I call it a holiday in my mind. I first noticed it last May when I came back from a two week break seeing my partner in San Jose. Back to London, back to long distance, back to reality. Except. I decided to rebel. But this presented a tough conundrum: I like my job and I like doing well so I didn’t want to slack off but didn’t want to let go off that giddy, free vacation feeling. So I decided to go on holiday in my mind. This doesn’t mean I work any less hard or am any less productive at work. It’s just that my life, my day to day, my routine are, in my head, like being on vacation: I imagine I am in Provence, Cairo, Istanbul, Louisville. When I see the sun through pine trees (that could, to the imaginative, pass as red woods), I’m in California. Miles of snow covered flat fields, Romania. My best efforts are when I am walking through the industrial estate where I work in the morning and I look over on a grey flat British day, the days that fill our winters and sometimes our summers, and see not tin covered depots for a clothes hanger distribution centre but the Welsh mountains. If you’ve never been to Wales, there is grey slate everywhere and in everything – on rooftops, on the dwarfed walls that line windy roads, lining riverbeds, in mountains. This makes it easy to pretend as grey becomes everything, mundane and exotic. Pretending I am on vacation doesn’t make my life any less enjoyable when the moment of Welsh mountains and pine trees has passed and I’m inside my open plan office. Instead I don’t begrudge my colleagues: they are here for a good time too. And this brings me to the best thing about being on holiday in mind. It means I can access all my other beliefs: having fun in life, being bullishly positive, trying to see the good in things even when they are bad, spending good time with good people, making space to talk it out, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, putting yourself in shoes you don’t want to be in. And it gives me an opportunity to make time for one of my strongest beliefs: dancing whilst running. I wont dwell on this too long: only to say that I have a genuine ambition to start a movement where people dance and sing more on long runs through cities. Best enjoyed alone. And easy to do when you’re pretending it’s a holiday.
I won’t say it is always a doddle, pretending I’m on holiday. But what beliefs are easy? It’s simplest when there is a certain light you recognise from a time you really were on vacation. Focus and think what it reminds you of, ‘white winter noon light out at Stinson beach.’ Think how quickly you react to a smell, how it hauls you back to a certain place – cinnamon, urine in alley ways or a sweater that makes you ache for how it smells like your mother washed it. The metamorphosis of your entire surroundings is trickier. But this is where you get to have more fun. You see things you’ve never seen. I’ve never been to Romania, for instance, but I mentioned it earlier. I believe in opening my eyes and senses so wide they deceive me and I am all the happier for it.