Savouring idleness on holiday

Savouring idleness on holiday

This year I’ve unwillingly signed up for a nomadic lifestyle. It with itself brought a lot of challenges and ad hoc movements between places, blurring the line between working and non-working time, home and away, belonging and not belonging. Quite often I’ve been on the move and I’ve missed having my own physical dwelling and my small world around me. I’ve missed my usual rituals which make a great part of my everydayness and of who I am. Instead, I’ve been torn between the countries, the houses, the Airbnbs, here and elsewhere. All my belongings are temporarily boxed up while my vital stuff is packed in a single bag with which I move around. And while I am waiting for the stars to align and I can finally move into a flat in London, I am in Novi Sad, slowly sorting and packing my things before our family house is pulled down and we need to move towards the end of the year. So basically, when I am at home, I live surrounded by the construction site, and the construction site is not really the best place to wake up in or work at. When I think about it, I hadn’t asked for all this when I wrote to Santa last year! 2020 has been nothing I was expecting it to be; my known world has disintegrated and I’ve been all over the place, both physically and mentally. But then again, I am not alone in this. The whole world has been shaken and we all need to adapt and try to find new ways of being – even if it is moving around with a bindle stick, whistling the famous ‘Hakuna Matata’ song and hoping for the best.

An escapade

To keep peace of mind, I often dislocate from reality, which is currently full of dust, noise, uncertainties and tensions. I’ve always enjoyed solitude and being in liminal spaces, where I can do things my way and without having my thoughts interrupted. I would then pack my small backpack and leave for places in which I can focus and be physically active, and which fill me up with calm and joy. These places are normally away from the cities, where the absence of humans give way to the presence of wildlife, and where the colour green exists in abundances. This time, however, I made a slightly different choice. I didn’t feel like being physically active at all, I felt like I needed grounding in a place and literally doing nothing for extended periods of time. I thus sent myself to a spa town, a settlement in the border region where the River Drina separates Serbia from Bosnia, nestled between the foot of the wooded mountain Gučevo and the city of Loznica. This place, built around sulphuric thermal springs many moons ago, became my temporary sanctuary.

Banja Koviljača is not only the oldest spa town in Serbia but has been also known as the elite Royal Spa Resort with cutting-edge medical services. Its history dates far back into the past, however, the turning point in its development marked the year 1858 when the healing properties of its thermal springs and mineral peloid (mud) started to be used in the treatment of various diseases. Here, King Aleksandar I Karađorđević built Kur-salon for the entertainment purposes of the aristocratic elite. It contained the lavish ballrooms, the first gambling room in the Balkans, and an avant-garde congress centre. Banja Koviljača cemented its reputation as a spa town during the reign of King Petar I Karađorđević who built for himself the sulphuric bathtub near his residential palace. The spa consequently became a modern centre for prevention, healing and rehabilitation. In 1998, it was named the “Special hospital for rehabilitation Banja Koviljača” positioning itself among Europe’s state of the art rehabilitation centres. I simply thought this sounded like an ideal place to be, to heal my RA joints and exhausted mind.

Kur Salon

Slowing down

The first couple of days I was only pottering around the place in a blasé manner. The noise from the building site was gradually being replaced by the soothing shades of green, the cranes and bulldozers got the shape of trees and bushes, and the thick city dust turned into a crisp air of the Royal park. It was difficult to get used to the sounds of nature instead of relentless drilling noise and hundreds of decibels which were messing up my thoughts. Instead, the prolonged pealing of the bell coming from the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, which I could hear every day around lunchtime, was incredibly calming and therapeutic. I would walk out to the park with my laptop, randomly choose a bench to rest on, and do some work. I was finding cosy spots in and around the park, and, although my mind was still focused on work, I soon started to feel the difference. The tension left my body, instead, the fresh air and oxygen cleared my head and lungs, and my heartbeat became slower. Not only the heartbeat, my body movements too. The laziness overwhelmed me and I couldn’t be bothered to change that. I tried to imagine what the life of a sloth is like – do they only move slowly or they also think slowly? Or they don’t think at all? Anyway, the first few days of my stay I spent in the easy working mode, however as the weekend kicked in, I pressed the “Idle” button and, like that sloth, let my arm hang down the tree for days.

The Royal park

Bodily grounding

I didn’t go far, nor did I do much. I embedded myself in the surrounding landscapes. I was aimlessly wandering about and exploring the wild coast of the river Drina watching its flow as the storm was closing in. I was sitting at the wooden bench sheltered by a straw umbrella and counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder. I was picking berries in the forest, and chasing dragonflies and admiring their beauty. I was getting scratched whilst trying to reach out to the juicy wild fruits in the thick bushes. I positioned myself on top of the hill and observed the formation of the rainy clouds and the curtains made of rain connecting the surrounding hilltops and valleys. My hair was humid, my skin was scratched and muddy and my whole body was shaking in the sudden blast of chilly air. I wrapped myself in the beach towel and stood for hours in the summer breeze. When the sun shone through again, the tingling sensations overwhelmed me. Standing there, seemingly lost and alone, feeling the elements on the naked skin meant being part of the natural processes. As Tesla once said, when one feels the electricity in the body, then she knows she is part of the universe.

The Mount Gučevo

The mud bath

When one is in a royal spa, then why not behave like a king? I put on walrus moustache and got into King Peter’s shoes. I walked into the grandiose building adjacent to King Peter’s bath. I decided to purchase a “Royal day” as I was dying to learn how the king himself did it. The wellness centre is of a retro-futuristic interior; a mixed bag of old-fashioned design and new technologies which give away the modern era. It is certainly regal, very spacious with high ceilings and vaults and giant wooden doors with stylistic iron decor. I followed the therapist down the long corridor to the peloid room. The treatment started with the mud wrap. The bed was covered in cling foil over which the mud was spilt from the bucket and spread over by hand. It looked like the finest Belgium chocolate was melting all over the bed, although it was far from it for its smell of sulphur. I got wrapped up in peloid in which my body too became liquid. While I was laying motionless, my eyes were running across the room and the mellow music additionally relaxed me and nearly put to sleep. But, my mind was busy thinking of a long time the mud actually requires to ripe and become suitable for medicinal purposes. I spent a good twenty minutes wrapped in mud, smelling mud and thinking about mud. After a nice scrub and shower, I had a long thermo-mineral bubbly bath in the authentic bathtub. Then I dipped myself in the outdoor pool before the full-body anti-stress massage, and a fruit punch to finish off the programme. The mud was still occupying my mind.

Getting cosy and creative

I discovered nice eateries in the area, however without really searching for them. I flâneured in the rain along the main pedestrian street in Loznica, named after Jovan Cvijić, the founder of Serbian geography, who was born in this city. I was peeking into alleyways which very much reminded me of those in Novi Sad opening up into small squares full of cafes and restaurants and craft shops and people. One of these passages seemed particularly cosy. It was covered in lush greenery, the instrumental music was playing, the birds and parrots were chirping in the corner and it was empty of people. The air smelled of rain and leaves in the forest, combined with the smell of burned woods and pizza just getting crispy in the oven. I ordered fresh orange juice and some food and took the notebook out of my bag. It was just then when I started thinking about what free time actually means and what not doing much actually does to us. Having no plans or social commitments, having no direction of movement, doing things as they come, and as I please. It was also then when I remembered my conversations with a friend around concepts such as German Muße or Latin otium, or Serbian natenane. In essence, they all mean being idle – a qualitative and meaningful way of being. And this is exactly what I was doing, thus I wrote down: “Savouring idleness on holiday”. And this is how the writing unravelled around the idea of doing nothing as a creative, restorative and recuperative holiday activity. 

Restaurant ‘Cyrano’

Towards otium places

When you think about it, the frenetic digital era and capitalist society in which we live teach us to be relentlessly fast, networked and productive. At the same time, it makes us feel guilty if we are idle, slothful or unproductive. In such world, being bored is not considered a virtue, but rather as something that may get us into trouble or else, we could be excluded from certain social circles as no one wants useless time-wasters around. However, our fast and furious society keeps forgetting that idleness is, in fact, a noble activity. We forgot how to stop and rest, relax and recuperate by doing nothing. In the past, people of higher standing would often relocate to the countryside as it allowed space for boredom and idleness as part of quality leisure time. Doing nothing was considered beneficial not only for mental and physical health but also for boosting creativity and imagination. My short escapade into the spa town as an ideal otium place taught me how to stop to pause in the world where the construction site is the metaphor for constant busyness; how to appreciate stillness and idleness; and how to think of boredom and laziness in a totally different way.

Ethical and responsible tourism

Ethical and responsible tourism

“Ethical and Responsible Tourism” explains the methods and practices used to manage the environmental impact of tourism on local communities and destinations. The three core themes of the book – destination management, environmental and social aspects of ethical sustainable development and business impacts – are discussed across both topic and case study chapters, alongside explanatory editorial analysis with all chapters clearly signposted and interlinked. The case studies address specific and practical examples from a global range of examples including sites in Australia, Central America, Europe Union countries, Japan, North America and South America.

The book was shortlisted for a 2019 Taylor & Francis Outstanding Book & Digital Product Award in the Outstanding New Textbook category! 

Used as a core textbook, the linking of theory, in the topic chapters, and practice gained through case studies, alongside further reading and editorial commentary, “Ethical and Responsible Tourism” provides a detailed and comprehensive learning experience. Specific case studies may be used as standalone examples as part of a case teaching approach, and the editorial and discussion elements are designed to be suitable for those simply seeking a concise overview, such as tourism professionals or potential investors in sustainable tourism projects. This book will be essential reading for students researchers and practitioners of tourism, environment and sustainability studies.

With regard to active and adventure tourism, the book has included topic chapters and case studies which have both direct and indirect connections to active and adventure tourism. The editors have regarded the active and adventure tourism input as a critical component of understanding the wider concept of sustainable tourism at a local level.

Ethical and responsible tourism

Some specific chapters which engage with active and adventure tourism are given below:

  • Slow adventure in remote and rural areas: creating and narrating the tourism product

JELENA FARKIĆ , STEVE TAYLOR & SARA MAIR BELLSHAW

  • Active and adventure tourism in the planning of local destination management

MARKO KOŠČAK & TONY O’ROURKE

  • Micro-financing a sustainable, ethical, local project

ANDREW DONALDSON

  • Bicycle networks as a new ground project: the Montesilvano case study

ANTONIO ALBERTO CLEMENTE

  • Sustainable tourism development and its implementation: a case study of glamping accommodation providers in local tourism destinations

MAJA KLANČNIK, BARBARA PAVLAKOVIČ & MARKO KOŠČAK

Shaping tourists’ wellbeing through slow adventures

Shaping tourists’ wellbeing through slow adventures

© Rupert Shanks, Wilderness Scotland

Slow adventure experiences, such as canoeing, stargazing or foraging, are characterised by a slower passage of time, immersion in the natural world and a sense of belonging to small social groups. During slow adventures, the perceptions of time, meaningful moments and a sense of togetherness are choreographed by adventure guides to shape tourists’ psychological wellbeing through immersive experiences, ultimately helping them to re-establish a much-yearned-for connection with nature.

In recognising the need to secure the healthy future of the planet, tourism professionals have taken interest in issues such as gross national happiness, quality of life and sustainable development. The contemporary world has become more mobile, interconnected and fluid, and, despite the expectation that technological change would increase people’s free time, the pace of life has only accelerated. In the era of technological advancement, coupled with the increased pace of life and our constant race for meeting deadlines, achieving goals and maintaining productivity, time seems to flow ever faster. People’s free time has been devalued, quality of life has been diminished and physical and psychological health has become one of the major concerns. To address this, prescriptions to take short, restorative trips into areas rich in nature have become a leading trend in public health programmes worldwide.

Slow adventure

In the past several decades, the tourism industry has made attempts to promote responsible and sustainable travel through development of niche products based on nature, such as ecotourism, adventure tourism or wellness tourism. Tourism planners and managers are making great efforts to deliver high quality experiences for their clients. They aim to connect tourists with destinations through, for example, spending longer time in a place and getting entangled with local traditions. At the same time, people’s wellbeing has come into focus. Thus, immersive tourism activities in natural environments far from urban centres, such as nature reserves and national parks, are claimed to espouse preventative approaches to health.

Pulling people to less trafficked, healthier and greener destinations, and slowing down their activities, have become a new ethical consumer trend. An attempt to subvert the ‘fast world’ and the cult of speed have been embodied in the global slow movement. The concept of slowness maintains its focus on learning how to value and cultivate a sense of time. Slow tourism celebrates simple, organic, local, traditional, affective and emotional dimensions of the experiences gained through immersion in the destination and local way of life. Slowing down has been adopted in tourism through developing experiences in remote, rural or natural spaces, as they can offer the qualities that many modern tourists seek, particularly focusing on extending time to savour the outdoor experience.

Slow adventure is one of the emergent trends in nature-based and peripheral tourism that responds to the call for sustainable development. Inspired by the slow movement and friluftsliv, the Scandinavian philosophy of outdoor life, it has been widely accepted both as a theoretical concept and a tourism product. In conceptualising slow adventure, the UK-based scholars, Professor Peter Varley and Tristan Semple, introduced its four critical dimensions: time, nature, passage and comfort. Building on the postulates of slowness, the aim of slow adventure is to introduce consumers to the simplicity of just ‘being’ in the outdoors – in responsible and ethical ways. In the slow adventure context, undertaking activities is not constrained by time but rather conditioned by natural rhythms: changes of dark and light, fluctuations of the water’s surface, or the direction of the wind.

Getting to know natural rhythms and discovering new ecospheres, landscapes and inhabitants along the journey may be a solipsistic venture. However, slow adventures can in many ways make the difference. Consuming such experiences may lead to both hedonic and eudaimonic outcomes, and to the deepening and rounding of the outdoor experience. Slow adventure offers consumers the luxurious commodity of taking time to dwell in nature, being more mindful and developing a connection with their environment. It also allows space for disconnection from the stressful and disturbing stimuli by which the modern world is overly saturated. Slowing down and taking time to do activities may improve health and reduce anxieties, stress and depression, particularly in more affluent, digitalised and time-deprived societies.

In our study, we presented and discussed the ways in which guided slow adventures can offer possibilities to increase the sense of hospitality and enhance psychological wellbeing through slow journeying in nature. Stef, former Wilderness Scotland operations manager and founder of Hands on Consulting, specialising in Customer Relationship Skills Training for the hospitality and outdoor industry across Scotland, opined:

Working in the adventure travel industry really made me realise that we are changing lives, we do make a difference…. So people are having life changing experiences when they are spending time with you, when they are on holidays, when they have time to ponder, when they have time to chill out and actually look at their lives and see what’s not quite right. So that’s my favourite kind of experience, getting that sort of feedback from people saying like ‘listen, thank you for providing me with the space and the possibility to change my life and to have these kind of moments that will be with me for ever’.

The creative time spent outdoors, whether actively doing or simply being, has taken on heightened significance as Covid-19 threatens to impose a new reality. Our conceptualisation of adventure took a broader view, away from risk and thrill towards a definition encompassing slower activities such as foraging, stargazing, or simply being still in time and space, savouring the outdoor experience. The study showed provision of these guided slow adventures using wild and unfettered landscapes promoted, enabled and delivered greater psychological wellbeing. Ultimately, these experiences have the potential to, even temporarily, slow down the tempo and alter perceptions of time, a challenge in a culture of deadlines and expeditious achievements.

The immersive entanglements with natural environs are generally augmented by a skilled guide. Allowing an expert to guide clients through an alien environment, enabling people to enjoy the haptic, olfactory, auditory or visual phenomena – be it the sound of splashing waves, the explosion of colours in the golden hour or the crackling of the campfire – may, briefly restore tourists’ peace of mind. In uncertain times after Covid-19, being slow and mindful might alleviate some of the people’s anxieties and fears. In slow adventure environments, guides can foster longed-for feelings of reconnection, restoration, reunion or regeneration, and make a modest, but a meaningful contribution to the psychological wellbeing of the troubled inhabitants of the 21st century.

To read this article click here 

To cite this article: 

Farkic, J., Filep, S, & Taylor, S. (2020). Shaping tourists’ wellbeing through guided slow adventures. Journal of Sustainable Tourismhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1789156

The breadtime story

The breadtime story

We crossed the Danube, then meandered through the forest of the national park heading towards one of the four former capitals of the Roman empire, when I decided to make a phone call. A male voice picked up and said: Jeremija speaking. I explained I was just calling to check if the museum was open. “Yes, we are here, awaiting you”, Jeremija answered. At this point I could not imagine that a very small museum in a very small town could make such a huge impact on me. I pictured Jeremija as a simple villager who had a love of bread making and decided to tell a story about it and, perhaps, display a tool or two, or whatever else he could think of, and call it a museum. But there was something in Jeremija’s voice. It was not a voice of a weary villager that spends his days labouring out in the fields, rather, it was cheerful and full of life and it was difficult to imagine that it belonged to an aged man.

Instead of following the road to Sirmium, we took the turn to Pećinci. The road took us to its end, where it intersected with the fields. On our left, the bus stop appeared as if placed right at the end of the world, and on the right, a cage-like entrance to a long ground-level building, resembling nothing more and nothing less but silos for storing wheat, corn and other harvested crops. It was hard to believe that this was our final destination – the museum of bread. That we were at the right place confirmed the image of the museum owner Jeremija hand in hand with a Serbian Nobel prize winner, Ivo Andrić. This juxtaposition of the unconventional museum building, the image of a great figure of Serbian literature and agricultural setting in which all of this was placed was a truly mind-boggling introduction to the artistic interpretation of the meanings and significance of bread in the Serbian culture.

We rang the bell. The owner opened the door in the fashion of a good host and admitted us into a small conservatory. The cheerful voice now belonged to the body of a 70-year-old man with wild, snow white hair and a pair of piercing blue eyes. He sat us on chairs and wanted to know more about us, who we were, what we did, what we liked, where we’d met; just the very usual questions made part of a very unusual reception.

The chatter was interrupted by Jeremija’s wife who invited us for a walk through the collection. And this is where the story about Jeremija and bread unfolded…

Jeremija is an artist-ethnographer who often travels and paints. These are most often the motives of rural, rustic, traditional Serbia which is slowly fading away: the old farmhouses, the windmills, the old stoves, the sheds. Jeremija’s work captures the aesthetic, ethnographic and traditional vales of the people and place, the ones which have not been protected by the government, and through his artistic expression he aims to immortalise them. In his work, however, Jeremija is mostly interested in ritual and cult bread (pogača in Serbian). In its honour, he decided to open the museum, the designing of which he approached in a similar way as he approaches painting. The museum, Jeremija’s life work, is conceptualised in such way to present the life cycle of a wheat grain – “From soil, over bread to the heavens”.

From the soil…

The so called ‘bread street’ starts with the archaeological collection of the tillage tools from pre-history and the Roman period between 100 AD and 500 AD. For the proximity of Sirmium, some of the archaeological material from this period have been ploughed out in the fields nearby and have been conserved in the museum. In order to popularise science, the museum hosts a number of faithful copies of well-known artefacts, like that of the Goddess of fertility which is displayed in the Museum of Vojvodina. The section on the harvest displays Neolithic, Celtic or Roman wheat milling tools, the machines used in domestic households from the beginning of 20th century, the bread scales, as well as the old baking ovens (furune in Serbian) which Jeremija found in Serbian villages and in which he found inspiration for his paintings.

… over bread…

Bread is very important in all cultures. In Serbia in particular, it is the old traditional custom to make liturgical bread for big religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Slava, the family patron’s day. It used to be made for child’s birth and as a gift for newlyweds, an antecedent of today’s wedding cake. All the breads have a spiritual meaning. In Serbian culture there is a saying that the whole human life occurs between the bead for a newborn and the bread for the deceased.

…to the heavens

The path led us out of the museum to the small chapel in the garden. It was still work in progress; the ceiling was covered in frescoes, but the walls were still undone, as well as the floor. Jeremija explained that the floor was made of wooden logs of various trees that he had collected on his travels throughout Serbia. Walking on the floor, he explained, would be like walking through whole Serbia. The frescoes on the ceiling depict the pre-Christian and pagan divinity, the saints holding the bread, the Nemanjić dynasty and Christ converting the pagans into Christianity.

We finished our visit in a warm and cosy dining room where the family admit guests and celebrate their Slava. In the olden days, the kitchen was referred to as ‘the house’, as the hearth of home and the place where the members of the family would gather and prepare food, and from which the light and warmth of home would radiate. On one of the walls was displayed the document certifying that Serbian Slava had been put under the government protection as well as inscribed in the Unesco’s list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. This is how we found out that Jeremija made his contributions to this achievement. He also brought to our attention the traditional Vojvodinian cipovka, ‘the bread that laughs at the moon,’ and the recent attempts to protect its 300-year-old recipe as an intangible cultural heritage.

The playful ginger cat (which never meows) waited for us after vacating the dining room. Having journeyed through the lifecycle of wheat, we were convinced that we stood at a spot of invaluable cultural importance. Jeremija’s museum of bread is not just a tiny pop-up bread exhibition (as I might have thought before my visit), rather, it is a cultural treasure embodied in material artefacts brought together through decades of dedicated collection and creation, and led by a vision of an artistic mind. No wonder that the European museum forum nominated it for the Museum of the Year and the International Council of museums took it under its auspices for the outstanding value it has within the Vojvodinian, Serbian and the world’s cultural spaces.

The artist, curator and above all a great host, Jeremija walked us out of the museum. In the space between the bus stop and the crops, he told us a story about his encounter with Ivo Andrić, his life in Belgrade and his decision to move to Pećinci. “Remember, the most important decisions you make when you are young”, he said and waved us goodbye.

Jeremija - The Serbian Museum of Bread

Link to the official website.

Stay at home, return to self

Stay at home, return to self

New beginnings are always tricky. For most of us, undergoing a change is the major challenge. For me, settling into new environment is never that easy, and, coupled with complexities of bureaucracy and permeating fear from disease, additionally added to the uneasiness and unpleasantness of being elsewhere.

Whilst the process of coming here may sound like a real ordeal, I am trying to give value to its other dimension with its qualities such as hospitality, comfort, security and slowness. These are the concepts which I think lots about anyway, and now, in these strange times, they sound ever more relevant.

I have begun to appreciate this period in between jobs and all the good things it allows for, despite the moments in which I think I am stuck or that I am making no obvious progress. There is progress, but it is slow. It is not instantaneous, but takes time to occur. This situation is a great teacher. It shows us how things don’t really need to be done immediately. We should unlearn to be impatient, and learn to wait and embrace the process of waiting.

I am now sitting in a sofa, sipping mint tea and stroking a very lazy calico cat. I am wearing old but comfy clothes, my hair is messy and I have not put any make up for days. The sun is shining onto the books and furniture in the living room, the smell of food is coming from the kitchen, the distant chatter is making me feel secure as I am now within a family. I don’t have to rush anywhere and I have no deadlines to meet. But wait a second – isn’t this a luxury!?

Cotswolds hills, halfway between Chipping Norton and Churchill

This made me reflect on my first week of being in a place that I had never planned to occupy, and in which I ended up rather spontaneously. I realised that I have done things that I would otherwise struggle to find time for. I have read three books, written several letters and two blogs, completed two online teaching courses, updated my academic portfolio, cooked fine meals, slept long, experimented with honey, ginger and celery sticks mixture, exercised, ran and walked and simply enjoyed the peripatetic pleasures in the rural areas of Cotswold. I have been very patchy in reading the news and paid very little attention to the statistics that are here only to add to our anxieties and amplify fear.

I contrasted these days to the ones only several weeks ago when I was still at home. I would wake up at the crack of dawn to find peace and quiet to write before heading to work. I would struggle to read more than couple of pages of book before sleep because I would be too shattered to focus on anything, I would write zero letters and thousands of work-related emails. My phone would constantly buzz and flash and ring, I would eat take-away food or out in restaurants and would see none to very little of nature or my family. I would be ticking things off long to-do lists, sitting in meetings, discussing new or ongoing projects. And this was making me tired… mentally, emotionally and physically tired. It may be wrong to think this way, but I badly needed this break as it appears to be an ideal space to recuperate and consolidate.

True, in the rush and crush of modern life, fast speed is a norm. We rarely find time for boredom and idleness. We simply don’t give ourselves a break. The rarities are what makes us truly happy and, perhaps, ontologically free. In my case, these are space, quiet and time. A space to breathe, a quiet to relax, a time to dream. They allow for breaking away from our busy calendars. Doing things slowly and as they come help us forget the chronological time managed by the clock and embrace the time to do things meaningfully. The time I have spent here, in countryside, has totally slowed me down. It has reduced my heart beat, it slowed down my brain activity, it allowed me to get out for an amble in the fields with pen and paper and leave my phone behind.

And this is where I think that the newly coined phrase ‘Stay at home’, used to convey the message that we should be responsible, social distance and self-isolate indoors, has a broader meaning. It may represent an additional challenge in a culture of deadlines and expeditious achievement. Temporary staying at home can be an ideal restorative in compensating for the fast pace of modern urban life through offering great scope for the return to self through idleness, slowness, patience, security and, what is most important, familial and communal belonging. This situation is putting us on a test and showing us that we are not almighty machines, but only frail humans.