I was immensely lucky that as a child I was able to go abroad. My family would save up all year round so that we could all go away for a few weeks to find the sun and this would mean leaving the British Isles for the warmer climes of the Spanish Costas. This is despite the fact that any photons from the sun instantly microwave my skin and I would have to be covered in so much sunscreen I would come back whiter than when I went.
Nowadays my early travels would not be what you would call exotic, nor did we get to our destination in the most glamorous way, but the most important thing was that as a family we could go on holiday. Our parents would save all year round to be able to take us away, and these were some of the best holidays we ever had.
The first holidays I had were a drive away, not a few minutes down the road but a thousand miles away. No, that is not an exaggeration I have actually checked on Google Maps and it’s a 15 hour drive straight through France to a resort just north of Barcelona.
Going with a local coach company we would board the bus one morning and arrive at our destination overnight. This is where I first found that being small was helpful as I was able to go to sleep in the foot well on the top deck. Many years we would go to the same brown apartments in Calella, St James Apartments, and for two weeks enjoy the best of post-Franco Spain. I don’t remember too much of these holidays but I do recall the amazing toy shop that was there and getting the Lego airport set.
This is a beautiful Italian resort but my abiding memory of it is the sunburn I had. Sunburn that encompassed my back and turned into a giant shoulder to shoulder blister. A blister that was then torn off while playing with some other kids. To this day I have memories of that holiday because my back still won’t tan properly.
By the mid-90’s air travel was getting extremely cheap so we started travelling to the Greek Islands. Skopelos, Poros, Aegina, Skiathos and more that I can no longer remember the name of. As with the holidays before all the family would go, as well as my grandparents. Being the eldest child (and only boy) meant there would be an over-occupancy in our rooms for four. So I would be in with my Nan and Grump. This was a perfect situation because one thing I found out very young was that they had no idea about foreign currency, and they always ate earlier than my parents so I could get fed twice.
To celebrate the end of our A-levels I went with eleven friends to Tenerife. Here is a picture of me from a fortnight in the Canary Islands.
That is me with a roof tile. This may have been the most sober I had been all the time. It was the first time I had been away without my family and I may have been let loose on the bars.
After that holiday it was many years before I really went away again as University and work prevented me from doing anything. As soon as I had the means to buy that plane ticket again nothing was going to stop me.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”