[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignleft" width="270" caption="Photo taken on our last ski trip to Norway"][/caption]
We're going on holiday on Saturday, skiing with my husband's family in Colorado. I got to thinking about holidays from my childhood and the many fond memories I have. Probably my ealiest holiday memory is when my parents took my two older brothers and I to France when I was four. It was a great family trip. However, I have more vivid memories from a later trip to Italy.....
When I was 8, my parents took me to Italy. My dad had been learning Italian at night-school and was keen to practise with some natives. My parents didn't have a lot of money but we travelled around various parts of Italy for a couple of weeks, using the Let's Go: Italyguide for travel on a budget. It was such a great experience. The Italians love children so I was always being given little gifts and treats from shopkeepers or extra slices of dessert in restaurants. Already at age 8 I drank black coffee which surprised all the waiters. We saw stunning historical sites and beautiful art and architecture, Italian stalions on their Vespas and glamorous signorinas, even Peter O'Toole and Andreotti (alas, I was too young to appreciate these minor celebrity sightings!). We also watched fascinating drug dealers in action one evening from our hotel window in Rome!
There were little mishaps along the way, like my mother and I jumping on a bus and it pulling away before my dad got on, or the day I locked myself in a restaurant toilet and couldn't get out. When I did finally get out, I was greeted by a cheering small crowd and a young waiter carried me down the stairs to my unsuspecting parents who were totally oblivious to what had happened. Needless to say, I got some extra dessert after the ordeal!
A child's outlook on a holiday differs greatly to that of an adult. They are in awe of new surroundings, delighted by the differences of the place and open to adventure. As adults we easily lose that sense of adventure we used to have, as we get exasperated about delayed flights or increased airport security measures. Maybe the hotel isn't what we were expecting, maybe the challenges of travelling with children are getting us down. It's a shame to lose sight of the fun and joy of new experiences one gets from going somewhere new.
Our expectations have a lot to do with our enjoyment of a holiday too. We're all probably guilty of counting down the days to a forthcoming trip and having an idea in our head of what it'll be like, what we'll do each day and how great it will all be. Once we get there, if something isn't how we'd expected it to be or doesn't go to plan, we feel disappointed. Children, on the other hand, don't have these kinds of expectations. To them, it's an adventure waiting to unfold and they're ready for any eventuality.
So, I'm going to look at my holiday with the enthusiasm of a child! Rather than get annoyed by the added security measures currently applied to all flights going to the US, I'm going to get excited about this being our first ski trip as a family. Instead of dreading the 10 hour flight and wondering how we'll keep our son happy on the plane, I'm going to remember what a good baby he is and be well-prepared, so we can keep him as content and entertained during the journey as possible. If he cries a little and we get some dirty looks from fellow passengers, so be it! I'm looking forward to getting away, being with family, doing some skiing, enjoying meals and good conversation, taking in the scenery and natural surroundings. These after all, are the fun simple things that make a good holiday.
What childhood holiday memories do you have? What kinds of places or types of holiday have been fun for your family?