Sunday 19 July 2020

Why I Will Miss Going Abroad This Year

Adam writes about why he will miss going abroad this year, and the lessons he will take from being abroad to improve his mental health. 
- Adam

Before I start this post, I must acknowledge that this title will probably upset a few people, and I understand. 'Not going on holiday this year? Poor him, what a first world problem!' There is no doubt whatsoever that a lot of people are worse off than me - hardly anyone can go on holiday at the moment. I can imagine people are thinking this right now - but hear me out. 

At the end of each academic year since I was in Year 7, I have had a holiday abroad to look forward to. As a working class family, with my parents working as hard as they can to provide the best life for me and my sister, going on holiday abroad felt like a real privilege because I was not used to it. In previous years, we were unable to do that because money was tight and we had to save as much as possible. 

As we started going abroad each year, it became a routine for me. I viewed it as a rehabilitation period - being able to go abroad, relax, go to a different climate, sleep in a different bed and try different foods. Although we have never gone on holiday outside of Europe, I looked forward to it every year, and the fact we were able to afford to go away yearly between 2012 and 2019 was a testament to how hard my parents worked to provide that. 

Let's take last year as an example. Even though going on holiday was a chance to relax, I did write a few posts for this blog and worked on my journalism career. However, it was an absolute pleasure to do because I was in a different environment where I could combine activities and make it the best holiday that it could be. In fact, I could not think of anything better right now than to be on a sunbed, sitting by a pool and writing a blog post. Whilst I was relaxing and rejuvenating in Lanzarote last year, I could be productive and work on new projects; I saw my passion for journalism reach new heights. During my holiday, I also naturally spend more time with my family and less time on social media. Poor WiFi at the hotels I have been to slightly contributes to that - but in a way I am grateful that I don't have the best connection. I also replace that reduced social media time with listening to music, possibly one of the best things you can do mentally when you listen to the right songs. Going to the gym in the hotel is also one of the things I do abroad, which I do not usually do back in the UK. 

You might be saying: why not listen to music, get off social media and go to the gym at home? It's a good point - but I always find myself either doing university work or trying to enhance my journalism career. I have no complaints over that - but I see my holiday abroad as the one week of the year when I can really relax. 

The whole 'feel' of a holiday and its process is something I also look forward to. The journey to the airport, the plane there, getting up for a fantastic hotel breakfast every morning, trying foods relevant to the country I'm in, meeting different people, maybe even going to a market and/or a waterpark on one or two days. This is not even mentioning the evenings, where we go out for meals and enjoy a selection of drinks out and about in different towns. Right from when I go for breakfast until I go to bed, everything is a fresh change on holiday, even if it is temporary - and I will sorely miss it this year. 

Seeing my parents not having to work, do washing, cooking, driving and other daily chores is also a great sight to see. Even though I do help where I can, I do nowhere near the chores and work they do despite me being at university. Their work ethic has allowed us to go on holiday - and is the main reason why I have worked as hard as I can for my education. They are my role models and I could not ask for a better family. 

I will miss not having a holiday abroad this year. That usual rehabilitation period does a major amount for improving my mental health - especially with the change it brings. At a time when I needed a holiday abroad before undertaking 75% of my degree in the final year, it has been taken away by the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, this is a time when I need to put things into perspective. Going on holiday will always be a privilege, and there are definitely more important things in life. To over 40,000 people who have passed away during this pandemic, you are not a statistic, you are real people and I hope you all rest in peace. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people across the UK have been directly affected by Covid-19, and my thoughts at this particularly difficult time are with them. 

To those who are unable to afford to go on holiday, I feel like I need to apologise for this post! You are all warriors and no matter how much money we have or who we are, we are all equal. I did feel like I needed to write this article though - because I know some people may feel the same way as I do. 

In an attempt to forget about the impact no holiday this year could have, I will try to overcome this by being productive, building connections and start implementing the good habits I only manage to get myself into when I go on holiday. This means eating the right foods, getting my body clock into an acceptable routine, taking time off social media and giving myself incentives and time off when I have worked particularly hard on a project, even though journalism is my passion! 

Regardless of whether I go on holiday or not, I will be forever grateful for the friends and family I have. My working class roots are something I will always be proud of; they have taught me that you simply must work hard for anything you get. My parents showed me that via their actions over the years - and now it is my turn to work on my mental health and become a better person every day.

For more information Student Space is here to make it easier for you to find the support you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information on looking after your mental wellbeing during the pandemic, please visit the Student Minds website

I'm Adam, a Journalism and Media Production student at the University for Creative Arts in Farnham. Over the past few years, I have written hundreds of articles at both a local and national level - including the Daily Express. As well as writing about mental health, I cover current affairs, sport, politics and education in my quest to serve the general public.  

1 comment:

  1. I know what your saying Adam, the annual holiday is the reason why many of us work, and travel does give us a broader view of humanity. If you don't travel the risk that you will start to see other human beings as foreigners, different and weird in some way, is a real danger. I've always had a positive view of people because of travel. There are negatives to travel though; are why driving climate change by flying so much? Is tourism ruining unspoilt parts of the world? I'd be interested in having to work less, have more time off, and travel without destroying the planet.