When A Holiday Destination Is Too Good To Leave : Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Everybody falls in love with a holiday destination from time to time, but are you brave enough to miss your flight and stay forever?  When it’s head versus heart, common sense doesn’t always win the day.  And that’d a very good thing indeed.

As first published in The Exchange Magazine, 2011

Now, at The Exchange we’re no medical experts (although we did once try to claim we were when the powers-that-be-discovered the doctors and nurses uniforms in our desk), but we’re willing to make a bet with you that at some point in your life you suffered from a severe case of PHEB-itis – it’s our own acronym, so remember where you heard it from first.

Symptoms of PHEB-itis are disillusionment, paranoia, and gut-wrenching dread. Physical sickness has been known to occur for extreme cases, and for years there has been no known cure.

By our (made-up) statistics, 99.9% of holidaymakers have suffered from it, and it shows no sign of abating. You’ve had it, your next door neighbour’s had it, and even the health freak in your office who takes potions and pills every day to ward off illness has had it. It’s a pandemic.

But what is this disease that has been sweeping the nation for the past century, and what can be done about it?

PHEB-itis AKA Pre-Holiday Exit Blues is the moment you realise your fantasy holiday world is coming to a sad end, and the hum- drum of your real-life is hurtling up towards you at a rate of knots.

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We’ve all been there, suffering from acute PHEB-itis as we feel the joy that flows through our body during a particularly life-affirming vacation making way for the near tangible emptiness that tomorrow brings.

For a truly great travel experience makes us feel alive in ways we cannot create through other means. It brings back those memories of a bygone age when a teenage version of ourselves felt that nothing was impossible; the first love we chased around on the sun-drenched beach, the rose-tinted recollections of incessant sunshine and dreams of rock’n’roll/movie/ sporting stardom (delete as appropriate) – all playing in our heads in glorious sepia-vision. It connects our mind and soul in a way we’re not ready for, and makes the world wonderful for a moment.

But as wise men say, all good things have to come to an end, and they are wise after all. However, those same wise men are no different to you and us, and the higher the high they feel, the lower the low feels when PHEB-itis kicks in for them on their penultimate getaway day.

However, a cure has been identified to end this suffering once and for all. Be warned though, side-effects include a regular tan, work- life balance, and a year-round smile on your face. And not forgetting a hefty hit to the bank balance.

Because, dear reader, the 100% money- back guaranteed solution (“this is not a 100% money-back guaranteed solution – please desist from writing this article, pack up your desk, but leave the nurses outfits”, TEM lawyers) is to listen to your aching soul pleading with you not to go.

Yes, it’s that simple. That voice inside your head that’s urging you to stay and make a life in the sun is your subconscious, and your subconscious is your friend. It knows when you are sad, and it knows how to make you happy. You just need to trust it.

A growing number of holidaymakers are doing just this, simply asking themselves the question, ‘if I am happy here, and unfulfilled in my reality, do I really want to go back to my old life?’ More often than not the answer is “no”, and because they have the financial means to make it happen more and more City people are taking the plunge, buying their dream home overseas, and uprooting to paradise.

It takes courage, and a healthy savings account, but those that make the leap rarely regret what they’ve done.

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Andy Dukes was one such individual who traded up his life when he fell in love with Dubai.

“I was a hard-working businessman, and had spent years of my life focused upon stressful work and making my company successful. After a hard slog, I finally got the business to a point where it was attractive to buyers, and sold up.

At this point, I felt I had to get back to work again, and had my mind set on repeating the process. That is until I went to Dubai on a break to get away from the stresses of selling a company.

They say that there are magic moments in your life when you simply know that you are in the right place at the right time, and the minute I got off the plane I knew that this was home for me. The weather, the people and the lifestyle were sensational, but it was more than this – it just felt perfect.

I had a fabulous six days’ worth of holiday there until I got to the final day of the trip, and the familiar pangs of dread spread through me, making me feel paralysed with abject disappointment. I just didn’t want to go back to cold, rainy England, and the nose-to-the- grindstone life I had ahead of me.

I remember clearly hoping I would lose my passport and have to stay, or for the flight to be cancelled, but sure enough tomorrow came, my passport was where I’d left it, and the internet told me my flight was right on time. However, it was when leaving my hotel that I saw an estate agents across the road, and made the most important journey of my life.

That journey was less than 100 yards across a quiet road, but it changed my life more than thousands of miles of flying ever had, as I discovered they were building the Palm Jumeirah just half a mile from where I stood. This feat of engineering brilliance would raise the bottom of the ocean to create a perfect man-made sand palm tree growing three miles out to sea – a project so ambitious it would later be nominated to be one of the modern wonders of the world.

Upon the many branches off of the central ‘trunk’ (or fronds as they call them in Dubai), some of the world’s most luxurious villas would be built, creating a community of the successful, where celebrities would mix with businesspeople, with each villa housing its own private beach and shoreline.

I was hooked from the moment I first heard about the plans, and bowled over when I saw the villas that could be created to my own specification.

But then I had the big decision – did I play safe and return to the old life, or gamble and snap up the very first property on the Palm? Sweat ran through my hair, my heart felt like it was going to burst through my ribcage at any second. I knew, without doubt, that this was a defining moment in my life. What I said next would change my life indelibly forever.

It all seems so obvious now, but the moment I said yes I felt the weight of the world lift off of me, and the hope and excitement I felt as a teenager return. My dream lifestyle would be mine, and I would experience a 24/7 luxury holiday lifestyle all-day everyday. Don’t get me wrong, my brain was still telling me I was being foolish, and not thinking things through, but my heart was telling me there was only one possible decision I could have made.

After tying up his affairs in the UK, Dukes returned to Dubai to collect the keys to his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous style mansion on the Palm Jumeirah, and had the distinction of being the only resident on the development for weeks as work continued around him. Within a few short months, building had been completed and the world’s newest, and most exclusive community had sprung up, creating his perfect paradise hotspot.

However, the endless work-free holiday couldn’t go on forever and soon Dukes felt the familiar drive to accomplish.

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It wasn’t long before Dukes had ten villas on the Palm, and they were in high demand after being acknowledged as the very best available, with exceptional standards of décor and service from his house staff.After much thought, it finally came to me that I could allow others the chance to experience my dream Dubai life, and so began buying up other villas and making them even more luxurious than my own, so I could offer others the chance to rent this life even for a short while.”

“Having the ten luxury villas makes all the difference from living life as a permanent holiday, and feeling like I am keeping my hand in with business. However, unlike before where every day merged into another grey day, these days I am living a dream lifestyle and keeping a perfect work/life balance, meaning I feel motivated but completely satisfied.

Had I not listened to my heart all those years ago, I would be back in England slogging away endlessly, but that one decision to go with my gut-instinct has changed my life forever, and I would urge everyone who falls in love with a holiday place to be brave and go for it.”

Dukes’s story has the archetypal happy ending, but it should be noted that, like any decision where the head and heart say different things, what’s good for one isn’t necessarily best for another. However, as the SAS (and Peckham’s finest) say, ‘He Who Dares’. Do you?

You can stay at Andy Dukes’ jaw-dropping villas on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai by visiting www.dubai-holiday-villa.com. We highly recommend them. And who knows, maybe you’ll stay forever.

 

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