The holiday

Published: Jul 18, 2019 by C.S. Rhymes

He sat in his seat, trying to stretch his legs in what little room he had with seats squeezed in both each side and in front. He had dozed off just after take off, trying to relax after the hustle and bustle of the airport. He never understood airports. Everyone rushing to get to the front of the queue to board the plane, even though everyone had pre-booked seats months in advance, people lugging their suitcases through the airport instead of checking them in to the hold.

All that fuss was over with for the time being, all he had to cope with now was being crammed into a tight fitting seat for several hours without enough room to straighten his legs or his arms.

He shut his eyes again and laid back in the chair, trying to forget his current surroundings.

He thought back to when he first decided he needed to go away for awhile and recharge. He had been working long hours at his day job, trying to get that project finished on time, but still working on his personal projects in the evenings. He started his side project as a bit of fun but it had started to take off after a chance feature on a tech blog helped promote it to the world. Everyday more and more users were logging in and creating accounts, the system going viral.

He was pushing himself hard, he knew that, but he had to keep on top of things, keep working on his side project, keeping the new users happy with regular updates and new features. He was keeping on top of things, just about.

But one night, when the server crashed, and he had to pull an all nighter to get everything back up and running again, he finally told himself enough is enough. Time for a holiday.

He hadn’t been on a holiday for years. He remembered booking a holiday with his mates just before going to university. Back then he had to pop down to the local travel agent and flick through a load of brochures, looking at pictures of hotels. All the pictures showed the hotel in brilliant sunshine with the bluest and cleanest pools you will ever see.

The thing that made the hotels look so attractive was the fact there was no one there in the pictures. It looked like a lovely quiet paradise where you are the only guest, but when you actually get there you realise the hotel has 500 rooms full of people all trying to get one of the 100 sunbeds at the same time each morning as the pool opened.

This time booking a holiday would be so much easier.

He had access to a multitude of different booking and price comparison services on the internet. There were pictures, videos and reviews of every hotel you could imagine all over the world, all available at his fingertips. He searched for an hour, then another, then another, but never found exactly what he was looking for. Just when he thought he had found the perfect location he read one out of the thousand reviews that was negative. After that he couldn’t shake a bad feeling about the hotel, despite the 999 other positive reviews.

This was not working. Finding a holiday was turning out to be even more stressful than working.

He decided enough was enough. He would never find the perfect holiday this way.

Instead, he would play a game of chance. He opened 5 web browser tabs, each with a different travel search engine. He put the dates in and the departure location, but with no destination. Whichever returned the first search result would be his chosen holiday destination.

And now he was on a plane on the way to a mysterious Greek island. He knew nothing about the island, knew nothing about the hotel apart from its name and the town, not that he could pronounce it properly. He didn’t even know if there was a pool or a restaurant at the hotel. He didn’t care about reviews, he would make his own mind up.

The plane started descending for the landing and soon touched down smoothly onto the island’s tarmac runway.

Everyone else stood up as soon as the seat belt sign was turned off and started getting their bags from the overhead storage compartments, filling the already crowded aisle even more. People shuffling for position whilst trying to still be semi polite to the other passengers. Personal space was no longer a priority as people waited for the plane doors to open.

As the door finally opened, he sat still in his chair, letting everyone else push past each other in the rush for the exit. Once the aisles had cleared he finally stood up and gathered his belongings. He walked towards the door along the aisle, saying thank you to the cabin crew waiting at the end.

He turned and got his first look of his destination.

The sunlight made him squint after the relative darkness of the inside of the plane. He took a step forward, out of the air conditioned plane and into the midday heat. It felt like he was being blasted by a hair dryer as the temperature suddenly increased by 10 degrees.

He put on his sunglasses and smiled. Whatever was in store for him here he knew it would be a trip to remember.