeeze in as much as you can. (If you’re old enough to remember the film If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, you’ll understand what we mean!)
Go to Iceland for dark and moody travel
Iceland really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and while many people travel there in summer, winter is another experience entirely. If you like things dark and otherworldly there are Northern Lights to look for, and the annual Iceland Noir literary festival. And, of course, the Blue Lagoon will welcome you year round if it all gets too unsettling.
See the longest-running show in the world
Finally, mark your calendars for 2030, when you can see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. Held every ten years since 1634, this religious play is performed by the citizens of Oberammergau, and last year saw the 42nd instalment of a five-hour performance with more than 2,000 participants.
Less is more more
So said architect Mies van der Rohe, whose modernist architecture in France would make another wonderful theme for a journey. In short, holidays should be stimulating and enjoyable, not overwhelming. And never feel guilty for missing that museum, church or look out that everyone says you ‘should’ see.
Want to learn more about making the most of your next 30 years?
Retirement living can be the best time of your life.
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest. We have a great range of properties for the over 55s to help you do that with like-minded people in land lease communities and retirement villages.