Travel and recreation: back to basics

When we think about relaxing, we all have a different image of it. After all, everyone relaxes in a way that suits him or her. While one person seeks luxury and pampering, the other is more likely to go back to basics. The latter is on the rise, because for many people they already experience so much luxury during normal life that the more primitive is actually attractive. You can do this completely independently or you can let an organization arrange this. But what do we mean by ‘back to basics’ and what are the options?

The base

Everyone has a foundation and it lies at birth. But of course the basis goes back further, because everyone also carries something from their ancestors with them. These people did not have what we all consider normal today. Some examples:

  • Hot and cold water from the tap. Cold water was either drawn from a well or pumped by hand. To get hot water, a fire had to be stoked with a full kettle on top.
  • Isolated houses. Never cold in the house during the winter. Better insulated walls and double glazing throughout the house make the house an impenetrable fortress against the cold.
  • Heated houses. It is cozy everywhere in the house during the winter. Until the mid-20th century, there was often only one stove in the house, which was located in the living room (first wood, coal and then gas). The other rooms and bedrooms were simply cold during the winter.
  • Light everywhere in the house. Until the light bulb was invented in the 19th century, it was not so obvious that we had light everywhere, and if it was available, it was with a candle or oil lamp.
  • Moving quickly from A to B. Moving quickly by car, which almost everyone has at their doorstep, is also something that only came into use at the end of the 20th century. Walking, cycling, taking the bus or someone from the neighborhood who had a car (great luxury!) got you from A to B.


Popular periods

Time of inventions

It is therefore fun or interesting for more and more people to go back to basics during a free period. Depending on the person you are, you go back very far or you go back less far in time. The 19th century appears to be very interesting for many people. That is also the period when many important inventions were made and the period of that turning point is interesting to relive.
Source: Jonathansautter, Pixabay Castles or campsites?
But there are more interesting periods to relive, such as the period when the castle lords and ladies or the knights ruled. But also less far back, where the family holiday already played a role, but we didn’t get much further than a simple tent at the campsite. A campsite that is of course not comparable to the current one and was not much more than a lawn, possibly with a simple playground and hopefully some sanitary facilities. We are talking about the first campsites from just before and after the Second World War.

What are the options for going back to basics?

When will be the time to go back to basics? You do this alone, with family or friends, and you think about what appeals to you most. After all, there are already some years behind us and so there are plenty of possibilities. A number of examples, which can be completed organized or independently:


Starting with the campsite, because we have been camping since the 1920s. The campsite of that time is little more than a grassy field or an empty area in the woods. No playground or climbing equipment yet and no sanitary facilities. Simply with a windy tent canvas on the ground or a hammock between two trees. It was only years later that real campsites became what they are today.
For many people there is a period between then and now that is attractive. But yes, the real back to basics lies more with the early 20th century than with the present. If you do go all the way back, don’t forget to get there with adapted transport of that time!


In terms of discovery, the bicycle also dates back to the 19th century and has not really changed much since the mid-20th century. Not that cycling was already associated with relaxation, because at that time it was a vehicle that took you from A to B. The bicycle still does that and that is why the bicycle is an indispensable part of our street scene.
However, the bicycle has also become relaxation and seeking relaxation with the bicycle is not in itself a return to basics. Things are different when the same vehicle takes you to your holiday destination. This could be the aforementioned campsite, but could also be an inn in the south of France or Germany. Of course without a phone with a route planner, but just find your way with a paper version and possibly a compass.
Source: Thomashendele, Pixabay Pedestrian Tour
We are familiar with the hiking trails, but for example the famous pilgrimage that takes you to Santiago de Compostella. Do not do this untrained, because for such a beautiful trip over the age-old footpaths you need some practice and it will take you several weeks in terms of time (which not everyone has).
You can start with shorter routes or simply go for a long walk in your immediate area several times a week. Good for daily exercise and an excellent exercise for walking something like this pilgrimage. There are various routes available for this walking tour.
Of course you can also take another walking tour and not one that takes you somewhere specifically, but that only goes through beautiful areas and where you can walk a route that takes you to a simple inn every evening. You can also leave the inn behind you and set out with just a backpack and tent. France is a country that has many routes that lead past castles or through vineyards. It is useful to have had some practice on such a trip and don’t forget a good map with footpaths here too.


Getting back to basics is always a matter of returning to means of transport other than the current one. Preferably no car and certainly no plane, but depending on the period it can be walking, cycling, horse-drawn tram, carriage or on horseback (if this is within your means). But relaxation is always enjoying the journey and the destination!

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