Holidays and why they've given me grief
When I was a kid, we had some absolutely amazing family holidays.
One year, we spent two weeks in Kashmir staying on houseboats. Some of the highlights were the fact that we three children were able to navigate the lake in a small boat on our own, and seeing craftsmen making exquisite wares and handcrafts. We visited mountain resorts and lakes, stayed in tents, climbed glaciers and played UNO, laughing until our heads fell off.
Another year our family took a car-caravan trip from Tamworth all the way to Cairns. We spent three or four weeks on the road, and stopped everywhere. We even got caught in floods in Rockhampton and saw our car and caravan get forklifted onto a train to get out of town on time.
We visited incredible mountain towns in the Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges in Pakistan, even driving on the Silk Route all the way up to the border with China. It was sleeting at the top and the altimeter went around twice before we reached it.
My father drove us in a Suzuki 4WD on a road that local jeep drivers wouldn't touch up to a plateau completely bursting with wildflowers of every colour and hue. (I refused to be in the car when he went down again... and said if he wanted to kill himself, that was fine, but I would walk.)
We visited castles, forts and museums. We rode camels at the beach. My dad went on every waterslide and roller coaster he could find. When we travelled back to Australia we stayed in 5 star hotels in Singapore and Bangkok. We visited England twice as a family (once staying in a campervan) and wherever we went, we always took the most challenging bush walk or trail available.
I loved our holidays.
But I haven't enjoyed being on holidays much with my own young family. Why not?
Well, I think I still have in my head a standard that says "Holidays must be adventurous, exotic, exciting, outdoorsy, interesting, well-travelled, exploring and full. If they aren't, you aren't succeeding at having a proper holiday." And this has only just occurred to me!
The fact is, our circumstances are different from my family's circumstances when we were growing up. When I was little, we travelled overseas because we lived overseas. Travel and accommodation in Pakistan were pretty cheap. My dad is pretty adventurous. And we children had no issues that kept us from joining in the activities. (Yeah, ok, we had a whinge here and there, but it was nothing that couldn't be gotten over.)
Our family now doesn't travel overseas, has a limited holiday budget and has a child who, thus far, has been unable to join in and enjoy many of the activities we would like to do.
This week, we were away at our family house at the beach. We had bikes for the children, and a beautiful new bike track just out the front door. On our first ride, Bright Eyes panicked because we were too far from the house. The second ride, he fell off the bike and refused to go any further. He then refused to leave the property at all on the bike. "It's lame, it's rubbish, it's despicable," he proclaimed and That. Was. That. Our children can't even play UNO together because Bright Eyes is unable to play a game where he doesn't win without yelling at everyone or leaving the room.
So, up until now I've found holidays hard. I haven't felt like we've had proper holidays, or that I've been successful in giving my children the right kind of time away.
However, now that I realise what's going on in my head, I think I might be able to accept our limitations a bit more and not try to prove anything to myself, and we all might have a better chance of enjoying ourselves a little bit more.