There are some things that should just come naturally to all of us, not least how to relax while taking a holiday overseas. But it seems Singaporeans could learn to be better holidaymakers.
According to a 2015 survey of 34 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, some 32 per cent of Singaporeans found it hard to let go of work while on a vacation and 51 per cent said their bosses expect them to be contactable. The survey received responses from 400 people in Singapore.
It is a pity there are no SkillsFuture courses to help us learn to leave work behind and truly enjoy a holiday. That’s why Scoot and Destination New South Wales are bringing Singaporeans a national movement with a series of experiences to help you upskill your holiday by exploring Sydney and New South Wales (#DoNSW). But if these experiences were skill courses, here’s what you can experience when you #DoNSW:
EXPERIENCE CREATING A FOOD BABY
Location: Surry Hills, Sydney
For those of you who have not had the joy of patting your own rounded belly or had well-meaning strangers pat your rounded belly, this experience allows you to do so. Surry Hills, a gentrified district formerly comprising industrial warehouses, is defined by its ever-changing, ever-vibrant food scene. Locals say it is home to some of the best coffee in the city, and it seems to always have a hot new eatery to check out, whether it is New York-style bagels or award-winning Japanese fare.
After sufficient indulgence in various pastries, snacks and brunches in Surry Hills, you are likely to nurse a temporary rounded belly, not to mention a big taste of food. Don’t be surprised if strangers give up their seats for you — they are just being nice to who they think is a pregnant person.
BE A MASTER TOE WIGGLER
Location: Nielsen Park, Sydney
The art of toe wiggling, once widely practised before the Industrial Revolution and certainly before the invention of covered footwear, has seen a sharp decline in practitioners due to changes to lifestyle, fashion, landscapes and occupational demands. Hot tarmac and abrasive concrete pavements just aren’t friendly to bare human feet. This experience will teach you how to liberate your toes and properly navigate and enjoy the pristine sands of Nielsen Park Beach without the need for pesky footwear.
With three large sheltered picnic areas and great views of the harbour, Nielsen Park is a highly recommended spot for chillaxing as well as toe-wiggling. Free your toes, lounge on the grass and enjoy your lunch beneath the shade of leafy trees. Stroll along the scenic walking track or explore the area by kayak.
EMBRACE THE HIGH OF HANGING LOOSE
LEARN TO WALK AWAY FROM CIVILISATION
Location: Pulpit Rock, Blue Mountains National Park
Spending most of life in polluted, noisy and congested cities can take its toll on one's mental health. It is important to know when to take a step (or many steps) away from stress triggers such as traffic jams, crowds, overwork, office politics, squabbling children, unending household chores, and endless queues everywhere. This experience will take you through ancient forests in the Blue Mountains to witness awe-inspiring rock formations and jaw-dropping views.
There are several styles of “walking away”: guided walks with Tread Lightly Eco Tours and Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout to explore flora, fauna and Aboriginal history and culture. For extra course credits, you can even participate in a challenging three-day hike with Life’s An Adventure.
BE A LEADER IN TRAILBLAZING
Location: Stockton Sand Dunes, Port Stephens
Prolonged use of Singapore’s public transport system could dull one’s senses as a result of long periods of waiting. This experience will reignite your thirst for adrenaline and adventure, or even the urge to just get up and go, somewhere, anywhere, and preferably roar triumphantly at the same time. Learn to manoeuvre an All Terrain Vehicle through the largest shifting sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere at speeds of up to 40kmh. Recommended for mid-career, hardcore workaholics.
CLEANSE YOUR SOUL
Location: Bogey Hole, Newcastle
PEDAL AWAY FROM THE RAT RACE
Location: Hunter Valley
Location: Montague Island
Designed for those who desire little or no human interaction, this experience offers you instant immersion into the home of seals at Montague Island. Home to a colony of Australian fur seals and thousands of little penguins, it plunges participants into an environment with perhaps fewer people than animals. Swim, snorkel or dive with hundreds of fur seals in the crystal-clear waters of the island located 9km off the coast of Narooma. The playful and inquisitive Australian fur seals are the largest fur seals in the world. Fifteen species of birds also nest on the island.
For an even more upskilled experience, you could stay on the treasured island at the beautifully refurbished Montague Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, built in 1881. National Parks and Wildlife Service runs day and overnight eco tours to the Montague Island Nature Reserve, where you can join a penguin research project during your stay.
You are reminded to avoid the following subjects with the seals: deadlines, paperwork, traffic, taxes and unpleasant coworkers. Languages banned during class include double-speak, office jargon, and meaningless acronyms.
HIDE FROM EMAILS
Location: Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains
Visit www.flyscoot.com/sydney to book your tickets and #DoNSW for an upskilled holiday experience.