Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Nine years ago, when we were just babies, Alex and I took a vacation to Paris. Although we ate our weight in chocolate croissants and rode bikes by Notre Dame at night, the part I remember most about our trip was…

…doing nothing.

Our fourth night there, we decided to scrap our restaurant reservation and stay in. We had rented a dive-y studio apartment, and we brought home stinky cheeses and red wine (decanted in an old coffee maker). We opened the windows and watched Seinfeld reruns, while cars honked on the street below. It was an evening I’ll always remember. It just felt so fun and relaxing, like we didn’t have a care in the world.

So, this week, when I was reading Bon Appetit’s travel advice, this blurb by Carey Polis jumped out:

It’s not possible to hit every place on your list. So don’t even try. That desire to visit 30 different spots is also what makes you end vacation more tired than when you began. Which is why I always carve out do-nothing time. Maybe that means sleeping late, having a leisurely breakfast and actually reading the books I schlepped. Or I’ll have an early dinner at the one restaurant I really want to try, then head back to the hotel, rock the complimentary robe and watch whatever awesomely bad movie happens to be on TV. Nothing says vacation like She’s All That.

Somehow, those in-between moments can be so magical, right?

Thoughts? What random moments have you enjoyed on trips? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Traveling alone, and another weird thing we do on vacations.

(Photo of Natalie Portman in Hotel Chevalier)