As thoughts turn to getting something booked in for our holiday, it got me thinking just how much has changed in terms of what we look for now in a holiday.
When we had much more disposable income it was all about finding interesting places to visit and often the sort of places that might not be considered quite the normal relaxing summer holiday. We have had fascinating times in Russia, travelling in St Petersburg and on to Moscow, and it was a truly fascinating place and one that left us feeling slightly ill at ease at times, be it at seeing the sheer poverty that exists and the sense of being followed or the general bizarreness around whether we had the correct visa and passport stamps or not. I’m not sure I’d have the energy nowadays to go through the performance of getting our visas approved for the five of us!
Mexico City was another place that we went to, and I think it’s one place that really changed my views on things – I was noticeably different looking there and the number of times I had people trying to touch my very pale skin and my very blonde hair drove me utterly insane. Perhaps the strangest yet most memorable moment was when I was heading to meet Damian and I realised that, on the underground platform, I was surrounded only by men, a lady grabbed my arm and dragged me through the men to another section of the platform that has metal barriers up and to the other side where she gestured to the sign above which said women only. Men, apparently, can’t be trusted on the underground in rush hour and so women must travel in a different section of the trains. Contrasted with a few days later when we were in a newsagents getting a drink and some men walked in with some rather large guns over the shoulders…. no one seemed to bat an eye lid!
Mexico City is a place I’ll remember for noise, noise and even more noise. It’s a frenetic city and one that is just endlessly fascinating in a million and one ways. It’s a place I’d love to visit with the children as it really is the most fascinating, vast place I’ve been to.
Nowadays I look for places that aren’t too far away and places that have plenty of outdoor space to let the children get out and run and into nature. I like the idea of something a bit different, and Damian has often talked about us hiring a boat and doing a bit of exploring that way too. We have looked at zizoo.com and it might be something we try in the future. It certainly looks to be a great way to get plenty of fresh air and see the world from a different perspective.
We haven’t taken the children abroad yet; a combination of them being young or me being pregnant but it’s something we will do in the next year or two. For now, we are content to explore the UK. Gone are the days of scouring sites like Holiday Gems in my lunch hour and instead I study the UK maps, looking for places close to castles but in easy drive of a beach, should we get lucky with the weather.
In the past, cheap and cheerful was the key for flights and accommodation, and the less said about the £6 a night (for the two of us!) in Malta the better! These days we much prefer some home comforts when we go away and we don’t mind stretching the budget for the right space.
Some of my fondest holiday memories are as varied as being in the midst of a protest in a cathedral in Mexico City, eating take away pizzas with the children in a park in Wales and singing along to Britney Spears as we drove along the empty roads in Australia.
Lots of things make a great holiday but I think, these days, it’s the quality time away, just the five of us and getting to share the wonder of the world around us with the children.