Have you ever taken time off to just enjoy the city where you live???
This is Part III to my season of birthday posts – I did say I was going to celebrate my birthday big time… I already revealed that the first part of my celebration was a quiet week exploring Berlin with my fella. Well the second half was was 1.5 weeks holidaying in London!!!
What’s The Point Of A Staycation???
Well my Holidays Are… blog post championed the psychoanalytical benefits of taking a holiday – in it I mostly advocated “getting away”. This is the flip side to my call for taking time-out: staying put in the city where you live.
You’ve made reference at one point to living in a city where others find it appealing, yet because you’re in the daily grind & routine you rarely experience the wonders of it as a visitor or tourist would, haven’t you? Don’t try say no – iCu ;-)
Inspired by my two buddies Demarco & Tiffany who were visiting from Atlanta in the USA, I thought I’d extend my planned 1 week holiday in Berlin by another 1.5 weeks host them – hang out in London, do the tourist thing etc. A stay at home holiday is often referred to as a “staycation.” Great term! After the past 1.5 weeks, I’d call mine a blast!!!
It was non-stop. Seriously. I’d been saying to friends and colleagues that I would pack my time-off with things I wouldn’t normally do if I were at work or even off on leave doing nothing. I knew that Tiffany & Demarco wanted experience perfect examples of London life, so this was the perfect opportunity to push my own boundaries and be a gracious host…
- Friend’s birthday drinks: My mate Ezza had birthday drinks at a Grand Union bar that I have driven past many times and thought: oh-please – glorified pub. In the spirit of celebating his birthday though, I took my visitors and was pleasantly suprised! Very ‘young’ energy, cool music, kitch decor and the most hidden treasure of a garden – much bigger than you’d imagine from outside, full of Japenese night lights, tree-hut-inspired alcoves, sofas and benches, all with 20-40-somethings drinking, laughing and chilling. Of course our crew had to get up and get the dancing started!
- My Birthday Party: iCant tell you how I’m still buzzing from my party! It was a wear white theme – everyone participated! I took over the Penthouse of a Soho bar, armed with my own DJ and the spirit to bring all of my friends – from nursery-age till present, together in celebration of my life and all of our futre lives. The party did what it said on the tin. End of!!!
- Boat Party: I wanted to give Demarco & Tiffany a splice of Black straight life – the black grown-folks’ street-scene…So I took them to a boat dance that featured the respected Black street sounds playing the best in rare-groove, connoisseur soul, revival reggae, ragga, classic soul and funky house…grown folks aged 30-50 raving hard in their slick shirts and stiletto heels up & down the River Thames for 5 hours…They came, they raved, they saw! Not quite what they show on Fox TV about life in London, I tell thee…
- Theatre: My mate was staring in the critically accclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaption of Julius Caesar – with an all-black cast, set in Africa. We went and were blown away by the energy – there’s nothing like live theatre. Nothing I tell you! I took my guests to meet some of the actors after the show. Tiffany got an ace pic!
- Food: We are all food lovers so our two times a day indulgence was great! I introduced Demarco & Tiffany to my favourite Soho Jamaican Restaurant, also my favourite Italian…we had to do Nandoes of course…oh and Ballans…somebody stop me before I reveal the extend of my food-fetish…
- Shopping: I had big plans to take the crew to Westfield…but then they discovered Oxford Street and we got stuck there. Don’t ask me how much we spent or how many bags we bungled back to the hotel with…
- Buckingham Palace: It took me until age 43 to go and kick-it with The Queen. But I did it. Now you all know I am not a royalist, however in the name of being a host to Americans and being the boyfriend of a Royalist I went with it. Buckingham Palace is an astonishing feat and worth going to see, for the record. ***poker face***
- Museum: Two shocks in a row – yes – me, who sees “museum” as a swear word, was dragged kicking and screaming – literally by my fella – into the Tate Modern. I died with my eyes open for 20 mins or so until I saw a life performance in the Turbine Hall…very interesting…and yes, I admit – very entertaining!
- The London Eye: We had to do this! Not my first time but enjoyable all the same! It’s very refreshing to see London in an eye’s view. 30 mins of wonder and the bolt-on 4D experience afterwards is fun!
- Plans To Do Other Tourist Stuff: I had a plan to do a Tower of London / O2-climbing day but after Demarco & Tiffany discovered Oxofrd Street & shopping and my legs were telling me to make some adjustments, we changed to a slow 2nd day of shopping…
- Keeping fit: I still managed to get to the gym most mornings to work of the big dinners, feel fresh and not so guilty…
- Demarco & Tiffany’s Leaving Party: I gathered friends together on Demarco & Tiffany’s last night to say goodbye over drinks…we moved from chilled bar to a party bar, to an all night eatery in Soho…what a fun night!!!
- Garden party: Inspired by the sunny weather, my mate Junior got a few friends together to have a bring-a-dish garden hangout. Great food, beautiful garden, great company. Noice!
- Boris Bikes: We tried in vain to get Tiffany onto one but Miss Thang wasn’t having it! After she and Demarco left me and my fella took the opportunity to leave the car at home and take a ride on one to to Canary Wharf. We also jumped on and off them at our whim while in central London over the rest of the weekend, pretending we were double-agents! #LeaveItt
- Cinema: I managed to catch Tom Hardy and Shia Laboeuf in their latest film, Lawless. My my my. I do love Cinema…
- Thames Festival: What a great way to end the season!!! I went to the Thames Festival’s Night Carnival & Fireworks on The South Bank – a fantastic, lively, creative parade along the embankment, a magnificent fireworks display and a packed South Bank with a great Swedish circus act. I HEART LONDON!!!
I knew my staycation would be non-stop but this was crazy! I hadn’t realised how much I have become accustomed to tempering the pace at which I operate, much as I do a lot with fitness, work, social stuff etc.
That boost you desperately need could be in the form of merely putting a ring around some time-off from the usual routine and creating your holiday right at home. Here’s how:
- Mark A Period Out In The Diary (Work & Home): Declare it a holiday zone – normal life-rules do not apply!
- Lay Down Strong Boundaries With Friends & Family: Say “hell-no” to the things you will not do (idle phone chats, visits, errands, chores: personal admin, cleaning, domestic errands)
- Create a Staycation Itinerary: Plan as much activities as you can otherwise the days could fly by and perfect opportunities becomme missed ones. DON’T say “I’ll take it easy and see how it goes”. NAH!!!
- Do Everything in The Staycation Spirit: Make it your mantra! Do everything in the spirit of being on holiday! Others will cotton on and leave you alone or channel your staycation spirit too. You create your [staycation] environment!
- Just do you!
I did stuff to celebrate that I work hard and deserve rest & invigoration. When you take time off and are doing bugger-all, it makes the time go slow, the nonchalance increase, the dreaded doom of going back to work linger, more grey-clouds lurk over you…get the pciture???
I’m newly converted – you know how much I love jetting off abroad! If it had t been for Demarco & Tiffany visiting I’d’ve never taken a great opportunity to see parts of London in such a short space of time. 1.5 weeks zoomed by but I was happy it was non-stop – just like it is on holiday! It was fun – like a roller-coaster ride! The emotional come-down when they left was sharp and intense (don’t let me confess about pulling over in the car in on the way home from the airport to bawl my eyes out…), however it was an overall a feeling of “that was fantastic!”
I went back to work today one very invigorated, happy and rested man. This period had beeing a massive spirtual and phsycholigcal boost to the next year ahead. I surely wasn’t just “off work” for 2.5 weeks!!!
SpiritedStrength = daily life driven by: • heart • realness • liberation • purpose • learning • happiness
So What You Sayin?
Does this get you thinking? Could you take a week off work and fill it to the brim with self-indulgent activities in the name of a “Staycation?” Of course you can!!! So… *coughs*…