By Samuel Hogarth
Let’s face it, we all enjoy a holiday, right? Those few weeks in a year where we don’t have to think about work, or life’s stresses. If you’re from the UK, you know that one of the most common breaks that people take is a visit for a week or two at a time to somewhere warm, like Spain, Greece, Italy or Cyprus. All wonderful places to be sure, but in my experience the visits to these places result in one activity more than any other- lying on the beach or by the pool. For the whole vacation.
We all enjoy relaxing while the sun beams down on us and the sound of waves echo around us. Sounds so peaceful right? Well, there’s always time for that. But should we be spending our whole holiday just behaving like a beached whale, so that the only distinguishable result at the end is that we obtained a tan? What is this obsession with tanning anyway? Here’s another idea for you- take an active holiday.
There was a point a few years ago where I was committed to obtaining high-level fighting skills, not to prepare myself for a career as a UFC competitor, but simply for self-defence if ever the need arose. And because combat sports are really cool. So, I hopped over to Thailand and spent two months partaking in an intensive Muay Thai boxing camp. I was training for two to four hours per day, six days a week, and in my time away from training I was scuba diving, visiting local sites and undertaking other activities (for example, motor-crossing for the first time and trying out some guns at a shooting range). I didn’t exactly have much rest in these two months, which is great as that’s not what I was there for. Rest can wait until you’re old and retired, or maybe just dead. Of course, I made time for a few beach days, but I really wanted to accomplish something with this time that I had set aside to not work. By the end of my stay in Thailand I was fitter and stronger than I had ever been in the past, I had secured two more diving qualifications and explored a great part of a new country.
Your active holiday needn’t be as long lasting or as extreme as this. During my time in Thailand I met a young woman who had just been made redundant from her job in England. Rather than blow all her redundancy pay on a week’s stay at an all-inclusive four-star hotel in Malaga, she decided to fly to Thailand and spend three weeks training- in general fitness and in boxing. She wanted to return to the UK with a feeling of achievement, with a sense that she was ready to tackle the new chapter in her life that awaited her. What do you want your memories of your time spent in exotic, stimulating places to be? One beach, in one location? Just the pool within your hotel walls? Or do you want to have a myriad of mental pictures of all the wonders you experienced, along with a list of new skills you acquired and new activities you undertook?
When you are old, and you are sitting on that beach and feeling the sand between your fingers, and hearing the ocean waves crash against the shore, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could look back and think of all the times you grabbed life with both hands and said ‘I am going to live before I die!’? Then, my friends, you can truly relax.
If you’d like to know more about my experience in Thailand and the thought of a long-term Muay Thai camp appeals to you, check out my Thailand page-