Taking a Break

Travel is always a good time to gain a different perspective on things. You’re out of your comfort zone, experiencing new things, having to process different languages, foods, etc. A beach holiday is a good time for relaxing but a travel holiday is more stimulating and requiring more thinking.

ribI’m having an even greater amount of stimulus this holiday, which is requiring me to be even more aware and more thoughtful. A couple of days before we flew off on a week-long holiday to two countries we’ve never been to before, I slipped on our marble stairs and cracked a rib. It’s in the back, so it doesn’t restrict my breathing, and I’m not completely incapacitated, but it hurts horribly when I twist or bend or move suddenly, when I cough or sneeze or laugh.

There’s no treatment for a fractured rib except for painkillers. Doctors won’t tape it up (it restricts your breathing and can lead to more lung complications) and they don’t recommend bed rest. You just have to live with it until it heals – about 6-8 weeks.

That means I have to be mindful about how I move, how I sit and stand, and how I react to things around me. When I’m out walking, I have to look at where I place my feet to avoid slips or stumbles. In crowded areas, I have to monitor other people’s movements to avoid bumps or having to change directions quickly. When riding in a car or plane or train, I’m paying attention to speed and vibration to brace myself for sudden braking or ride out turbulence and bumps. Entering a new place, I look for best places to sit or stand to be able to get out of a seat safely.

It means that I’m being extra aware of my surroundings and more mindful of my body. It’s not a restful experience, but I’m finding it quite interesting. I would certainly NOT recommend it, but in some ways it’s heightening my experience of travel. Little things (like cobblestones, furniture, stair rails, etc.) which would normally not register now loom large. I’m still paying attention to the architecture and cultural practices, but I’m looking at the micro scale as well as macro. I’m not only admiring the skyline, but also the curbsides.

Excuse me. I have to go take a couple more ibuprofen before our next excursion.


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