I haven't been abroad on a relaxing holiday in years (quite literally). Sure, I've had a couple of wonderful exciting city holidays, but it's not the same as having time to simply exist.
And it's only now, as I sit and think about the prospect of going back to work tomorrow, that I realise how important it is to take stock every once in a while. Getting bogged down by little work stresses, or the fact that your partner is getting on your nerves is natural, but it's important to realise that these are all part of the ebb and flow of life.
My friend and I were lying on the beach in Monte Gordo last Monday, and I felt really content for the first time in ages. The sun was on my face, I had a good book to hand (Never Let Me Go), and I felt a million miles away from Exeter. If I had any concerns about being able to put aside my worries, these were short lived. I bathed in the sea, looking up at the cloudless blue sky, thinking about nothing in particular.
I spent a lot of time just dozing in the sun, swimming, eating, drinking cocktails and letting the tension ebb away. I wasn't making a conscious effort not to think about home, but this holiday allowed me the distance I needed.
Now I appreciate the fresh chill in the English air, the prospect of cooking a hearty stew on a Sunday afternoon, and (most importantly) spending time with my partner again.
I think I might need an autumn holiday every year...
(And it's only seven weeks until I fly to New York!)