Life, Travel

How My Family Holidays Left A Mark On Me

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When I was little, every year, as summer drew nearer, my sister and I would pray that we would be going to one place. L’Estartit. We went to the same place pretty much every year, and most years, my parents would drive us the whole way. To us, it was an epic adventure, and a chance to go back to the place where our family truly were happy, and away from the world’s stresses. We’d swap a hectic home life for sand castles, swimming amongst the waves for hours and eating yummy Spanish food.

It’s funny isn’t it, just how much your family holidays leave a mark on you. Whether you went on walking holidays in the UK, camping in France or on the most exotic and luxury escapes, something is ingrained in you. Those precious memories are all collated in holiday destinations that seem sacred. I picture our family holidays a bit like entering a bubble, and when we were in L’estartit, it was our world, not anyone else’s.

I’ve been back there as an adult a few times and the nostalgia is so strong it usually forces all sorts of emotions out. It’s like as soon as I set foot in that town, I’m that little girl again. The one who loved choosing which ice cream to get, jumping across the rocks with my fishing net and doing cartwheels and acrobatics on the beach. It takes me back to a time when both my parents are around (my father sadly passed away), and our family was happy.

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It’s funny because L’Estartit represents the part of my life when everything was (almost) perfect. I mean, we had our ups and downs just like any family, but on the whole, I had a pretty good childhood. Then, aged 18, I swiftly said goodbye to that lovely warmth and happiness, and was bombarded with a new era of pain, hurt and loss.

Holidays hold such special significance, especially for kids. It’s a time where little ones get the chance to be proper kids. They might swap home worries for simple fun activities like playing in the sand or doing watersports with mum and dad. For example, every year when we went to Spain, our parents would always take us water skiing.

They knew a guy who lived there with a boat and he’d take us out for a lesson. We’d moan about it because we always had to get up early in order to catch the calmer waters, but we always ended up enjoying it. Even if we did fall and face plant the water.

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Here is a pic of my sister and I the first time we went back to L’estartit after our father passed, in almost the exact same spot as above.

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We also went to this place called Peratallada which was an old style town with cobbled streets and courtyards. Our father used to pretend that a huge lizard called Lenny the lizard lived in the main building. He’d point out all the little lizards by the lights (Lenny’s friends apparently) and explained they were keeping an eye out for him.

He also used to joke around that a huge bull lived behind one of the doors, and he would rattle it when we put our ears up to it. It’s these little gems that stay with you into adulthood. These stories from family holidays that stay in your heart, and whenever you remember them you can relive the happy times for a moment.

But unfortunately, not everyone gets to have these experiences, because not every family can afford to go on holiday. Holidays are seen as a luxury, when they shouldn’t be. All children should have the chance to get away with their family, even if it’s just for a few days at the British seaside, or a day out in England somewhere. You don’t have to be anywhere exotic to create wonderful memories, especially not if you’ve got a dad with an imagination like ours did.

I guess this article was kind of inspired by a client of mine, The Family Holiday Association. They help give families with low income have a break, and arrange holidays and days out. I think this is such an important cause. Don’t you think everyone deserves a little bit of joy, the kind of joy you only get from leaving the confines of your home and doing something different?

My family holidays have left a huge mark on me, and I feel so lucky that I was able to go away with my mum, dad, and sister. So if you agree and think holidays should be for everyone, donate some £££ to The Family Holiday Association today and give someone else the opportunity to experience a family break.

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This is my sister and I on a trip to Morocco a few months back. :-)