What is the definition of a holiday? To you. I mean, what are the ingredients that make you cry: Oh I’m really relaxed now! Oh I’m really having fun now! Oh oh ohhhh…!
You see, the thing is we only share a few of those crucial ingredients on each of our wish lists and – when booking a life-escape (or in fact choosing life partner for that matter), we need to cross-refer to our individual – as well as mutual – holiday checklist.
Casting my mind and slightly hazy memory back to those days when Pampers took up more space in our luggage than books, I remember my check list was centred around happy toddlers and SLEEP. In fact, all I wanted was sleep.
But then, once the Smalls were backpack-able, we rediscovered our travel bug. Then followed American and Asian adventures (plus a whole host of expeditions somewhere in between). This year He decided to take the wanderlust reins and off He went. Learning a new skill was high on both our lists as was visiting Greece for me as I’ve never been.
However, I did have an additional hunch on my checklist. It’s one that I am guessing many wouldn’t necessarily add to their holiday criteria. We all live in ridiculously comfortable homes and rarely push ourselves (nor our offspring) outside these ridiculously comfortable comfort zones. I suppose I was feeling the need to break down these boundaries and make sure that the 4 of us were able to live in slightly less comfortable conditions. On Holiday (because when else could we do this?)
He didn’t object. Quite the opposite, He booked the boat.
And so that’s how we found ourselves (after a couple day spent sightseeing in Athens) living on a 39 ft sailing boat learning how to be the most efficient competent crew possible.
We covered more than 100 miles, learnt sailing theory, nautical knots, maritime protocol and had the most insane amount of fun. Yes we did often wonder when we might next see a real toilet, whether we had enough water or gas in our tank for dinner, if we would sleep that evening (in a noisy marina or wind swept bay) like sardines in our cabin or would THAT shower be worth undressing for…
But seasickness and fatigue aside, the experience was unbeatable. The squad were honestly whinge-less. Heads in buckets, flip flops on in showers and some serious graft on deck.
Our surrounding scenery was genius; utterly BIG BLUE whichever way you looked. At least one night we simply dropped anchor and threw a bowline-knotted lasso over a rock so that we could sleep in the midst of it all. Deserted islands and ones less so were explored and, while on board, we relished our lack of private space and spent evenings with David, our skipper, and Jane his girlfriend having all those conversations which never happen because real life continually gets in the way….
Back on dry land again, we’re clean and less sleep deprived. But you’ll find most of our mealtime conversations start: do you remember when…?
I think this trip might have ticked the boxes.