The Active Relaxer – and how to accommodate them

adventure holiday

adventure holidayHoliday season for much of the population is over, and with the grandchildren back at school and their parents back at work, now is the perfect time to take your own break. The only problem is that while you may think of a holiday as a time to kick back, lie on the beach, or sip a quiet coffee while you watch the world go by, your partner may have a very different take on what it means to relax. That’s because they’re an ‘active relaxer’ while you are a ‘passive relaxer’.

While you crave absolute rest (flicking through the pages of a glossy magazine or letting someone else arrange the sight-seeing is as much as you’re up for), an active relaxer recoils from the thought of being asked to do nothing for more than 30 seconds. Once you realise this, and help your active relaxer find the holiday activity they crave, your own R and R will be a lot more enjoyable. To help you get it sorted, we’ve come up with some active-passive combos which mean you’ll both enjoy the break.

At the beach

Put up the sun umbrella, spread out the towel and pick up the book. Your week at the beach is sorted – and so is your partner’s when you head to a destination that offers beginner surfing lessons. Book them in for a series of lessons over several days so they can enjoy making progress while you soak up the local vibe by heading to a café, doing a little window shopping, or indulging in the ultimate passive relaxer – a massage or facial. When you meet up with your partner over dinner, grab a wine and feign fascination while they regale you with details from their adrenalin-rushed day.

Outdoor pursuits

For active-passive partners, nothing beats a forest setting with water thrown in. We’re thinking Hanmer or Rotorua – Wanaka or Queenstown – the kind of place where you can swim or take a wine tasting tour while your partner hits a mountain bike trail or zip line; where you can sit in a quiet park with a book while they sweat it out on a day hike. Team up with another couple who have an active-passive relationship so everyone has the company they enjoy.


Many a relationship has been enhanced by a cruise – for the simple reason that a big boat has something for everyone. While you’re happy to strike up a friendship over breakfast – and let the chat last until mid day, your partner can be hitting the gym, scaling a rock climbing wall or attending a cooking class. While you finally get to catch up on the movie you’ve been hankering to see, your partner can be checking out the waterslide or taking a spin class.


Volunteering opportunities exist in some of the most attractive places in the world, so while your partner is helping rebuild a school in the Pacific or painting a hospital in Cambodia, you can be lying on the beach, sipping from a chilled coconut or taking a tour in the same city.

Each to their own 

However and wherever you handle the passive-active relaxer combo, remember that you’re both getting to enjoy the holiday in your own way – and best of all, you’re still doing it together (for most of the time anyway!).