A holiday away from paradise

Most people, I daresay, imagine going on holiday as going somewhere to escape the daily routine, somewhere very different from their usual existence.

You can conjure up an image of sipping on an exotic cocktail at sunset in some mosquito-free tropical paradise. Or going on a ski holiday in the Swiss alps. Or a yoga holiday in the Himalayas.

A holiday is a place away from the hustle-bustle, far from the madding crowd.

When you work in a place as beautiful, clean, and uncrowded as the island of Maui, which has been voted the top traveller’s choice for 16 consecutive years by Conde Nast readers, it’s hard to imagine going anywhere for a holiday. Anywhere else would be “suboptimal” so to speak.

Where would I go on holiday if everyday is a holiday?

As I write, I am in an non-descript hotel in Taichung, Taiwan, on holiday. For the past 3 hours, I have been sitting on my single bed, reading articles on my iPad and listening to the heavy drops of rain and downpour.

Never mind the noise pollution, air pollution, and visual pollution (i.e. clutter). Urban traffic prevents a straight path on the sidewalk from the hotel to my destination.

But I am as happy as I can be.

Just yesterday, my friend in Taipei introduced me to the best eateries in her neighborhood. I was sad I couldn’t stay longer to sample them all. Before I left, we took photos of piano sheet music she’s collected over the years. [Bookmark this for a future blog post!]

In Taichung, the sunset market carried my favorite Chinese delicacies: pickled boneless chicken feet, pickled fish skin, green seaweed, steamed Shanghainese dumplings, home-made soya milk, and pearl bubble milk tea. Tomorrow we will feast on stir-fried eel. I count the number of meals I have left and hope I have enough time to digest each one before the next and that I won’t waste a meal opportunity on a bad choice.

It’s the contrast that we want between work and holiday. It’s also getting a distance from work to reflect upon life in a different environment, one in which you’re a temporary visitor.


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