x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Wonders of just a little time apart at every holiday

A little time apart is the secret to a happy holiday, even when couples want to do different things.

A friend, married five years now, recently disclosed her secret for a happy holiday with her husband.

"The first vacation we ever took together was our honeymoon to Paris," she disclosed. "I was both excited and apprehensive; what if we ran out of things to talk about? What if we wanted to do completely separate things? What if we started feeling trapped, forced to be with one another 24/7?"

I thought these were absolutely legitimate fears to have, and I told her so. She smiled, that secretive, all-knowing type of smile, and leaned in a little closer.

"Here's the thing; we never ran out of things to talk about. We walked the streets, tried escargot for the first time, ate an obscene amount of crepes, took silly pics in front of the Eiffel Tower and had an amazing time."

And her point?

"One day on our honeymoon, we spent a day apart."

That unexpected quirk to their holiday, she said, has become a little vacation tradition they enjoy on every trip together.

"I wanted to do some shopping in quaint French boutiques, and he wanted to watch a soccer game he was adamant about not missing - no thank you! So we split up for the day then met later on for a dinner date. It was wonderful."

She insists it is both refreshing and liberating to have time alone to do exactly what you want, before reuniting for a romantic dinner to share stories and photos of a day spent missing your life and travel partner.

I can see the appeal, regardless of the fact that I crave vacations together so I can have Mr T to myself all the time, completely and utterly. A day apart would take away the guilt I harbour from dragging him around the shops, even if he never utters a word of complaint. A day apart means I can have three scoops of ice cream for lunch without worrying if I'm depriving him of a sit-down meal at a restaurant he's been eyeing.

Everyone has their favourite vacation quirks - I like to curl up in a cafe with a book, which is hard to understand when there's so much to see in a new city. I can read a book in a cafe in my own city, I know, but it's still a personal bit of me-time that is perfect to indulge in when one is on vacation. It's a treat, having a complete day just to yourself, comfortable in the knowledge that at the end of the day, you'll be reunited with the one person in the world you can't wait to talk to, and share your adventures with.

Mr T doesn't know it yet, but we might have to split up on the next holiday we take together and try this little trick. And we'll have to do it soon, before this little baby makes an appearance in a few months and demands that both parents are at its beck and call.

My only worry, of course, is that my poor husband, who readily admits that he has no sense of direction whatsoever, will get lost in a foreign locale and not be there to meet me for our romantic dinner date at the end of a day apart.