Pack your bags…..

If you could go anywhere on holiday right now, where would you go? I’ve thought about this a lot lately so I expect you have too, and we choose where to go for all sorts of wonderful and different reasons. For me, right now, it’s more about being able to choose than the act of going in itself, because let’s face it, we can’t go anywhere at the moment, which makes us want it all the more!

When I was small, my father’s job meant we were based in Geneva for many years, so holidays were generally within Europe where we could pack up the car with everything we wanted and get there with less stress and less cost than flying but with less than we might need. We children weren’t part of the decision making but they were always great fun, the weather was generally hot and sunny and the resorts full of family friendly bars and restaurants making it a rest for my mum too!

But after moving back to the UK we began taking holidays on the Pembrokeshire coast, in a beautiful village close to the sea. They were also great fun, and always involved packing up one or, mostly 2 cars, full of everything we might need and a lot that we almost certainly wouldn’t! But the weather was somewhat hit and miss. Quite a few years of incredible med style sunshine and beach bar-b-ques but in reality, a great deal more of Welsh rain and sea mists. These are the holidays when I remember wearing flip-flops and a kagool that came down below my shorts so that I didn’t get wet clothes everyday and instead of a pub crawl (as we were too young) we did a cream tea crawl, huddling round little tables with pots of weak tea and dishes of hot scones, jam and cream, the steam rising off us as we gossiped about everything and anything young girls could talk about. Those were the days! I grew up with those holiday friends from the age of 9, met my husband there among the extended groups of young men and women, escaping the city for some seaside relaxation, and in time, carried on the tradition with our children for more years than I can count, watching them grow up and do all the things we had done and more (as is the way of today – bigger, shinier, more of – you get my drift!) .

I didn’t go abroad again until I left home, when holidays with friends in our 20s took on a whole different feeling. It was exciting and we were free. No limits except for the cost and sometimes even that didn’t stop us, until we got home. We still returned to the Welsh coast every year for a week if we could or at least a long weekend. It was always a place to feel at home, more relaxed but very social and often with my own family, all packed in to our little cottage.

Later in life my jobs have afforded me the most incredible travel experiences to south east Asia, the USA and many parts of France, Italy and Spain, where some of those trips have allowed me to stay in top rated hotels and eat some of the most exciting food in the company of my lovely team mates and our suppliers. I do feel extremely lucky to have been able to enjoy that but I always wished I could share those “firsts” with my husband . So now, as our children start making their own holiday plans, we are free to begin making our own once again. But where do we want to go? There are so many places I would love to visit .

A short city break, to soak up the local culture, enjoy the food and explore, is hugely appealing and there are so many cities I’d love to visit and as we had to cancel a surprise holiday last year for my husband’s birthday, due to the pandemic, and having spent such a long time searching out great Airbnb spots, making all the secret arrangements for our children to meet us, its high on the list of trips to make when there is more freedom of movement. But I hanker after the bazaars of Marrakesh or the food markets of southern Italy with the hustle and bustle, too, the bright crisp slopes of the alps or a foodie road trip down through France to discover little cafes off the beaten track. Our choices will probably be changing by the day, depending on the mood we’re in, how stressed we are about work or family issues, whether it’s raining or gloriously sunny, if we crave peace and quiet or are in need of company. All of these things affect what holidays mean to us all.

Right now, I would give my right arm to be able to drive to the south coast, buy fish and chips and sit on the beach with a crisp glass of wine, letting the wind whip my hair across my face and blow sand in my eyes. That little bit of freedom would mean the world.

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