Put that breakfast burrito down and look alive. It’s easy to be down at the state of the world; many of us hate our jobs, and we have Trumpery, Brexit, and an ongoing slew of bad news to contend with.
But we refuse to wallow in a tide of collective woe. To misery and moping, we say: not today. Instead, we’re making a conscious effort to snuffle out silver linings. And rarely do these become more apparent than in the wonderful world of travel. Here are 5 sweet and simple delights that we’ll never feel cynical about:
The joy of the airport
Yep, you heard us. Not the endless queues, or the tussle for a small, plastic seat to call your own. But that rush of freedom that comes from exiting the terminal doors to somewhere new. Even better than reaching your hotel or beach of choice, this is the sweet spot where it dawns on you that hey, you’ve arrived! You’re hit by the sights and smells of somewhere new – the tropical heat of Rio, the frenetic drama of Delhi – and adventure beckons. The future spreads out before you, unknown and exciting; you can’t help but be swept up by the happy vibes of it all.
A hammock of your own
It’s a cliché for a reason: seek out the warming bosom of a beach-side hammock, and you’ll be one happy bunny. You need to choose your spot wisely, of course: we recommend the Bacuit Archipelago in the Philippines, or the fine golden sands of Colombia’s Rosario Islands. With the cool breeze of the ocean right beside you, and nothing but the gentle whoosh of waves all around, this is the very definition of solitude. You could order a beer, or a freshly squeezed fruit cocktail. Or you could simply dream away the hours, in a blissful state of nothingness.
Sleeper train snacking
There’s an undeniable romance to travelling by sleeper train. Even when you know you’re probably going to have your head wedged uncomfortably by the top window for 12 hours (though not if you travel in style), it’s hard to resist the idea of seeing a fresh landscape unfold before you, as you sprint through a series of random, middle-of-nowhere stations. And planning your snacks is a brilliantly happy way of ramping up anticipation for this rite of passage. Haribo and red wine your thing? Go wild. Prefer Beer Hoi and a deck of cards? Knock yourself out. This is your train, your rules. Embrace it.
Hot spring bathing
Ah, if only we could spend every day in a thermal spring, we swear we’d be more rounded and intelligent people. Volcanic baths are nature’s elixir; the planet’s way of telling you: hey, relax. Take it easy. Slow down. You can hunt down warm and welcoming hot spots all over the world, from the mountains of Bali, to the tropical jungle of Costa Rica, and Japan’s famous onsens. With temperatures typically reaching around 40°C, al fresco bathes are a great way of dialling down stress and mental fatigue. Hang loose, and let the bubbles work their magic. Happy days.
Random acts of kindness
For every surly shopkeeper or unhelpful ticket attendant you meet on the road, there are a dozen other people who will go out of their way to help you. In fact, it’s only after you’ve travelled alone that you realise quite how kind and friendly the world at large can be. People you’ve just met on the plane will give you a lift through the city, and help you find a place to stay. Hotel staff will issue you with a bargain rate when you rock up late, because they can see that you’re a bit daunted, and running out of options. Strangers take you home to their families, and fill you to the brim with amazing home-cooked food. These are decent people, being kind just for the sake of it. It’s an amazing realisation, and one that will refuel your faith in humanity, every single time it happens.
Images: Flash Pack and Shutterstock
Savour small pleasures in 2018