Holidays are meant to be filled with fun and relaxation; whatever form that may take. However, in this age of accessible technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult to leave thoughts of home and work behind, and many people find that it takes a while to de-stress and embrace the holiday vibe. In fact, most holiday makers switch on their smartphones, tablets or laptops within minutes of reaching their holiday destination and a shocking 86% check their emails while they are away.
While this may seem like an unavoidable symptom of our workaholic, tech-aholic society, research shows that learning something new on holiday can help you to leave home and work behind, allowing you to truly relax. Learning a new skill on holiday forces you to focus your mind on something completely different to your normal routines as you switch off and become absorbed in the moment. What’s more, it allows you to embrace your holiday environment and develop a greater affinity with the culture. We look at some of the best things to learn, and where to learn them.
Cooking in Thailand
One of the most salient elements of a holiday is the food; the flavours and smells will invoke happy holiday memories for many years to come. Taking a cookery course will help you to understand the produce and processes, and allow you to recreate signature dishes on your return home. Not only will you be able to show off your new culinary skills, but you will be able to recreate magical memories of your holiday. Thai cookery schools are plentiful so it is important that you do your research. Cooking with Poo is based in Klong Toey, Bangkok’s largest slum. Here you will learn the true secrets of Thai cuisine while meeting the “real” side of Bangkok. Poo and her team will show you their community, take you to the Klong Toey Wet Market, where you will learn about, and buy, fresh local produce, before returning to their cookery school to taste, learn and cook your own food.
Salsa in Cuba
The salsa dance is sexy, sassy and full of energy, and there is nowhere better to learn it than Cuba. There are a host of salsa dance classes on offer in Cuba, from dance package holidays, to day courses. It is wise to research salsa lessons before you go to Cuba, but if you want the true salsa experience, check out a local matinee (the equivalent of a tea dance), where you will be able to meet and see dancers and book lessons direct. This will give you a less commercial experience, allow you to experience the vibrancy and dynamism of the classic Cuban salsa first-hand.
Yoga in India
Whether you are a novice or experienced, yoga is very personal and, for this reason, the best place to learn yoga differs for each person. However, if you want value for money, an incredible cultural experience and warm climes, Kerala in India could be the place for you. Near the Neyyar Dam Tiger Reserve, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhantwantari Ashram offers intense yoga courses, for a minimum of two weeks. Operating on a schedule from 5.30am – 10pm, the course requires commitment, but there are lots of breaks included and the schedule is designed to enable you to relax and focus entirely on yourself in a way that normal holidays don’t.
Wine Tasting in South Africa
A must for wine-lovers, wine tasting will help you to understand and appreciate the wines of your holiday destination and know what to look for when you get home; finding a wine at home that you tasted on holiday is like uncorking an instant holiday in a bottle! Located 15 miles West of Cape Town, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s most famous wine region. The terrain ranges from the gently rolling hills of Helderberg in the South to the foothills of Simonsberg Mountain, allowing for a broad variety of grapes, while the clay-rich soil provides just the right levels of water, perfect for growing red wine grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Wine tasting tours range from week-long, intensive affairs to the Vinehopper, a hop on-hop off tour, which allows you to visit 6 vineyards for the price of a good bottle of wine.
Whatever your preferences, one thing is certain: learning a skill on holiday will help to enrich your holiday experience and help you to clear your mind and relax. For more tips and advice on getting the most out of your holiday, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.