I’ve spent a wonderful day today looking out onto a beautiful Welsh coastline, and I wonder again why any of us bother to travel the world in search of a perfect holiday location.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit beaches in Florida and the Caribbean, Thailand, Bali, Mauritius, Vietnam, The Greek islands, the Middle East and much of the Mediterranean coastline. All of these places are wonderful, often with exquisite beaches of soft, white, sugar-like sand. They also boast azure blue waters, which are clear, warm and calm, and perfect for swimming and diving. Unfortunately they are all quite far away and require much planning in order to visit them.
Yet there is something wholesome about a British beach, with it’s traditions and familiarities that I find alluring, especially on a sunny day, like today. Looking out from the deck of our static caravan in Anglesey, North Wales, I see children digging in the sand, dogs chasing the surf and teenagers riding body boards. There are a variety of boats too, from tiny 2- man dinghys to large RIBs, fishing boats and small sailing boats. Everyone is enjoying the day and I can hear laughter and children shrieking with delight, whilst ice creams are melting, sandwiches are wilting, and dads are banging the posts of reluctant windbreaks into the soft sand.
What is absent however, are the endless lines of sun loungers, regimented and perfectly aligned with the shore. There are often multiple vendors selling all manner of products from fake designer watches to colourful sarongs and jewellery made of shells. Whilst I enjoy buying some of these souvenirs, in the hope of supplementing the local economy, I soon tire of the endless sales patter and intrusions into my relaxation.
I’m also thankful that today I did not need to arrive at an airport at 5 am, stand in long queues of tired and bewildered passengers, haul luggage across vast expanses of tiled flooring and then face the dreaded security line. I never understand why sometimes I’m asked to remove my shoes, belt, sunglasses, coat, cardigan, phone, watch and kindle, and other times I’m not. We stand in the queue, watching the passengers ahead of us and passing on tips to our friends that it’s “shoes and watches off’, or “jackets on”. There seems to be no standard protocol for this area of the airport, it’s feels like a bit of a lottery. Then when I’m finally squashed into a seat fit for a pigmy I have to hope that by the time the food trolley reaches me they still have a vegetarian option to offer. The plane which we were so eager to board earlier has lost it’s shine now and we are desperate to get off. We can’t wait to retrieve our squashed hand luggage and push our way to the luggage carousel and play Russian roulette with our ankles, or someone else’s.
I really do understand that for many of us it’s all about the weather, and I tend to agree. Sunshine is often in short supply and many a British holiday has been ruined by heavy rains and manic winds. I get that, and I’m no stranger to a tropical beach and a strange looking cocktail myself, but some of the time It’s just too much hassle. I like the fact also that everyone speaks to me in English, I’m not likely to catch rabies and I don’t need to re-set my watch, twice. The ice is safe to consume and It’s improbable that I’ll get a dicky tummy, or an ear infection from a dodgy pool.
Having said all of the above my next holiday, booked for next January, is to Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. I do have a bucket list to get through and I want to see the world, however difficult that may be. The first destination on my list however is Belfast, a city which houses the “Titanic museum” and is travelling distance to the “Giant’s Causeway”, two of my must-do places to see before I die. For the rest of this summer though I intend to spend as much time as possible on “Sandy beach” in Anglesey, enjoying the company of my family.