What is a Spartan holiday and why you need to take one this year?
Ever heard of the Spartan holiday? No? Read on!
Vacations, holidays, breaks, whatever you call it, is essentially supposed to be a refresher from the daily grind. But do we actually get that when we travel? Think about it, we are always trying to take photos, looking up a place on web maps, or making online payments. How are these activities any different on a vacation than what we do every other day? Sure, it’s just a different location. Also, when we have such distractions with us all the time, we barely notice our surroundings the way we ideally should.
That’s why writer/traveler/author DB Dowd aka Professor Red, came up with the concept of a Spartan Holiday.
“To celebrate a Spartan Holiday is to wring pleasure from modest stuff… To enliven a rainy day. To gain independence from the media narrative of the week… Honour the actual. Observe, slowly. Engage the world like a traveller, canny but agape, whether five or fifty or 5,000 miles from home. That’s what you can expect here. An eyeful.”
The no-frill way to have a vacation
The award-winning, illustrated journal is an artistic blend of Dowd’s travel writing, memoir, and history of places he traveled, and celebrates his uninterrupted view of life.
He also suggests carrying a pen/pencil and paper instead of our regular digital paraphernalia and drawing what you see. It doesn’t have to be artistic or even aesthetic, but just noting things that you see around and absorb things better.
The concept of being “Spartan” is to deprive yourself of all unnecessary distractions that can take away the real joy of a holiday. Just like the Spartans lived – minimalist, no-frills, and focusing on one thing and one thing only. The idea is to observe and pay complete attention to your surroundings so you are in absolute sync with your environment.
Ancient Spartan Holiday is a new, travel trend in 2021 that takes digital detox to the next level and disconnects you from technology, and lets you enjoy a vacation in the purest form.
Why do we all need it?
2020 has been one of the toughest years of this century, to say the least. Of all the economic, social, and cultural fallouts of the global pandemic, the worst impact has been on the mental and physical health of professionals.
In a recent survey by Linkedin, about 39% of working professionals (India) have experienced increased stress and anxiety while working from home during the pandemic, about 37% are feeling lonelier than ever, and about 36% realize the harm on their work-life balance.
But that’s not all. Working remotely has also affected our sense of inclusivity, job stability, financial stability, leaving us feeling isolated and vulnerable at all times. Working from the comfort of home has also blurred the lines between work and personal life, stretching the hours with devices longer than usual.
When you look at the year gone by, it becomes clearer every time, that how badly you need time for yourself in the year ahead. And a regular vacation wouldn’t be enough.
A travel reboot with a Spartan holiday
Spartan holiday means to free yourself from the trappings of technology and everything that has been binding and winding us up this year, take a vacation as Dowd recommends.
- It could be in a scenic, all-nature destination or within your known, favorite locales, just without any typical amenities.
- Free yourself from all gadgets and devices. If you need a map, get a printed one, or ask the locals, because no one knows a place better than the locals do. If you need to make payments, then use cash. There is no place on earth that has erased the most traditional form of transactions.
- Pack minimal, absolutely necessary items – clothes, basic medication, personal care. Keep your liabilities to the minimum.
- Stay at a place that gives you visual, emotional, and some physical comfort. Instead of staying at state-of-the-art hotels/resorts, choose a nature retreat.
- If you want to capture a moment, do it with your eyes and mind and not with a camera.
- Draw if you can, or write it down, talk about it, and let it set in your memory forever. Collect knick-knacks that become souvenirs of the vacation.
- Sit quietly and listen to the different sounds of nature that often get blocked out by the rings, beeps, and tuts of gadgets.
- Walk, run, jog, cycle, make a bonfire, cook in a group, sing together, tell a story, read a book, paint, watch the stars, sleep under the open sky, take a swim in a lake/pond/sea.
The environment has so much to offer than we actually know or even realize. Let’s all do a complete travel reboot in the coming year and get back in sync with nature, letting the atmosphere heal us from within.