Back Bite

Vacation Hesitations

Post 246 of 930

back-biteAshish Jagtiani is the name he was born with, though that is a bit of an urban legend. He goes by the name of Jaggu, a very popular name across the airwaves. Dry, dark and lucid would describe him aptly, where one can only hope that one is not on the receiving end of that unholy trio.


There is the summer vacation and then there is the planning of the summer vacation. As it turns out, there is also the talking about the thinking of, the planning of, the actual experience of and the recovering from the summer vacation. Somewhere in between, you have to throw in the cost of it all, subtly. The talking bit is the most important part of it, because really, what is the point of the experience if it cannot be shared. Just as a problem shared is a problem halved, an experience shared is both joy and jealousy doubled.

But this is Dubai, you don’t do the usual, otherwise what will you tell people. Do you really want to take the risk of saying ‘I’m holidaying in London this year.’ When will you learn that London is not where you go on vacation, that’s where the summer residence is, and who goes home to holiday, don’t be downmarket.

Maybe you will have the bright idea of visiting your relatives Stateside, or perhaps the Far East. Don’t be silly. Remember in that case you will forever have to give up grumbling benefits when your relatives do the same to you by visiting Dubai. Besides, very few have relatives in exotic locations, and NY, LA, HK are so passé.

Then there is the novelty angle. You’re planning a holiday destination that you would really like to tell your friends about. It truly is terrible when you start telling them how excited you are about your trip to the Amalfi coast and you begin to get advice about where you should go and what you should see. It’s slightly worse when you come back and tell the story and your friends sympathise with you at having missed out on the sights that they did see on their trip to the same place, before you got there. ‘You didn’t visit the Vallo di Diano e Alburni? What a waste, then why did you go?’ And in your head you’re thinking what the hell is a Vallo and who the heck is Diano?!  You also have to worry about going to places that are clichéd, and I don’t mean going to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate bridge. In these times of world travel, Sri Lanka, Thailand and that lot, large parts of Europe and the US are literally off the charts. As are some random places that have got famous because they featured in the popular serial Game of Thrones or Shahrukh Khan’s Fan which are no go areas because it will make you look like you are aping the crowd. Frankly, you want to be a trend setter not a friend follower.

You might find a place that works, but then you have to worry about the experience you have there. You could go to the Grand Canyon, but not only have your friends been there when they were children, frankly it’s just a really big hole. Instead, you should have gone to the Panama Canal when they were expanding it and helped dig the thing. Now that’s an experience.

You could find the finest wildlife safari in the deepest African forest to go lion spotting, but you know what, safaris are over. Hell, people keep lions as pets in these parts. But if you went on a safari and spent the night in a lion’s cave and had a breakfast of antelope omelette with the beast, now that would be an experience worth talking about. That is, if you lived to tell the tale.

You don’t just take a road trip, you buy the car. You don’t visit a historic castle, you rent it for your vacation and you don’t just visit museums, you have them shut down to the public for the day so you can take a private tour. If you’re not vacationing in style, there is no point in making the trip. Matter of fact, the idea is not to vacation, it is to indulge in bespoke experiences. Simply, that means doing what others can’t afford to do or don’t have the connections to organise.

This summer, as you are planning your family vacation, keep in mind that if it isn’t unique, it’s pointless.

In that vein, this is my plan for the holidays; hire the best damn travel agent there is and have them plan out a detailed, elaborate fortnight in the Bora Bora islands. Its exact location is the middle of nowhere. The itinerary will include island hopping by sea plane, having a meal at the Presidential Palace at the invitation of the current resident, helicoptering down into the volcanoes that are a defining part of the island, help finalising the location for the new man-made island they plan to build, donate a hefty enough amount so they name it after my great-grandfather and in my spare time go on a couple of shark feeding dives around the lagoon. How would you know whether I actually went or not. I say in all earnestness I did go, I have a printout of my itinerary and pictures that I downloaded from the internet to prove that I did.