Most of the time at Double-Barrelled Travel, Carmen and I write about getting outside of our comfort zones, trying new things, seeking the unknown and hidden corners of life, experience and the beaten path.
But when I got to Bangkok recently, I wasn’t in the mood for any of that.
We had just spent two hectic weeks in Bali – the first working from sun up to sun down in Ubud on client work, blogs and creative stuff, and the second surprising our friends from the UK with a week of sun, booze and fun.
That may sound like a semblance of work life balance, but I was exhausted. I needed a day off. Most of all, I needed a day to myself. I wouldn’t say that I’m an introvert, but I crave having regular solo time. It’s often difficult to get that, especially with Carmen in tow, who is happiest around people – so it’s often hard for me to slip away.
But when we arrived in Bangkok, a great opportunity arose.
“We got a ticket to Don George,” she announced, beaming a smile at me from behind her smart phone. Don George is one of the world’s best travel writers and he was holding a workshop on his techniques in Bangkok. It was a great opportunity, one that Carmen offered to me to take. There was only one ticket left and it was either me or her.
“No,” I said. “You should go.” I had Dave time lined up.
Centara Watergate Pavilion Hotel Bangkok review – a five star stay
We checked into our hotel, the Centara Watergate Pavilion in central Bangkok – a delightfully modern and stylish place – and settled into our room with a view on the 18th floor.
While Carmen prepared herself for the next day, I made a mental list of all the things I was going to do on my mancation. I was not going to leave the hotel and make full use of all the facilities, and I kept planning even as we shared a romantic and delicious meal at the rooftop restaurant. The stunning nighttime views of Bangkok fired my imagination, and as I went to bed, I was dreaming of David Allan-Petale’s Day Off.
The next day dawned bright and clear and I jumped out of bed to do some yoga and stretches. Then we showered and went down to breakfast – a huge buffet where you could have whatever you liked. I nabbed a bowl of Bircher muesli and sprinkled it with some dried fruit to start things off, then graduated to a plate of fried eggs on toast, all washed down with plenty of coffee.
Full up, Carmen said goodbye and left me to my own devices. The swift thunk for the hotel room door shutting was music to my ears. I was alone, for the first time in ages.
Home alone at Centara Watergate Pavilion
I sat still for a while, just soaking in the silence, watching the view of Bangkok below – a triple canopy city of bustling streets, busy flyover roads and soaring buildings with elevators whizzing up and down. I took out my sketchpad and some pencils and did a quick drawing, something that’s good for getting the brain in gear.
Then I took out my laptop and sat down to do some work that I really enjoy – creative writing. I had just finished a short story that I was about to enter into a writing competition back in Australia. I wanted to rewrite a section and go over it with a fine tooth comb for any mistakes or parts I didn’t like before sending it. So I lay back on the back with all the pillows under my back and neck and immersed myself in the story, a cup of tea from the room’s kitchenette at my side.
A handful of hours flew past and I closed the laptop, my brain utterly spent from work. I needed to let off some steam, so I threw on my gym kit and went down to the fitness centre where I managed to run on the treadmill for an hour! All that booze and food in Bali needed some working off, and I had the place to myself so I could work up a sweat.
Meal for one
After a quick shower back in the room I went down to the daytime restaurant and ordered one of the specials from the big menu. I went with Chicken Khao Soi Gai, a coconut curry soup with both crispy and soft noodles – a specialty from Northern Thailand. While I waited for the food to come I read my book on my tablet and drank in the view of the outdoor area, criss crossed with a shallow pool lit by the midday sun.
When my soup came I was ravenous from the workout and the first bite was delicious. Carmen and I usually split our meals so we can have a taste of what the other person ordered. It works most of the time, but when there’s something you really like, it means giving up half. But on my own, I didn’t have to share with anyone – all mine!
The afternoon passed by slowly and peacefully. I did some more work. Watched some television on the big screen in the room and even went back down to the gym to do some weights. I had the place all to myself and loved every second of it. Then I chilled on the outdoor deck for awhile.
Taking it easy is the best way
When Carmen came back I was sitting on the comfy couch in the corner of the room, buried in my book again. “How was it?” I asked, and she told me all about the amazing advice Don George had given her on how to be mindful of the moment, how slowing down and appreciating all the little things was made good travel writing sing.
“How was your day?” she asked me, and I smiled.
“From the sounds of things, I was taking Don’s advice without knowing it,” I said. “Only I didn’t have to go anywhere.”
Have you ever had a day to yourself while travelling with others?
What you need to know:
Cost: Prices start from around US$70 a night, without breakfast.
How to get there: Located in the centre of Bangkok, close to the Watergate Pavilion Shopping Mall in Pratunam, the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok is just 450 metres from Ratchaprarop Airport Link Station. The address is 567 Ratchaprarop Rd, Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok.
Booking: You can book through the hotel’s website here.
Special thanks to the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok for hosting us and letting me enjoy my mancation in style! As always, my opinions are my own.