Last year I took a mini vacation with major effect. It was called a Midweek Time Out Relaxation vacation, and I just returned from my second one. It’s basically three days of being mindful and attentive in everything that you do during your day, plus yoga in the morning and meditation in the evening.

The organisation offering these retreats is housed in a former monastery dating back to the 1100s. The place hasn’t been a monastery for at least 400 years, but a lot of the original setting still exits, such as the housings, the walls surrounding the monastery, as well as the vast grounds.

There’s a sun garden to lounge around in, a medicinal herb garden, orchards, vegetable patches. And it’s beautiful all around. You hear nothing but the birds twittering. No mobile phones, radio, tv, computers, nothing. Blessed silence.

Both times I went, after a three-day stay I felt like having been on a three-week vacation. Relaxed, content, pensive, realising how useless the stress is that I usually create for myself. I hope I can make the effects of these beautiful surroundings and the serenity last until I go back there next year.


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