I’ll be honest, as I usually am. I’m one of those people who become fretful just thinking about all that needs to be sorted out for a holiday. It seems I use my energy to stress more than to actually get things done. In fact I’m that horrible that I used to look forward to my kids being back at school. I thrive on routine and I’m not great at keeping them occupied for long periods of time… like for more than a day. This past holiday though was very different. Even more strange was that we went on a long road trip to a place without any internet access or TV and we left all electronic pacifiers of boredom at home.
I was dreading the long drive (‘his elbow is touching my arm!’, ‘she’s not sharing’, ‘I don’t like this song!’) There was some of that but it wasn’t teeth gritting stuff. In fact, my kids didn’t sleep a wink on the almost 14 hour drive and we all got there smiling so that was a good start. Getting to the beach is always calming in itself and this was no exception. (Important to have is an arsenal of goodies to snack on)
My kids were on the beach, in the water, all day long. Literally hours spent snorkelling, swimming, fishing, running on the beach and eating. It helped that the place we were at was almost a private beach so there was no need to watch them all the time or have one of us escort them into the water because it was pretty much us and the ocean… Pure bliss and a true holiday like I’ve never experienced before at this beautiful lodge in Mozambique.
The big difference I realised was that they aren’t babies or even toddlers anymore. Those days were filled with admin like changing nappies, carrying everything including the kitchen sink in my mommy bag and worrying about every little scratch, bite and bit of sunburn. We had to work around nap times and rarely ate out at restaurants because inevitably they’d be asleep before we got there! Sure we still needed to tend to bluebottle stings and sandy bums but none of that 24/7 I’d-rather-have-done-this-in-the-comfort-of-my-own-home business. Those precious moments watching them explore and discover new things each day were almost sacred. And not one day did I hear the words Minecraft, Need for Speed or ‘can I play on your phone?’ They have developed each of their own unique personalities and hearing them talk or even just being protective of their little sister gave me such a sense of pride.
Evenings were spent roasting marshmallows around a fire, my eldest son giving us facts about his discoveries that day, silly karaoke for the middle guy and fun, family board games. It’s even more fun when we’re all so tired that words and answers don’t come to your head fast enough! And everyone slept like logs after such busy, active days.
So this is me, admitting that a holiday that’s not all 5-star and 21st century is actually great fun and so, so soothing for the soul. It’s the only time we really enjoyed uninterrupted quality time together, really listened to each other and felt undistracted by everyday routines… Those routines are so monotonous anyway! We’ve decided to do more of these holidays, to reconnect, discover true natural beauty around us and find gratitude. For and in each other.
Click here to find a list of great holiday destinations
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2016.