Emily Jade never understood her parents’ desire for low-key vacations — until now.
Every year my parents have the same two week holiday, which they have been doing for the last 38 years. They spend it in a two bedroom beachside unit at Rainbow Bay on the Tweed Coast.
Their itinerary is exactly this:
1. Wake, walk on the beach, stop for a coffee and a read of the paper at their favourite cafe.
2. Revisit the beach for a swim then return to the unit for breakfast. Read anything lying around or watch the cricket or tennis.
3. Eat lunch—a salad and leftover Christmas ham—then back to the beach.
4. Each night, try out new recipes ripped out of magazines read that morning, one cooking while the other tells them what they are doing wrong, followed by a beach walk, an ice cream, and finally home for TV-watching or bed.
Day after day it is the same. I remember in my 20s thinking it was such a boring holiday and that I would never get stuck in the cycle of returning to the same place every year.
I wanted to be trekking through mountains in mysterious lands, jumping off the highest things I could find, snorkelling through exotic beachside locations and stuffing my face with new and wondrous foods—and if those happened to be chocolate-dipped insects, bring it on. I wanted big, exciting, challenging holidays where I would return enlightened and educated and broke. So I did. I travelled as far and wide as my purse would carry me each year and sent postcards and emails to my parents telling them of my excellent adventures, ending with “You should really consider travelling more and trying this, you are missing out.”
I simply did not understand why they did the exact same thing each and every year. Didn’t they want to expand and grow? Life is short, and the world is big – do something different, I would plead. They would look at each other, smile and say lovingly, “You go and explore the world, and one day you will understand.”
What they should have done is slapped me and said “We are parents, we are broke, we are tired, we don’t want to do anything other than sit and eat and sleep.”
Now that I am a parent myself I finally get it. I exhaustingly spend the majority of my day stopping my three-year-old doing the things I used to long for — eating insects and jumping off the highest things she can find. The only way you would find me trekking a mountain now would be if there was a magical sleep school at the end of it, and as for snorkelling … that’s a great way of getting some peace and quiet, but far too much exertion for me.
The idea of a simple beach holiday, low key and lazy, sounds as amazing as a polar plunge after trekking up a glacier. In fact, it sounds even better.