You must have heard about the beautiful Italian concept of “La Dolce Far Niente” if you’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book (Eat, Pray, Love) or saw a movie based on it. It simply means the sweetness and beauty of doing nothing. I got it right this time. In Galle.
A perfect and meticulously planned itinerary has been a centerpiece of all my travels. Leaving the hotel just after early breakfast and coming back, exhausted, just in time for dinner. Ticking places off the list has always been the prime aim of my holidays. The tradition continued till I tasted the sweetness of doing nothing on a beach holiday in Sri Lanka.
“There’s a Marine Archeological Museum nearby, I said as I spelled out the Galle itinerary, “and a beautiful Dutch Church. The museum would be a learning experience for our little daughter, what say?” Hubby gave a brief look at me while lazing on a beach and then continued looking at our daughter who was busy writing in the sand and enjoying as the waves wash it away.
I gazed at the shoreline with golden sand washed by emerald green waves intermittently and the sun making the endless ocean look like an authentic gemstone. I repeated the question pretending to myself that hubby hasn’t heard it right the first time. He gazed at me with a super quizzical look and replied, “I’m really not in a mood to go anywhere and if you ask Amishi (our daughter), she’d echo my reply.” “Let’s enjoy the moment,” he said cupping my face. With that, he went back to his relax mode leaving me to ponder over my oh so perfect itinerary going wrong.
I sat in utter despair, pondering,” What’s the point of a vacation if we are doing nothing?” Have we come this far to do nothing? What am I suppose to do? What’s fun just lying on the beach doing nothing at all? I complained. To myself of course. Observing that hubby and daughter aren’t even being considerate, I relinquished. Realizing that there’s no use being whiny and huffy, I sat there, looked around – kids were having fun running around the beach, people were reading while lying on the beach towels and some were catching up with the power nap. I laid back and felt so much at ease as I admired the vast Indian Ocean. “It’s not that bad,” I thought to myself. I started reading Ruskin Bond’s Tales of the Open Road and as I read about author’s love for mountains while gazing at the bay now and again, I felt my physical and mental stress fading away. It was satisfying and addicting. And I had simply been wearing the ocean all day. Yeah!!!
Galle is literally a place to do absolutely nothing at all, which is exactly what we did. We spent the whole day drinking in the pretty sight of the salty sea, eating delectable Sri Lankan food, and indulging in never-ending and long conversations with the family. Believe me holding on to the precious moments like this is far better than ticking off the number of places from the list. Holidays are all about being relaxed and unhurried, spending soulful time with loved ones, and relishing each and every moment. I’m glad I listened to hubby. I have learned to slow down and that fear of missing out (FOMO) has gone with the wind. With sand in sandals and smile on faces…without visiting famous attractions…we said au revoir to Galle…I perfected the art of doing nothing without feeling guilty.
So, a key takeaway from my last trip of 2017 to Sri Lanka is to Just be. It might sound overindulgent but believe me, it is wonderfully regenerating and productive. We actually miss out because we tend to do too much and be too little. Enjoy the moment.
What about you? Have you ever had “La Dolce Far Niente” moments? I’d love to hear your story.
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