The Power Of Active Holidays

Our “normal” lives consist of 4 components. They are; Sleep, Work, Survival and Personal Time. The chart below shows us this breakdown over a 24 hour period.

On average most adults sleep between 7.5 to 8 hours per night. Of course, many people say they sleep less, but on average these hours are accurate.

Adults also work between 8-9 hours per day.

The part of the day I refer to as Survival consists of looking after the kids, eating, commuting to and from work, bathing etc. All the stuff we do just to function in the world today. On average we need 3 hours per day just to survive.


Which leaves us with a precious 4 hours to ourselves, in a time I call Personal. It is in this time that hobbies are attended to, deep relationships are made, books are read, dreams are created. It is the time where Magic happens in our lives and it is about the only time in our lives that we will look back on with fondness.

However, there is a problem with this 4 hours, as it is often taken up by distractions such as television and more and more by our handheld devices. So much so, that a recent survey showed that we are spending nearly 3 hours per day on our devices, leaving us with just 1 hour of precious Personal time per day. Madness!



It is no wonder then that we feel so amazing, so connected with ourselves, with nature and with the people we are with when we go trekking. The second chart shows us that we still have about 8 hours sleep each day, just as we do in our “normal” lives.

We still need some Survival time, but this has now dwindled down to 1 hour a day, to shower and eat.


The marked difference between our “normal” lives and our “adventure” life is our Personal time. It has blown out from 4 hours to 15 hours. In these 15 hours, you have time to be with yourself, walking at a natural rhythm that encourages dreaming and ideas and possibility. You have time to talk with friends, to laugh and explore. You have time to reflect and your mind becomes creative and free.


And if you are travelling where there is no wifi, no internet, then your phone becomes just a camera and thus the lost 3 hours a day to your flat friend is gained back to be with your real friends. Being on an active holiday such as trekking in the Dolomites, or the Tour du Mont Blanc, or Everest or Kokoda (and the list goes on) is unlike any other holiday, because your Personal time is yours, to be with friends or family. On more sedentary holidays, sitting by the pool is now taken up by our smart devices, surfing the web, watching Netflix and being disconnected from the person lying right next to you.

It is no wonder after an adventure holiday, people return home not only revitalised, with fresh minds full of potential, but with a sense of foreboding, what I term the post-trek blues. “Normal” life quickly bares down on them as that precious Personal time is quickly robbed from them as they head back to work, turn on their devices and sit in traffic.

Yet what I have found is that our mind, body and spirit needs time for itself. That is why when we are on an active holiday, totally disconnected, we start to feel complete, connected to ourselves, nature and those around us. Of course, we can’t do it every day of our lives, but we can learn from the experience.

We can:
1/ Disconnect from our devices more, maybe limiting ourselves when we have time for ourselves to an hour per day or don’t look at the device during meals, or turn them to flight mode on the weekend.
2/ At work (if the boss permits) take a walk or two per day. It resets the mind, and your productivity will increase.
3/ Savour mealtimes with friends and family and use Survival time as Personal time. Family dinners are such an important part of life and so are those intimate dinners with your loved ones.
4/ Take a train to work. And read a book, not an iPhone. This turns Survival time into Personal time.


Now is the time to retake control of your day, to take back those lost hours surviving and in front of the smartphone, and focusing on your true self, the one that you know is constantly crying out for more attention. You don’t have to wait for your next adventure. Now is the time to walk down to the beach or to the top of a hill and breathe in the fresh air, to stretch your body out and take in the world at its best, knowing you have taken control of your time and left the phone in the car.