What makes a holiday?

What makes a holiday? Is it time off work, or time to yourself, or time with the kids, or a break from the kids? Is it time to read your first book this year or time to get through six? Sunbathing or swimming or sliding or sailing or sleeping? Time off social media, or time to browse uninterrupted? Is it all about the food or all about the sun or all about the views, or just getting away and switching off?

Ten years into parenting, I think I’ve just witnessed what makes a holiday for me.

Jetty Lake Garda Bella Italia - Office Mum Andrea Mara

It’s bare feet all day, lost flip-flops and new flip-flops. Wet swimsuits drying on the deck. Sandy feet and freckled cheeks.

Fish and chips at dusk, still in shorts and t-shirts. It’s eating every meal outdoors. It’s early morning Corn Flakes on the deck with just my book or my small boy for company, as the campsite comes to life.

It’s running to the pool even though it’s lunchtime already, because heat trumps hunger. It’s crusty bread with ham, and tomatoes that taste of tomatoes.

It’s jumping off the jetty, into blue-green water. It’s swimming for hours and begging for more.

Jetty Lake Garda Bella Italia - Office Mum Andrea Mara

It’s towels drying on the railings, ready for tomorrow. It’s a colouring competition on the deck while waiting for the takeaway.

It’s the oh-so-rustic restaurant with the tables on cobbles, and an aperitif on the house. It’s ordering from the grown-up menu because everything is good and nothing costs much. It’s trying new things and finding favourites. It’s paddling at sunset or any time we walk past water.

Lake Garda

It’s nights out on the campsite, with Fanta if they’re really good. It’s forgetting flip-flops but not going back. It’s drinks with friends, new or old. It’s mini-discos and being too old for discos. It’s walking home in the dark and staying up late. It’s a quiet glass of wine on the deck when they’ve all gone to sleep.

It’s walking to the village on the last day, to get that amazing Ricotta and Pistachio cake one more time.

Lake Garda Bella Italia Peschiera walk - Office Mum Andrea Mara

It’s racing through the rain for one last swim before we go home.

It’s running by the lake for headspace, and realising I don’t need the headspace quite as much as I used to.

It’s recreating my own childhood holidays – giving my kids some of what I remember of those lost flip-flop barefoot days.

It’s never wanting to leave but knowing we’ll be back. Maybe here, maybe somewhere else, maybe different, but not too different, I hope. Because I’ve found it.

Jetty Lake Garda Bella Italia - Andrea Mara Office Mum

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Author: Andrea Mara | Office Mum

Blogger, freelance writer, author, mother - muddling through and constantly looking for balance.

10 thoughts on “What makes a holiday?”

  1. Yes I totally agree with all the above !! Our 4th year this year camping in Italy and the kids are such a perfect age now it really is a holiday for everyone ! Is that Bella Italia I see? The jetty into the lake looks VERY familiar !!

    1. Yes it sure is – we went to Bella Italia and Union Lido. The lake was their absolute favourite thing about the holiday. Have you been to other sites in Italy you’d recommend? We’ve also been to Marina di Venezia and Norcenni, and now wondering if there are others that are as good/ great locations?
      Andrea Mara | Office Mum recently posted…What makes a holiday?My Profile

      1. Hi Andrea – will you be doing a review on Union Lido? I came across it a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be a good choice for our family next year. It would be a first time for me as a parent taking 2 kids – 1 year old and 6 years old – to a campsite. We went to Duinrell in Holland about 10 years ago with my parents and loved it there so fancied a similar experience for my 2. I’d love to know what you thought of Union Lido…

        1. Hi Angela, yes there is a review in the making, but in a nutshell, it’s a fantastic campsite. The bits you need to know: it’s huge, and for anyone not used to campsites, or not use to big campsites, it could be overwhelming. But if you know it’s big (I imagine Duinrell is big too) then you’re okay! We hired bikes to get around – walking to the main centre would have taken fifteen minutes from our mobile, and my youngest (6) isn’t thrilled about walking. Once we got the bikes, everyone was happy. You could get a seat on an adult bike for your one-year-old and I think it would work well. If your mobile is close to the centre, you might not bother – you’d know after a day or two whether you’d want to. But overall, it’s a brilliant campsite, and very family friendly. Review coming soon!

  2. oh wow, this brings me right back to holidaying with my parents and makes me so happy we are at the age now where my own kids will remember memories made . sounds amazing Andrea

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