The Art of Doing Nothing!
Our resident columnist, Yeoh Siew Hoon may be an intrepid traveller who is always on the go, but this month, she learns how to switch off and just do nothing...
In today's world where we are constantly having to do something... it is indeed hard to do nothing.
Last week, I had dinner with someone who told me he spent 10 nights at Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa. This made me nearly choke on my warm chocolate cake drizzled with fresh cream, salty caramel and walnut crumble.
For starters, I've yet to visit the resort that I've heard so much about – and it's definitely on my list of 500 places to stay at before I die. For another, 10 days! How could anyone spend 10 days in one place, and an island to boot?
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said, straight-faced.
“Nothing for 10 days!!” I asked.
I was devouring my cake as he was very slowly savouring his dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with fresh fruits.
“Yes, it's very hard not to do nothing for 10 days,” he said, as straight-faced as before.
And there you have it. A moment of truth shared over sweet somethings.
In today's world where we are constantly having to do something – tweet, Facebook, Weibo, RenRen, Google+, text, instant message, take photos, share videos – and where we are constantly being bombarded with information and deals – it is indeed hard to do nothing for one day, let alone 10 days.
Watch what people do when they are waiting for a taxi, sitting in the train, even driving the car. Or sitting at airports or on planes. We are constantly fiddling with one device or another.
The iPad has made it even worse – now there are games on your fingertips. Angry Birds, Fishing Joy, Words with Friends, Solitaire – all designed to keep us doing something all the time.
And when we travel, we bring all these things with us to stop us from getting bored.
“Weren't you bored, doing nothing?” I asked my friend.
“That was the point. I wanted to be bored,” he said.
I am glad I spoke to my friend when I did. I am currently planning a 10-day holiday to Rajasthan in late November.
My girlfriend, who runs a travel company specializing in adventure holidays, has put together an amazing programme of activities – camel rides in Jaisalmer, tonga ride in Bikaner, camel cart ride and yoga lesson in Pushkar.
I must tell her to include “time to be bored” in the programme because by then, I think I may actually need time to do nothing.
If Rajasthan doesn't work, then I am definitely headed for Boracay where I hope to be bored in my tree-top villa overlooking the azure blue ocean of the Philippines, where the sand is so powdery white you want to put it on your face and where the sunsets are so orange you want to eat it.
Does that count as doing nothing?
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haha Siew Hoon, I must qualify myself. I guess what I mean by doing 'nothing' refers to not doing the usual activities that people normally do in particular tourist places.
For example, if folks visit Boraqay, normally that will entail doing sea sports, suntanning, riding ATVs etc. And when all that is done, they leave; they've done 'the things that are mentioned in the brochure'. Or, in other destinations, they rush to 'complete the tourist spots checklist'.
So we we did 'nothing' in the sense that we did the things that maybe folks don't normally do, such as watching DVDs (we once watched the entire 9-hour LOTR trilogy in the hotel room), sleeping, gyming, reading Kindles at the beach, I did beginner's webOS programming... It's all good, and we didn't feel pressured by any predetermined plan. I want to be bored so that 'I can choose to do my own thing.'
The good thing about the Shangri La is that the location is so beautiful it's quite possible to just laze around and relax, which is the whole point. The private beach is absolutely wonderful. The fishes appear around your legs once you walk around a few metres into the crystal clear water... Highly recommended!
So amazing the place