The dream of achieving a sense of wellbeing on holiday and leaving all of your stresses behind once you depart can sometimes feel elusive. However, as travel enthusiast Nichola West from Globalmouse Travels explains, adopting a few simple ideas from across the Mediterranean can help you achieve a blissed out break with benefits that last long after you return home.
Getting away from it all is a real chance to clear your mind and re-evaluate your busy life at home. While it’s great to relax and take it easy, try shifting your comfort zone – however slightly – and you’ll feel some immediate benefits. For example, why not get up earlier on some days and take a stroll while the sun is rising and the air is cool? You’ll be amazed at how ready for the day you feel. Plan your walk to end at the local market and take your pick of the fresh regional produce on offer. I love picking up a rainbow of colours, from big yellow peppers to purple aubergines and plump red tomatoes.
Who doesn’t love a snack? It’s all too easy at home to reach for packaged, processed foods, so make the most of your surroundings and seek out fresh, natural treats, such as olives and handfuls of nuts. The same goes for puddings and desserts – put together a few pastries from the local bakeries with some fresh honey and fruits to keep your mealtime simple, natural and fuss-free. Why not seek out sorbets over ice cream, which can still pack a punch when it comes to flavours? I really like trying out different flavoured sorbets, such as those using local berries, they’re never as heavy and rich as the dairy ice creams.
Learning to cook local dishes, like making simple and delicious orecchiette (the ear shaped pasta popular in Puglia, Southern Italy) is a great way to feel connected to the area you’re visiting, as well as getting in some all-important family time by learning together. Picking up new recipes and techniques to try out at home can be one of the best souvenirs from a trip away and have real feel good value once you’re home.
Holidays for me are all about reconnecting with family and friends, so I really recommend taking some time to linger over conversations, meals and downtime – perhaps even playing some games! These opportunities to celebrate being together are really valuable, so don’t be rushed and allow for some evenings to simply drift. This is a real Mediterranean principle, and one that you should definitely bring home with you.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned is to allow a bit of spontaneity into your holiday. Sometimes simply taking the back roads in the hire car rather than the fastest route has meant I’ve discovered hidden beaches and coves I hadn’t read about in the guidebooks, come across delicious paella in hilltop villages, or stopped off at a farm to buy some freshly picked oranges, which I’ve juiced back at the villa.
I really like to get out and explore the place I’m visiting, so while I always make time for relaxing by the pool, I do also dedicate some of the day to discovery. That doesn’t always mean heading for the main local attractions – a simple stroll down by the water’s edge or taking a walk to get a coffee in the town square can be just as satisfying. Just taking those moments to enjoy the fresh air and the opportunity to spend more time outside are rewarding in themselves.
I also like to add a bit of a new routine to my day while on a break. Taking a morning dip in the pool before breakfast or tackling a chapter of a book after lunch is a great way to give myself a bit of mental wellbeing and help me feel refreshed. Holidays are all about enjoying the simple things in life and just by taking a few uncomplicated steps, even if they are out of the regular routine, will mean you are ready to head home with some new found skills, feeling healthier and well connected to family and friends.