Have you ever felt the need to step back and recharge batteries? – but preferably while still travelling if you are a travel-obsessed introvert like me.
I usually experience this feeling after intensive party times, or intensive working times, or, as coincidentally arranged most of the times by Murphy’s law, a combination of both! What I need in these moments, is silence; just me, and silence.
If you are an extravert, you may not fully understand this – then please do read about what it is like to travel when you are introvert, for example in this spot-on article, before judging what I say.
But if you are an introvert, you may appreciate some of my tips for a catching-up-with-yourself weekend away, enjoying travelling while recharging batteries, all easily accessible (from London or Brussels) for a short weekend that costs just one of your 25 yearly paid leave days.
1 – THE DESERT BEACH
Why: this is the most obvious one. A weekend spent listening to nothing but the waves that come forth and back.
When & where: Off season, the best being May and late September when the tourist flows slow down but the weather is still pretty, and as far as possible from the tourists hotspots. Try a Croatian island – minimum Vis, if possible even farther from the coast – or Albania.
2 – THE LAKE SIDE
Why: same as the beach, but even more restful, with no waves to distract you from staring at the horizon and being with yourself.
When & where: I would say mid-summer or mid-winter. I’ve noticed a few lake sides in Scotland that would work magically in summer – especially if you camp. Last year, I also fell in love with Bled’s lake, Slovenia, although it was November and the weather was horrendous – I plan to return at a better date and test my retreat routine there.
3 – THE FOREIGN LAND
Why: imagine finding yourself a pleasant landscape, without the need to communicate with anyone. You can spend a day sitting outside, hearing the music of an unknown language, not worrying any second about what it may mean.
When & where: I recommend a place that is not internationally touristic, even if it is, at a national level; and obviously somewhere you know as little as possible of the local language. I have my own habits in Szczawnica, in the South of Poland, which is a popular resort of the Carpathian mountains but where, in my experience, only Polish people travel.
4 – THE WOODEN HUT
Why: no reception to say hello to; no neighbours to nod at. No hotel theme or decoration imposing its personality to you; just you, in a hut; and nature around.
When & where: sounds like winter to me, and I have had the most satisfying hut experience in Siberia, by the lake Baikal – I did not stay a weekend, but a whole week. I am still searching for an equivalent in Europe, and suspect this should exist somewhere in Scotland or Scandinavia. This summer I have found pretty good huts in Berlin, and may give them a try next winter, too.
5 – THE TINY ISLAND
Why: I have lived in the UK for 2.5 years now and suspected this should work well for a weekend retreat. Wandering around with a feeling of freedom in an area that feels like it’s mine, fully dedicated to me and my retreat.
When & where: last weekend, I have successfully trialled the Isle of Man for this purpose – a fantastic catch. I will keep exploring other options, but may very well return to this one, too.
During these weekend retreats, I usually spend my days walking a lot, exploring, taking photos, but also emptying my head, talking to myself, writing, taking stock of my life.
It is not uncommon that, in the evening, I do not even bother eating out and rather pick nick in my room / chalet / hut, with a few local beers or vodka.
And when it is time to go to bed, I am peaceful and smiling as on most days, but also rested and ready to go back and put myself out again.