Now that Songkran’s a mere memory and we’re back in semi-lockdown…
BY NARISA (NINA) PHICHITSINGH
Sadness, sunburn, and sleepiness – all signs of returning from an exceptional vacation. I’ve learned that the more holidays I go on, the harder I’m hit with painful post-vacation blues. The suntans and bliss are transformed into lethargy and a drifting mind at work, while the current third wave of the pandemic has put paid to any future plans for thirst- quenching coconuts and glistening sand between my toes. I sought out the expert advice of six holiday-goers to see how they cope with this syndrome, and as a bonus, they’ve shared their favourite local holiday destinations for our future inspiration (or current day-dreaming)!
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: Reverie Siam, Pai
“To take my mind off the need to travel, I’ve firstly picked my flute back up, which had been collecting dust since my high school band years, and I’ve been jamming to both English and Hindi songs, mastering a song every few weeks. I’ve also re-visited other non-electronic childhood hobbies: I purchased a yo-yo from Alibaba, performed magic tricks for my family, and even tried amateur theatrics!
“Playing tennis several times a week has also kept my mind off travel, as well as spending father-daughter time with my 2-year-old. Ironically, an activity that we enjoy is roleplaying a pilot (me) and passenger (her) flying to different imaginary destinations!
“Finally, my advice is, stay off travel-related content! Any YouTube or TV channels related to travel are currently turned off for the time being. No point in watching these and feeling down about not being able to fly anywhere!”
NAIYANA D. KUNKUDATHARN
Founder of Shoe Cocktail
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: Campiness Camping & Farmsook, Chiang Mai (Glamping!)
“First things first, have an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful that you could go on holiday at all in this pandemic should itself be enough for you to get over the blues. Sometimes diving back into your routine helps, and I usually add a little something fun to it to help me get through the day. It gives me that ‘holiday’ feel even when I’m home! I also take out a little time to do things that would help me unwind, whether it’s reading a book in a quiet corner of my home, a bubble bath, or just music that heals the soul. I also have a list of things that I’ve always wanted to do, so I try to use the time to complete those things I’ve been procrastinating for the longest time. I’m slowly ticking them off my ‘to do’ list, and it works!”
DHARAM SINGH CHADHA
Senior Manager, Agoda
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: Himmapana Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
“What holidays? I haven’t been on a vacation or travelled out of Bangkok in six months! I’ve found the best way to stay busy during these semi-lockdown conditions is to keep busy: learn to cook, play some games, or rely on Netflix if you’re out of ideas. My favourite cuisine to cook is Japanese, with staples like yakisoba, yakimeshi, curry rice, and okonomiyaki, which is a new dish I’ve just picked up.
“My favourite video game to play is undoubtedly Counterstrike, where you team up with four others (ideally your friends) and match up against five random folks on the internet in a virtual shootout. It was a game my friends and I played in high school and now the same group plays together, despite spanning multiple time zones and continents. For those less interested in video games, try board games instead: Splendor and Azul are simple ones anyone can pick up!”
Senior Executive, Asiya Life
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai
“I tackle it by having another holiday planned, or start planning for the next trip shortly after so there’s always something to look forward to. During times like these, I’d recommend trying staycations, as long as you stay safe. They feel like a short and sweet holiday that relaxes you, without having to leave the city. Other than that, keep busy, and engage in stress-free activities such as catching up on Netflix. If you haven’t already binge-watched them, I recommend the shows The Crown, Money Heist, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Modern Family. Family time is also crucial for me. As for board games, I really enjoy Sequence!”
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: 9 Hornbills Tented Camp, Koh Yao Noi
“Coming back from a holiday is never easy for me, as I miss the slow beach life of tanning and sipping on cocktails all day, or the thrill of being in a new metropolis, exploring every nook and cranny. Being back in my weekly routine does get very repetitive, but for me, focusing on the things that make me happy, such as running and working out, helps me cope with the dreadful feeling of being home. When I’m running my 10Ks, the endorphins keep my mind off the misery!
“Another coping mechanism is to focus on the next hot spot on my bucket list, and start planning and booking my next holiday. This keeps my mind off the fact that I’m back at home, especially these days. The time taken to research and plan my next trip makes the wait until the next chance to take a holiday, when things are better, feel not so long!”
KARANVIR SINGH THAKRAL
Favourite Local Holiday Destination: Anantara, Bophut Koh Samui
“‘Look forwards, not backwards’ is the mantra that keeps me going. The first day back to reality, I start with a cup of strong black coffee which helps to recharge me. The goal is to push yourself back into routine, even if sometimes you may not feel like it. Get back to being productive so it sets the right pace and keeps you motivated.
“I also reflect on the great times we’ve had on holiday, and exchange fun memories with friends and family. It’s been quite a tough year so it’s important to cherish the moments we’ve managed to enjoy. Sometimes, I end up thinking tentatively of the next trip I’d like to take, but with small kids and this global pandemic, I’m more cautious. I mostly just reminisce and hope for much better times ahead.”
MASALA’S PRO TIPS
• Write a Review – Gratitude and reflection are natural mood uplifters. Compose a written review and praise the wonderful staff that serviced you – that just might be the reason they receive that bonus! We customarily tip hotel staff out of habit and obligation, but that habit means we often forget the art of verbal appreciation.
• Share It and Stamp It – Rather than sharing your holiday memories digitally, send your international friends around the world postcards from your holiday destination. In addition to being a great way of keeping in touch, they will also get to marvel at your holiday destinations and live vicarious through your personalised notes. Bonus: If you have small children that you did not take along on the trip, you can also send them a postcard, or if they are with you, you can assist them in writing a cute postcard to their grandparents.
• Extend it – Be strategic. Is the hotel or resort below capacity, and are you checking out at the end of the weekend? Ask for that late checkout. Sometimes hotels offer checkouts as late as 5pm if you reason with them, and they are likely to agree if there are no new guests. This way, you know you stayed till the very last minute!
• Map Thailand – Corkboards of the world map, where you either add a pin of your destination and/or a photo of yourself from that city or country, have become increasingly popular. Localise the trend by printing out a map of Thailand and marking the unique destinations you managed to visit during the pandemic. It’s also a great way for kids (and adults) to learn more about their local geography. So, that’s where Sukhothai is!