Quite a long time ago (keeping specifics out of it), my parents made the mistake of trying to surprise me with a holiday at the beach. Their benign conspiracy was met with 6 year old histrionics as I mistakenly assumed that the suitcases being hauled out of the boot at the airport meant that I was being packed off to some far off place for having relentlessly hunted down my still-to-be-wrapped Christmas presents hidden in the cupboard. I’ve never been one to take surprises well.
Of course, now I’m a grown-up (sort of), I take enormous pleasure in planning my next adventure and relishing the anticipation for months before it happens. There’s the thinking about how soon after my last holiday I can tactfully abscond from my responsibilities on the next one. Then there’s the endless studying of maps, enjoying the strange-sounding names and beautiful pictures of places I might visit. Once an approximate plan has been hatched, the reality begins to dawn as I start scheming about how to make it all fit together. Then I get to bore my friends for weeks about where I’m off to next (with the promise of making them jealous with the photos on my return). In fact, I get almost as much pleasure in looking forward to the thing as actually doing it. Now that Christmas is behind us, the shops are spending a small fortune on endlessly repetitive adverts with irritating jingles and fake-smiley people trying to get us excited about spending our own small fortune on a sofa at 70% off. Now forgive me for bursting the bubble here but just how excited can you get about a sofa? And even if you do manage to summon up the energy to wade through the throngs between the freezing grey streets and the overheated fug of department stores to blow some cash on discounted goods that you quite possibly don’t need, just how long is that feel-good factor going to last? My poorly disguised point here (if you’ve not walked in with the bowling), is that instead of opting for the all too easy instant gratification of a new sofa, why not start planning your next great escape? It’ll give you hours of pleasure in anticipation, butterflies in your tummy, and make the next few long winter months pass more quickly...and it will leave you with memories that will be more beautiful and last so much longer than a new sofa, guaranteed. (The above image is of an innovative road-side curio shop...everything's on sales if you barter hard enough).