Why I do hate to be by the seaside

I think too much on holiday — give me the anaesthetic of the office any day


By Bryony Gordon, February 18, 2010
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My father wants us to go on holiday to Israel. He always wants us to go on holiday to Israel. "Why don't we go on holiday to Israel?" he says, about 78 times a year, "and discover our roots." I tell him that if I want to discover my roots, I will have a look in the mirror at the pitifully fading highlights in my hair. He never laughs.

It's not that I have anything against Israel - clearly, I don't, or I would not be writing for this paper. It's holidays that I do not hold with. I do not want to go on holiday to Israel, or anywhere else.

I say this as somebody who has just been on two holidays back to back. These holidays were my first in 18 months. I was really pleased with myself for not going anywhere "on holiday" for the whole of 2009, but my colleagues were not so impressed. They looked at me, at my horribly pale skin and the fact that I seemed to be developing rickets due to a lack of exposure to the sun, and they said: "You really need to go on holiday."

So I did. I went to the Maldives, and then I went to St Lucia - as you do - and they were lovely places, really they were. Much nicer than London. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear oceans, friendly locals: what's not to love? It's just that while I could happily live there, holidaying was entirely different.

When get back you are treated like a pariah for daring to have had winter sun

I'm no good at relaxing, you see. Stick me on a sun lounger with nothing but a trashy novel and the blazing sun for company and I panic. Suddenly, every stupid decision I have made since my last holiday fills my head. The office may be grey and full of artificial strip lighting but at least I am busy and thus afforded a holiday from myself.

But on the beach, I mull over my romantic failures and my blunders at work. I remember that I forgot to email so-and-so back in October 2008. I check my BlackBerry every 15 minutes, as if the world might collapse otherwise, when my colleagues are probably actively pleased that I am not there.

Then, when you return to London - usually on a delayed flight, having already added on an extra hour and a half for security - you are greeted like a pariah by your friends, for daring to have had some winter sun.

"Oh go away," hiss colleagues, on passing you in the corridor. "You look so well." (This is said as if it is a bad thing). But you don't feel well, because of the jet-lag, and when compared to them, all pale and interesting, you just look like you need a good wash.

I don't expect much sympathy for this, but I think I need a break from holidays.

Bryony Gordon writes for The Daily Telegraph

Last updated: 4:35pm, June 3 2010

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