Disconnect to reconnect. That’s the essence of the luxury holidays that garner my attention. The luxury of space to do things, the luxury of time to yourself, the luxury of solitude – to remember what makes you, you. That’s the ultimate luxury holiday in my mind. Alone time to reset my mindset and get the ducks lined back up in my head. Separate myself from everything so I can re-evaluate, reassess and reorganise. That sounds like an awful office holiday, but these things happen organically when you’re alone.
“The sort of solitude I prize decouples me from all deadlines, and leaves me floating in a warm and amniotic present.” – Will Self
“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” – Pablo Picasso
Being alone is a lost art nowadays. The general societal view of being alone is associated with being, well, antisocial, a loner or weirdo, that there must be some negative reason for a human being to retreat into a dark corner away from the everyday. But more and more, people are coming to realise the benefits, advantages and, to be honest, sheer joy that you can experience when you choose to have some alone time.
That’s probably the crux of the issue, the difference between being lonely and being alone – choice. Being lonely is not something that’s chosen, you’re not in control, but being alone, well that’s the luxury of having a choice. And it’s been found to have many health benefits, too.
“It is only alone, truly alone that one bursts apart, springs forth.” – Maria Isabell Barreno
There are many physical and mental positives that can come from solitude. When you need to get a job done, sometimes you just need to shut yourself away from distractions so you can concentrate. But equally, alone time means you can let your mind wander – let thought patterns flow and grow and go to places you hadn’t thought of before, finding new solutions, different angles and more creativity to help you reach your full potential. Privacy leads to better performance and productivity. It lets you plan and postulate, get your head straight and sort the mess on your desk. So imagine your desk isn’t in front of you, but a beautiful view or a cosy woodburner, a green field or a nature-filled woodland. Imagine what your mind will do.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.” – Anne Lamott
Give your mind the freedom to enjoy escapism and you’ll feel a lot better. Embrace the nothingness, the lack of things to do and the non-routine, instead consciously accepting that solitude equals freedom. Do what you feel like doing whenever you feel like doing it. Go with the flow and listen to your bodily cues. It’s not often you can get away with doing nothing. But actually you’re not doing nothing. You are actively relaxing, making the effort to have some downtime and the reward will be all the more evident when you go home. The luxury of solitude will give you that clarity.
“There is a difference between loneliness and solitude, one will empty you and one will fill you. You have the power to choose.” – AVA
You’ll understand the studies that show how being able to tolerate being alone leads to a happier life – you’re more able to deal with stress, you’ll be more satisfied and apparently experience less depression – but I think it’s all about balance. Don’t punish yourself for working too hard or for taking a holiday. Learn to accept that some things are necessary and some things are luxuries, but that the two can overlap. Solitude is a necessary luxury in a busy life and one you can’t afford to miss out on.
“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.” – Katrina Kenison
Even the dictionary definition gives the example, “she savoured her few hours of freedom and solitude”. It gives the opposite of solitude as ‘company’, which reminds me of the age-old phrase, ‘misery loves company’. It is not an exact fit to this story, but it does help define the difference in being alone and being lonely again. Solitude is related to beautiful words such as peace and quiet but also more negative connotations such as isolation, desolation, lonesome and reclusion. It’s up to us to decide which our holiday becomes.
“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.” – May Sarton
A secondary definition of solitude is ‘a lonely or uninhabited place’ and associates words such as wilderness, rural, middle of nowhere, unspoiled area; now they’re words we can get on board with.
A luxury glamping holiday is the perfect way to enjoy solitude, with the comforts of home out in the back of beyond, the solitude without the loneliness, the luxury of time to yourself in a comfy place you’ve chosen to stay in.
“By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau
So go it alone. Have a holiday that’s rich in time, nature and freedom, treat yourself to the luxury of solitude and get more done for yourself than you ever thought possible – by doing lots or nothing at all. Just do it on your own.
“The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” – Voltaire