Travel sometimes changes you in a way you wouldn’t expect. On my last cruise, I strolled into the onboard spa as an elderly lady and her adult daughter were on their way out. The older woman was using a wheelie walker but her eyes sparkled like she was a young girl. However, that wasn’t what I noticed first. It was her freshly painted nails which were bright, bright red. “I know they’re a bit racey,” she said, when she saw me admiring them, “but who cares. I’m on holidays!”

I think that’s one of the things I have always loved most about travelling. It gives you permission to do things you wouldn’t normally do. I’m not talking about riding around on a scooter without a helmet at 2am in Bali. That’s got nothing to do with indulging your hidden side, it’s just nuts. However, it is okay not to be your usual sensible self when you’re on holiday. I like this a lot.

One time we ended up getting on the wrong bus when I was backpacking with my husband in Hungary. When a uni student who spoke English realised what had happened, he asked why we were going to the town that we were trying to get to. We said we thought it sounded interesting but he politely disagreed. “If you stay on this bus, the town you are going to is much better,” he said. So we took his advice.

Was the town we visited better than the one we were planning on seeing?  I guess we will never know. But one thing I do know for sure is we would never have done something so spontaneous back home. It wasn’t so much the destination but the pure joy of doing something that wasn’t planned that made us happy that day. Based on talking with other travellers, what makes people the happiest when they travel will often be something they struggle with at home. For me, that’s chilling out and going with the flow. For others, it can be doing something that shakes them up a little like ziplining. Some people get great joy on holiday from simply having time to read.

I don’t think you can plan these moments but you need to grab them when you catch a glimpse of them. For example, if you are sitting with your partner at a resort as the moon is rising over the ocean, do you really need to be right on time for your dinner booking at the hotel restaurant?  If you feel like staying on that balcony a little longer, you probably should. Sometimes your sensible everyday self needs a holiday too.