Holidays are a Health Hazard

Holidays are a Health Hazard

A Story by Norman 223

A cautionary (less than serious) warning


Every year of my life has been plagued by holidays. I use the word "plague" deliberately, because it affects the mental health of so many people over such a long period of time.
This probably explains why I border on a nervous breakdown, every time my wife mentions that dreaded phrase, "Where shall we go this year,” 

I know full well that it going to be her decision, because I will try to limit all travelling to a maximum of two hours, which doesn't leave her a lot of scope. She would take several holidays a year, visiting all the "exotic" places, risk every type of pestilence, wear herself out and leave me penniless - the trouble is, she expects me to do the same.

But enough of my petty objections. Let’s consider the real cost to the health of humanity in this pursuit of annual hedonism. What do you want from a holiday?  Holidays are, by definition, a process of getting away from the hassle of everyday routine. So if you are working in a hard physical job in a city, then lounging on a beach in the sun sounds idyllic.

But supposing that's the week that it rains. You'll discover more about the taste of coffee and teacakes than you ever thought possible as you end up exchanging one routine for another whilst  you limit your excursions to correspond with the opening times of teashops and museums, etc.

Disregarding the horror stories that you see on TV of disease, disgusting food, appalling accommodation in half-finished hotels and enjoying the uninhibited entertainment provided by inebriated Brits on the Costa Del Lager I only want to make you aware the more insidious damage that can be done to your health, particularly your mental health when you become an addictive holidaymaker.

Hazard No.1

Whereas my wife loves shuffling around Museums and looking at decaying fabrics in National Trust houses, I prefer to stride out in the peace and quiet of rural England - or learning some new skill such as painting, woodcarving or music, with a group of like -minded people.
We try to compromise, of course, but it means that one of us is going to be bored or miserable - particularly when I end up shuffling around Museums, etc etc ………Not a good start .....

Hazard No. 2

I'm sure that there are many, like me, who don't want to watch television or sit in a bar all evening, therefore large hotels are anathema to us - , but although I appreciate that small guest houses must necessarily be more rigid with their meal times, I realise that am immediately being forced to organise my "leisurely holiday" ---- leaving a trip early, - not being able to have that extra swim, forego a theatre - you could miss the evening meal, of course and go somewhere else, but you've already paid for it,- and it takes a very rich man to ignore that fact. The only consolation to this dilemma is that you don't have to wash the dishes.

Hazard No 3
This is the real killer. The Government, the entrepreneurs of public transport and the Motorway service stations have all combined forces to make our holiday travelling memorable.
Don't be fooled - It may seem traumatic most of the time, but we know that it's doing us good, because we are willing to go on paying so much for the experience. year after year.
What can be more restful than driving along the M25 at 5 miles an hour on a fine summer day .enjoying the exhaust fumes and the sauna like atmosphere of the car, knowing that about 90% of your travelling 
costs  are  helping to sustain global warming.


So why not take the train - Have you tried to cope with the modern  system of timetables, pricing and interchange on today's railways. Even the ticket offices are confused. How can it cost you more to come home than it does to go away and you are on the same network.?   "Make the journey part of your holiday" is their slogan.

 Actually, I suspect that it's part of the Government's job creation scheme to install psychiatric counsellors in every railway station. 

So,could it be better abroad?


 But... you've never been abroad before. -  So you use a reputable travel agent, who will plan an interesting package .. This brings us very neatly to:-

Hazard No 4
First you have to get a passport. Then a visa, travel insurance, injections, currency and a phrase book.

You had wanted to go this year , - but not to worry " the Government has set up a  potentialWorking Party to cut down on the delay in issuing passports.
But of course, it's obvious - the Government is cleverly persuading you spend all your holidays (and money) in this country.

But enough of pessimism. You've been lucky. You have your documents, you've reached the airport and you're ready for the "off". All you have to do is check in - after you've joined the check-in queue.... an hour doesn't seem long, when you're enjoying yourself, does it? Now you join the Security queue - and guess what - the first warning bleep you hear is as YOU pass through the gate.
You know you haven't anything sinister on you, but your heart rate still goes up. Everyone is looking at you and a Security Officer is approaching you with a ring like object with a long handle. Rather like the gadget they use for restraining mad dogs
- Are you about to be arrested.? He runs it over your body as it reaches your mid section it bleeps alarmingly. You blush , check your pockets - ----nothing.

"Do you have an artificial hip, Sir.? Metal body embellishments.?" Then you remember your hidden money belt next to your skin. You have to haul up your shirt, remove the belt and all is well. Except that you are now sweating, palpitating and your shirt tail is hanging out at the back.

 You have time to recover, however, as you now sit on a rock hard seat in the departure lounge for another half-hour waiting for your boarding call.

 Now you start queueing again.

Finally you are on the plane, and you settle down., but before you take off an animated video tells you what you should do if the plane crashes. And you haven't even left the runway yet. 
"Do planes often crash " you hear another panicky passenger ask . . " Usually, only once", some inebriated wag replies. Your holiday is about to begin - you feel worse already.

The meals are brought round and you have a choice - this is great and the quality of the food is not bad. . You don't know, at this stage that the pilots and co- pilot always have to eat different meals, so that there is less chance of them both suffering from food poisoning during the flight.
But you arrive safely, You then have a wonderful holiday, the accommodation is good, the people are friendly and you can't fault the itinerary. There's so much to see and so little time to see it all. The roads are not particularly good - very potholed and dusty, but you're not driving. Just as well as you can't see a thing through the windows because of the dust, but the driver gives you a very' good commentary and tells you that you can always buy postcards at the next stop.

Hazard No.5 is approaching.

Now, I know this sounds stupid, but why can't you just buy the postcards that you want to keep as mementos?
But no. You have to remember all the neighbours and relatives. Whether this is because of an innate fear that you will never see them again, or whether it is just to make them jealous is a moot point -
Of course, it doesn't stop at sending cards.
Now you have to consider buying presents for people, such as the neighbours who have fed your cat whilst you were away and hidden your post from prying eyes.
I don't have a problem with that but then you have to embark on the greatest dilemma of all time - your wife has decided that she MUST buy her closest friends and relatives mementoes of OUR holiday.

Of course, she's not alone in having this fear that she must reciprocate the generous donations of useless clutter that she has received from them. (which, of course, then becomes a self perpetuating situation) .

 It's not that I'm ungrateful, but I hate seeing every horizontal surface covered in dust collecting ornaments., every vertical surface covered in fridge magnets or postcards and trying to remember what not to throw away in case they visit us - more stress.

Hazard No 6

You come home and find that the cat ignores you - jetlag has set in and you don't want company, but everyone wants to come round (ostensibly to see the photos). You then have to relive every glorious moment, whilst you vainly try to tell the same stories to everyone - each time of course, brings forth a new version as your memory blurs the real facts.. But it isn't your fault. It's all part of a psychological disorder that convinces you that it’s really time for another holiday.
Why should this be - If you really enjoyed your holiday, then it must have given you something that you don't have in your normal life, but you have to come back to that life - so how will you ever be happy ? Long term stress is definitely a heath hazard.



© 2020 Norman 223

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Your curmudgeonly attitude is so well displayed here, I started feeling sorry for Trish, even tho I'm fully in tune with your travel-phobia. Welcome to the ranks of those of us who are secretly happy about this pandemic, so we can relax, having the perfect excuse for being homebodies without apology. This is the best prose I've ever seen from you mainly becuz you go on & on, but every bit of it is interesting, fun, tongue-in-cheek, & spot-on! I've never seen you expound to such a degree & I slurped up every bit of it! Thank you for helping me embrace my inability (& unwillingness) to travel! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Months Ago

Norman 223

2 Months Ago

First, Margie, my apologies for the late acknowledgement and thanks for your review. I'm not too .. read more

2 Months Ago

I'm glad you're doing as well as you are! You might be doing circles around me . . . I've slowed dow.. read more
Stay at home--amen. I couldn't agree more. Although you tell it with humour, the horrors of "going on holiday" are plenty clear. Perhaps it's our age, Norman? Indeed, a younger man may crave adventure, but we've already been there and done that. My wife is always saying, "You've already been everywhere, but I haven't!" I reply, "Well, you should've joined the Navy, too!"

Posted 5 Months Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on August 4, 2020
Last Updated on August 4, 2020


Norman 223
Norman 223

Essex UK, United Kingdom

Now, having reached the age of 89 I'm still trying to write as an optimistic exercise in keeping senility at bay, although I reluctantly have to accept age,unreliable memory, pacemakers and synthet.. more..


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