The magic of simple pleasures

When was the last time you took a few days to remember the magic of simple pleasures?

That’s what I’ve been doing for the last week in the beautiful Basque city of San Sebastian, and as a result, I’m feeling more relaxed and rested than I have done in a long time. To be honest, I’d been feeling a bit worried about this trip; the region can be quite expensive, and for some silly reason I felt pressured to go to lots of expensive restaurants to make sure we had a good time.

But actually, instead of expensive day trips and pricey dinners, we focused on the simple pleasure, from enjoying cheap, local food to walking for miles and miles. As a result, it was the nicest trip I’ve been on in a long time – so here are the simple pleasure I enjoyed on the trup.

The magic of simple pleasures 

Finding the best bakery in the city (hint: it’s the one locals are queueing out the door for), buying an insane amount of pastry, and eating it overlooking the sea.

On that note: being by water, constantly. The sea or a river or a bloody big fountain. Water instantly makes me feel calm.

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Hiking, for a long time, on tricky enough terrain that you have to really think about where you’re stepping. There is such a simple, meditative bliss on focusing on nothing other than putting your feet in front of you.

Deleting work emails off your phone. Unless you have a very serious job or are an entrepreneur, it’s unlikely that you need to be contactable all the time. If your work emails are liable to stress you out despite the fact you can’t action them, why on earth would you read them?

Eating a sandwich made with cheap, local ingredients, overlooking something beautiful. San Sebastián is noted for its prevalence of Michelin star restaurants, and I seriously considered booking one with an amazing view over the city for Adam’s birthday. This would have cost circa €350, and probably would have been incredible – but honestly, eating a ham and cheese baguette at the zenith of a four hour hike, overlooking the Atlantic, was one of my favourite moments of the trip and cost approximately €10.

Watching football in a bar, eating meat and cheese piled on bread, drinking beer, talking with strangers, explaining the group stages of the world cup to Americans.

Playing cards and drinking beer with the person I love.

Reading greedily. I’ve always been a voracious and speedy reader, but over the last year, I’ve spent so much time at work reading and writing that I sometimes get home and slump out on the sofa with my phone instead of picking up a book. This week I’ve remembered the pleasure of tearing through book after book. (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Everything I Know About Love, Affluenza, I Choose To Live, High Fidelity and About a Boy, if you’re wondering. All recommended!)

Spanish wine.

img_8192Spanish Cheesecake. (Sorry not sorry about the crappy photo: this stuff has been voted Spain’s 6th best cheesecake and I can vouch that it is DELICIOUS).

Giving myself the freedom to indulge in whatever I want to indulge in, without feeling guilty or uncomfortable.

Sleeping without an alarm, napping in the sun, cuddling in bed.

Thinking about writing without actually doing it, until the ideas build up in my brain and start bouncing around.

It’s been a stressful few weeks and I couldn’t be more relieved to be feeling myself again; next time I’m feeling frazzled, I’ll look back on this list for a reminder of the importance of simple pleasures on holiday.

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