I was talking to a friend recently and she said that she’d never been on holiday with her daughter because she didn’t see how a holiday with a child was worth it. She thought that a holiday with a family was just doing the same things you usually would just in a different location. I couldn’t disagree with her more though – I think family holidays are a special and important time for people to step away from their normal busy lives and experience something different together.
We are in the lucky position to be able to afford to go on holiday each year and I know this isn’t the same for everyone but I don’t think family breaks have to be expensive. You can camp, hire a caravan, book onto a coach trip or book a package and if you can’t get time off work then a one night weekend trip is just as valuable as a 5* break to Mexico.
Because for me it isn’t about where you go – it’s about the fact you go together. You could stay one night somewhere half an hour from home but it is still an adventure. It doesn’t matter that beds still need to be made, it doesn’t matter than dinner still needs to be cooked and it doesn’t matter than tantrums will still be had. By spending that time somewhere new as a family you are creating out of the norm memories and those are the things you will remember.
I once slept in a tent with a river of water running under it from the monsoon of rain that had been released overnight on a camping holiday to France. At the time it felt like the greatest adventure I’d ever had – I walked on the bubbling tent groundsheet the next day and thought that this must be what it was like to walk on a rain cloud. My Dad threatened to wash my hair in the river running under our tent if I didn’t go to the shower block with Mum and being sorely tempted to see if he actually would just because it sounded like so much fun.
I don’t remember us going on those holidays because they were cheap at the time – I remember my Dad being there every single day for an entire week. My Dad has always worked extreme hours so for him to be there every single day was incredible. Some of my happiest memories of my childhood involve being sat in a field with my Mum, my Dad and my brother while we ate cheese and bread carved up with my Dads swiss army knife. It doesn’t matter where those memories took place but the fact I’ve got them and want to recreate them with my own daughter shows how powerful they were to me.
We’ve been really lucky to see some amazing places in the world before we had a family and I look forward to taking our daughter swimming with the fish in the Maldives, to visit the ruins in Tulum in Mexico, on safari in Tanzania and snorkelling in Egypt but these are all bigger dreams. I’m just as excited to take her out on a boat with in Penzance to see the dolphins and basking sharks, to take her to cheddar gorge to see the views, to take her to Snowdonia to see the looming peaks and to take her to the New Forest to see the ponies.
These are all things I want to share with her and I want her to remember but mostly I want her to remember us spending time with her, exploring new places with her and trying new things together as a family. Because those memories are precious.