We’ve been away on holidays last week. It was my Dad’s 80th birthday so went to visit him in the little town where I grew up. I also managed to throw to together a mini-book tour, visiting my two old primary schools, a local pre-school and hosting a special Storytime at Griffith City Library. But a holiday can’t be all work and no play and since I had all that family babysitting on tap, we also managed to enjoy an extremely rare kidfree dinner out with some old friends. During our uninterrupted conversation, we got to reminiscing about the travelling we’d done overseas when we were younger, before we had kids. As the stories came out of various shenanigans around the world, I realised that one of the few things I miss from my life before kids was being able to occasionally travel to other parts of the world (that and having any kind of uninterrupted adult conversation for more than five minutes!)
Of course, some people do manage to keep travelling after they have children, it’s just a lot more expensive and takes a lot more organization and planning. It’s also likely to be a different style of travelling. You might be less likely to back-pack around Europe and more likely to spend a week in a resort in Fiji!
I’ve never done one of those Fiji holidays, but they seem to be very popular with families because they include free kids clubs. In fact they’re so popular around here that nearly every kid from Birdy’s kindy class has either been to Fiji or Bali in the last year. She even said to me last holidays, “Mum, next time we have a holiday, can we go to Bali or Fiji so I can get my hair braided?” She wanted to come back to school with braided hair like so many of her friends. So what did we do? We went to Griffith – OK so it’s not exactly Fiji, but there are lots of Tongans there!
For me, half the point of travelling is to see something different and have new experiences and you don’t have to go overseas for that. On our holiday, we drove for eight hours in the car without stopping – that was a new experience. We saw emus on the Hay plains – that was a little bit exciting! And of course there was lots of time with family which is always special. But one of the highlights of the holiday was when we went to Canberra on the way home. We had a really nice day out at Questacon, which the kids loved, then at night we wandered the streets of Canberra in the -5 degree icy wind to see the Enlighten festival. This is where some of Canberra’s leading artists create artworks that are projected onto the city’s most iconic buildings, like the old Parliament House and the National Library. That was pretty spectacular.
Later that night, when we arrived home feeling cold, weary and hungry – we had another completely new experience – we discovered that Birdy and I have knits! That’s probably what we’ll remember – this was the holiday when we had knits for the first time!
So instead of staying up late having red wine and conversation, we stayed up to midnight treating our headlice. My friend Jacqui pointed out to me that this was a pretty serious indication of the depth of our friendship that she was willing to stay up half the night picking knits out of my hair with fine tooth comb. (I have a lot of hair, so it’s not a small job!)
The funny thing is, Caillie and I have now got our hair plaited to stop our knits from spreading. So Caillie did go to back to school after her holiday with braids like she wanted. We just didn’t have to go to Fiji to get them!