Monday, 11 August 2014

The End of Vacation Time

You know it is the end of the vacation period when you've at last returned home, thrown absolutely everything in the wash, bought in rations to last you more than a week, and dusted off your work bag. It's been years since I've had a proper summer vacation, and I've enjoyed this one immensely. Not only did I have the chance to race around Europe, reads heaps, watch entire television series, play music and write - I've just spent a wonderful week at the one other place in this world I can think of as 'home'. A little island in the middle of the North sea: Terschelling.

Cranberry cheesecake
I think of it as home for a few reasons, not least because our family has lived there for the last few hundred years. It was a place I always vaguely remembered from childhood, and since we lived on the other side of the world, have no memories of growing up there like all the rest of the family. I first properly got to know the island when I was in my early twenties, which is another sort of growing up altogether. I came to love it and now know it like the back of my own hand. I can wander through the dunes or go along the paths with my bike and I don't have to think at all. I can let my mind wander and feel a freedom one only seems to experience when the sky is open and far stretching.

Having vacation at home with family is great. Not only because it's seeing family which is lovely, but they always seem to think I need fatting up. Which means three square meals and the ice cream rule still applies (ie: ice cream, any time). It means long sleeps, hot baths, copious amounts of tea and cake, and naps. When I'm on the road, travelling around Europe or wherever, I tend to race about because it's all jolly exciting and there is so much to see. I catch a meal when I can, fall asleep all over the place to restore my energy (on trains and buses especially), and climb into bed most nights to sleep like a log. Which is brilliant, of course, but sometimes it is actually nice to do nothing on holiday.

Heather in bloom
'Do nothing' sorts of things like sit on the beach in the sun and just watch the waves and the world go by. This trip it was more like watching screaming children and their harried parents go by, but there we are. It is great to temper a busy holiday with a bit of peace and quiet too. To visit museums and learn about other cultures as well as to walk through the dunes and admire the heather in bloom or catch sight of rabbits in the evening. To go to bed exhausted from fresh air and long bike rides.

Yes, the vast beauties of Europe are wonderful to behold, but I wager that the long white strand beaches at sunset are just as priceless.

Now to return to work and real life, which luckily enough for me, is often just as enjoyable. I try to live my life like I'm on holiday: to encapsulate that zest for things into the everyday. True I don't live by the ice cream rule all year round (one must try to be sensible), but I like to believe life is meant to be enjoyed.