We’ve just cancelled our third holiday of the year and yes, in the grand scheme of 2020, this is very much a first world problem. However, it got me reminiscing about holidays past and just what it is that I miss most about travelling...
The Countdown One of the things I miss about pre-pandemic life is having something to look forward to, something to aim towards. That’s what holidays represent – the goal at the end of a school term, the light at the end of a work-based tunnel, the chance for everyone to get off the ride for a minute and just take a break. The anticipation of a holiday and counting down to that all-important departure date with daily cries of “How many sleeps now, Mummy?!” is all part of the experience. I can’t wait to hear that question on repeat again in the not-too-distant future.
Where it all begins... For me, the holiday starts the minute we set foot in the airport. I love the place. I love the mad dash around the duty free, buying make-up I don’t need and perfume that will forever remind me of that holiday. Oversized bottles of gin for sipping on the balcony and brand-new books for reading on the beach. Running for the gate because you’ve spent too long trying on sunglasses. Granted, most of that was before kids came along. Now it’s a more stress-inducing process, battling through security before someone melts down, praying the baby will poo BEFORE you board the flight, making sure the proverbial kitchen sink is still under the pram and praying to the baggage handling gods that said pram arrives at your destination once deposited on the runway... but even so I still kind of miss it all!
Are we nearly there yet?! I’m not going to lie, the flight is not something I miss anymore. My youngest Does. Not. Sit. Still and that level of fidget-bottom wriggling does not make for an enjoyable experience. The less said here, the better! But my husband cites the aeroplane gin and tonic as the moment his holiday starts...
“the only time a too-strong, bog-standard G&T in a plastic cup tastes so good!”
On arrival That amazing feeling once the journey is over and you’ve arrived safely at your destination, hopefully with all baggage and family members intact. Assessing your accommodation, hoping it lives up to the weeks of anticipation and expectation. Claiming your rooms, checking out the bathroom freebies, watching the kids explore their new surroundings, taking in the view, letting your shoulders drop, feeling the creeping tendrils of relaxation taking hold of your body. And breath...
A break from the old routine Remember when you were child-free and the routine of the daily grind really did stop while you were on holiday? Yeah, me too. Holidays with kids often have an air of “same sh*t, different place” about them. The kids still need entertaining and feeding and changing and napping and bathing and bedtiming, but for some reason it all just feels less daunting on holiday. Maybe it’s the guilt-free lunchtime wine or maybe it’s because the sh*t is easier to deal with when the place is a short stroll from a golden beach or overlooking a snow-capped mountain. Either way, I miss it.
That end-of-a-good-day feeling Not all days go to plan on holiday – particularly when you’re at the mercy of a troupe of tiny dictators whose never-ending demands can send you reaching for the Sangria well before the sun reaches the yardarm – but when they do, it’s a wonderful thing. Just picture it... the children are tucked up in bed, full of fresh air and dreaming of the day’s adventures. You’re sitting on the balcony, breathing a sigh of contented relief as you sink your first sundowner and tuck into the obligatory pre-dinner nibbles (why do foreign crisps taste so much better?!). There is no feeling quite like it.
Quality time For the purposes of research, I asked my five-year-old what he misses most about holidays, expecting him to reel of a list of things like eating ice cream every day, learning to ski, digging sandcastles, staying up late. However, as is the often way of these wise little beings, he summed it up in one sentence: “I just miss being with my family and friends.” I 100% agree. It’s the time with our nearest and dearest that I miss the most, too. Actual, proper time. Away from laptops and tablets, the school run and the daily grind, the washing and the life admin. Time spent face-to-face, rather than snatching snippets on FaceTime. A holiday is doing things we love with the people we love and I’m sure I speak for us all when I say, the next one can’t come soon enough!
WRITTEN BY BETH ROBERTS
Beth works in PR and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons, aged five and one.
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