How making travel plans can be therapeutic too

Even if you don’t have the time or the budget to travel to your dream destination, simply make travel plans. The experience can be just as rejuvenating, if not more

traveller with backpack, relaxing

The world keeps spinning, emails keep piling up, deadlines come and go; and life doesn’t seem to give you even a bit of a break when you most need it. But there are times when you just need to get up and get away. For someone who prides herself on knowing and accepting therapy and counselling as valid mental health needs, I must admit that, for me, nothing works quite as much as travelling.

Over and over again I have noticed how I best solve problems by taking some time off and bringing some distance between me and the situation. Some people may call it running away, but how is it running away when I’m just trying to come back with a solution? The best example of a simple getaway was when I went to Alibaug for a short trip. Just getting out of the main city was such sweet relief—the real world disappearing behind me with every breath. The beaches and the fresh seafood helped too. All of it came together to a formula that was definitely worth the time away from the world.

Planning the trip can be therapeutic too

Now that I have to travel for work almost once a month, it is amazing how picking up the phone to do my hotel bookings can make me take a deep breath and let go of the day. Putting together plans for hotels and flights, coordinating cat pick ups and even scheduling meetings can get my adrenaline going. [Yes, even the meetings part!] Ever had a day where everything seemed to go wrong? When you push a door which has a pull sign or when you hit your head against a cupboard just as you’re getting out of bed in the morning. Of course you’ve had a day like that. All of us have. All you need to do is to go on a vacation. It doesn’t even have to be real if you can’t afford it. Go online; look up options of places you could go to. Choose one. Then look up the things you can do there. Go on, indulge. Make an itinerary. Prioritise things you want to do; choose experiences and sights and try to fit them on a schedule. I have been planning a trip to Barcelona for two years now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make it; but knowing that it’s an option that I can explore if I ever get the chance, is an amazing feeling. Planning my trip so I’m there during a street fair; or where I should stay so I can taste the best of what Barcelona has to offer.

I dreamt my way to Paris

My trip to Paris was a perfect example of this. I had spent the better part of four years planning out what I would do if I ever went to Paris; amazingly enough I was able to do most of those. The most prominent on my list was The Louvre, a magical world I had never imagined being able to go to. I’d planned out what time in the day I’d visit; what exhibits I’d have liked seeing and how I would best use my time in the enormous museum. When at the Louvre, I spent the whole day inside, just wandering around open-mouthed because I couldn’t believe I was where I was.

Just go with the flow

That is not to say there isn’t something as spontaneity. Sometimes, decisions have to be made on the go and they may be the best decisions ever. Walking around Paris, my friend and I reached Sainte Chappelle after closing time and were very disappointed. A cute French guy came up, saw our glum faces and recommended we try our luck at getting tickets for concerts that are performed at the venue. An impromptu decision later, we were watching Vivaldi being played in the most amazing surroundings and it wasn’t even expensive [no, seriously not expensive at all!] There are breathtaking memories to be made; memories like the one at Sainte Chappelle and the ones of the Louvre or the time I heard Big Ben chiming or when I had a fruit beer in freezing Frankfurt or when I ate home-cooked biryani at Jawhar’s only hotel. It is these memories that keep you sane on a day of roller coasters. I have often come back home from a crazy week on the ropes, got into bed with my book and mint lemonade and day dreamed my way back to reality. If you are a traveller or a reader, you will know exactly what I mean.

This was first published in the May 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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