The Ireland Road Trip or how to really enjoy your vacation

“Time doesn’t stand still here – it just lingers.”


This was an inscription on “Joyce’s craft shop”, above, in Connemara; and it stands true for all Irish countryside.

Time is, ultimately, how we perceive it, and that’s one thing I experimented through my 12 days – 2000 km – country-tour-coastal route of Ireland. We started off in Dublin and headed north, towards the Celtic hills of Tara, and ended the night in Belfast. From there, the daily usual was between 150 and 200 km drive, with countless scenery stops and unplanned detours.

After three days, I was at the end of my nerves. The daily drive was too much, and we were squishing too many sights. We were literally trying to do it all and see it all – not because it was in the tourist guide (by the way, Ireland’s tourist sights are not much – try getting tips from the locals, better), but because every half hour we would see a sign directing us to a scenic route or some Celtic stones.

Learning no. 1.

If you’re a micromanager/perfectionist/do-it-all/see-it-all kind of person at work, expect the habits to migrate into your vacation as well.

I recognized our habit of “Let’s also take this project on top; we’ll manage somehow” into our vacation time.

“Let’s also see this sight; it’s only 60 km away and we have time to return by nightfall”.

No wonder we feel exhausted – at work and in our free time – if we try to squish in so many sights, activities, tasks, projects.

The “add on top” concepts permeates thoughout our lives.
“Buy two get one free”. Do you need all three? Maybe no, but hell, it’s such a small difference.
“Manage your time so that you can do more, with less”. How about your energy? That doesn’t get regenerated unless you actually rest.

So what changed?

I stopped trying to see it all, do it all. I realized we had passed without visiting Cliffs of Moher and tried not to care. I made conscious choices not to go to one or two places that seemed “easy to get” in order for us to rest. And once my mindset changed, I began really taking in the view and the whole perspective – without the dots marked on the map.

I read somewhere that busy people, most corporate workers who have heavy schedules, are not happy with a 7-days-of-lying-in-the-sun type of vacation. They need a rush, they need to be on the move. That stands true for me, too.  But unless you let yourself go from the internal pressure, you’re not going to get your rest.

Effectiveness stands  true for road trips as well:

3-4 must see objectives per trip.

Extra time built in for 1-2 unplanned detours.

1-2 big things/places to see every day. Not more.

Allowing spontaneity, but knowing when to say no to extra tasks.

Do you, also, try to do it all?
What could you let go of?

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