Visiting new places, relaxing in the sun, travelling away from home, experiencing something unusual, changing the routine, not working, having fun, reflecting, recharging the batteries…
These are all activities I associate with a holiday, whose meaning derives from the Old English Haligdaeg – that is, Holy Day.
Historically holidays have been associated with a religious festivity, a chance to celebrate or commemorate with fellow believers. These days I like to think of holidays as whole-days – a chance to restore ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually.
So in this summer of our enforced holiday cancellation it has been necessary to figure out a different way of spending our whole-days, so that we didn’t miss out on the holiday feeling.
Cooking lovely food, catching up with friends, going on day trips (not terribly easy when manoeuvring a 6ft 2″ broken-legged boy in a wheelchair), spending time in the garden, bee and butterfly watching, being internet-free, watching movies, playing Wii games, going swimming, playing golf, browsing in local shops, going out for lunch, enjoying afternoon tea and attending village events – these have been the features and activities of our unexpected stay-cation.
And I have to say something surprising has happened. My batteries are recharged, I have eaten well, slept well, laughed with my kids, discovered new places to eat, swim and shop locally, and experienced real contentment and satisfaction in my home and garden.
It turns out that the holiday that never was has been one of the best ever.