"Tangerine!" By Amanda Prowse
No 18 "WE'RE ALL GOING ON A SUMMER HOLIDAY..."
Not in this house we’re not.
What is wrong with me? Nearly everyone I know gets excited at the thought of a powder sand beach with the sun gently dipping behind the horizon, cocktail in hand, floaty linen wafting in the breeze to cool their pits, the sound of waves breaking on the shoreline – but not me! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not travel I dislike – quite the opposite, nothing excites me more than the thought of exploring a new place, eating a different cuisine, visiting unique architecture, and learning about the history of a place, but beach holidays in the sun? I’m just not into it anymore. Give me a city with winding streets, local markets, and family run restaurants to wander and I’m happy!
This has not always been the case. I used to be a beach and sun addict! I’d plan for and feel excited about the next trip. I’d adore that time away and then give in to a deep melancholy when returned home. The alarm would wake me back in the real world and still with sand in the creases of my flip-flops, that last holiday would almost immediately be no more than a dim and distant memory. I’d then start scouring brochures and websites for the next trip, something to look forward to…
I have in my life been fortunate enough to have chased the sun around the world, seeking out beaches everywhere from the USA, Australia, Hong Kong to the Caribbean and New Zealand, and just about every European country that isn’t land locked and most of its islands! Like one of those turtles who cross perilous oceans to lay their eggs in their beach of choice, driven by nature – that was me… although it wasn’t quite so perilous, but was more a case of slinging a t-shirt in my backpack and wishing I’d paid for “speedy boarding” so I could feel smug at the departure gate. Yes, I could get through any bad day if I knew there was a sun lounger with my name on it awaiting the feel of my striped towel and wide bottom.
Without fail, wherever I visited, I would spend a while loitering outside the windows of realtors, fantasising about which of the luscious villas on display I would buy if and when my ship came in.
‘Urgh, I could never live with that tiling – definitely not that one!’
‘No wine cellar? How can I live without a wine cellar?’
‘That hot tub is tiny! What were they thinking?’
These the debates that would rage in my thoughts even though the flight over and my 3* hotel would have cleaned me out financially and I’d have just enough cash for my cold drink and catch of the day later.
So, what changed? A lot actually.
· Content with my life, satisfied to potter in all weathers, I don’t feel the need to chase temporary pockets of happiness in the way I used to.
· Cancer, ageing, awareness of sun damage, a desire to keep my skin and body healthier.
· An intolerance to the heat I used to crave! This only worsened post menopause, but now I prefer a clement climate than self-basting at mark 6.
· I have no desire to be anywhere other than home… with my own bed, own bathroom, favourite mug, and comfy sofa.
· Global climate challenges. I am hugely aware of the impact of flight on the planet and try to do is as little as I can. This for a girl who shamefully and ignorantly used to crisscross the planet.
· Covid. Planes are flying petri dishes! NO thank you!
· Queueing at busy airports – makes me come out in hives at the thought.
· My ageing parents. I need and want to be as close to them as possible.
· I’m a Dog Mumma and they get distinctly sniffy if I go into another room, let alone abandon them for a holiday!
· I have a love for the coastline around the UK – so many beautiful places to discover and only a drive or train ride away…
So, for now, I shall potter in all weathers, take day trips to all of our glorious counties and pack away my Lonely Planet guides… who’s with me?