Friday, 19 February 2016

My Perfect Holiday #MarkWarnerMum

© Our Seaside Baby

I've written recently about how I've been lucky enough to have travelled a lot in life. Being half-Indian, we spent many holidays in India visiting family. In addition, we sometimes combined those trips with other destinations in Asia and also visited places in Europe, with Turkey being a favourite. I was lucky to travel with my degree, extensively with work and with friends. I also lived in Japan for a year teaching English and spent a few months in the West Bank, working in a Palestinian refugee camp just outside Bethlehem.

These early experiences of travel have been crucial in my understanding of the world, of people and of nature. I've experienced many different cultures and lived within religious communities. I would like to think I'm more open-minded and adaptable as a result of these experiences. I've seen some very sad things, witnessed abject poverty but with travel, I've also experienced some wonderful things: playing in the street with Indian children when I was a child, being part of a Hindu wedding, having my cousins dress me up in an Indian sari, working alongside people in local communities, becoming close friends with women in a Palestinian refugee camp, riding on a camel in the Sahara desert, swimming next to turtles, seeing the most amazing seaside sunsets, getting stuck in the monsoon rain, drinking from a real coconut on the beach, taking a ride in a tuk tuk, climbing up a Japanese mountain, meeting people all over the world who I'm still in touch with and creating memories I will never forget, the list goes on and on. I want my little boy to experience the same thing, be open-minded, to meet people his age from different cultures and to appreciate all walks of life.


I have recently written about our holiday in Venice, toddler's second trip abroad, and how much I loved that trip, in particular seeing his face light up on a boat trip from the Lido back to he centre of Venice as the sun was setting & the sky was turning pink. I will remember those moments forever. Last year I was feeling a bit unsettled, a big life change happened, I became a single parent and I thought it was best to stay put in England. But with that came a feeling of being stuck and I wondered if it would be possible to travel as a single parent. Actually the thought terrified me. Sometimes, though, things seem more difficult than they actually are. I discovered many single parents that travel with their children all over the world. And of course, parents that are married/with partners that also travel with just their kids because their spouses are working. I'm healthy, still (relatively) young and there was nothing holding me back, except my mindset. With that realisation my passion for travel came flooding back. Last year, I took my son on some short trips to visit family and friends in places such as London and Cambridge. At the beginning of this year I decided to take part in the #take12trips challenge, with the aim of going on one trip each month. I also started my new travel/photo linky #MyFavouriteTrip for any trip related posts, big and small. I have a weekend booked in Dorset with friends and I'm taking toddler along and something else lined up abroad. I am so excited about our adventures!

My little boy is two and a half now (three in May) and at the age where he is a great travel companion. Everything is so exciting and fun for him and he's incredibly adaptable. He's intrigued by everything at the moment, aware of every noise around him and has started asking lots of 'what is that...?' type questions which I find so sweet. He'll be starting school next year and I'm ever so aware that these precious days are flying by quickly. I love showing him nature, exploring the countryside, taking him on regular trips to the seaside and teaching him about the world. He is still young but I want him to share some of my experiences I had when I was growing up. I've been thinking about my perfect holiday and there are several things I would include in it. 

MY PERFECT HOLIDAY:

© Our Seaside Baby 

Sunshine

The sun makes such a difference to the day especially to my mood. It doesn't necessarily matter if the temperature doesn't match. Actually having an active toddler means we've been out more this winter than ever before, nearly every single day! I recently wrote a post about my appreciation for the winter sun and I have come to find a beauty in these days. I prefer hot days to chilly ones but that feeling of the sun beating down on your face cannot be beaten :)

© Our Seaside Baby

A Beautiful Beach

We live in Brighton and we are lucky that the sea is just a short walk away. But it doesn't have sand (boohoo) and I love that feeling of sand between my toes, being able to build sand castles and having a dip in a warm sea. And those magical foreign seaside sunsets are like no other!

© Our Seaside Baby

A Hotel with a Pool

I take my little boy to the swimming pool every week. I love this time and toddler has become so confident in the water. He will happily float independently in just his arm bands and is comfortable jumping into the water. A hotel pool has never been essential for me (I've stayed in a real mix of hotels from 5* to the most basic ones you can imagine during my backpacking days) but it would definitely be an added bonus.

© Our Seaside Baby

© Our Seaside Baby

Delicious Food

I've been saying to myself 'the diet starts tomorrow' for the past year, oops! What can I say, I love food. Who doesn't love a good meal? One of my favourite cuisines is Greek food. I remember having one of the most amazing meals in Greece consisting of fresh sea bass, calamari, baked bread, feta salads, skanakopita, home made Greek chips, dolmades and delicious pastry desserts. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

© Our Seaside Baby

Exploration

I love relaxing by the pool and lazing at the beach but I couldn't spend the whole week sitting down. I'm an explorer, I love venturing out, visiting historical sites, going into the local towns and off the beaten track. Obviously, with a toddler I wouldn't trek into the jungle alone anytime soon but my son is so inquisitive about everything right now and his imagination is amazing. It's such a lovely age and I love feeding his curiosity. I think this, in turn, has fed my desire to travel again.

© Our Seaside Baby

© Our Seaside Baby

Meeting the Locals

For me, a crucial and important part of going abroad is meeting locals, not just hanging out with other English speakers. I think there is something really special about connecting with someone who lives in completely different circumstances to your own, seeing the warmth and friendliness in people from around the world and witnessing how other people live. As for kids, well it's all just fun. I remember, when I was ten, meeting a Turkish girl called Mena when we were staying near Olu Deniz. I didn't speak Turkish and I don't think she spoke English yet we played together over several days and I still remember her nearly 25 years later (gosh I sound very old writing that). At that age they are no barriers, language or otherwise and that's such an unique thing about being a child. My son is so sociable and I would cherish seeing him playing with children of other nationalities.

Trying New Things 

I am a firm believer in learning new things throughout life and getting out of your comfort zone. Pre-baby I did my padi scuba diving course in Thailand. I had some doubts at the time but am so glad I did it as it was amazing. I swam with turtles and string rays and saw the most amazing colourful fish. Underwater life is another world altogether. Snorkelling can be just as amazing and I can't wait to teach my son when he's a little older. I'm not into extreme sports but there are several things I would like to try. One of those is skiing. I spent several weeks staying near the stunning mountains in Chamonix in the French Alps but never got round to learning to ski, something I think I'd really enjoy.


© Our Seaside Baby

Creating Memories

It was a family holiday in Spain when I was just two years old (a month before my third birthday) when I had my first ever memory! That earliest memory is walking up a hill with my parents, my mum telling my dad to do his sandal strap up! It was just before my third birthday and toddler is nearly at the same age I was then! It's incredible to think my son might remember some of the things we do now. My next memory is when I was five or so and I think the reason why this first memory stands out is because we were on holiday doing something unusual and exciting.


© Our Seaside Baby

Relaxation

Along with all of the above relaxation comes high up on my list. A chance to let go, wind down, recharge my batteries, catch up on sleep and appreciate my surroundings. This brings me onto my next point...

Kids Club 

Relaxation and toddlers don't really go in the same sentence do they?! I cherish spending time with my son, it is one of the reasons I'm still a semi-sahm but I also know toddler life is full-on. Co-parenting and nursery means I have a break even if I am just working. If we did go away and it was just the two of us I think at some point I would need some time to myself, even if it were just a few hours. I know kids clubs are very popular these days, something Mark Warner provides and something I would look into if travelling by ourselves.

© Our Seaside Baby

Having Faith 

Sometimes travel can seem daunting. The thought of plane rides, transfers, delays, juggling luggage with a small person especially when you're the only person responsible can seem overwhelming.  What if something goes wrong? But you cannot live in fear forever. Sometimes a leap of faith is all you need. Afterall, we only regret the things we don't do, and the opportunities we don't take. We are healthy and happy and adventure is in my soul. I want to share that with my son. We only have one life and I want to make the most of it. So I'm ending this post with one of my favourite quotes (just swap the 'her' for 'him') :)


This is my entry into the Mark Warner Holidays' Family Ambassador Programme to become a #MarkWarnerMum. I would like to be considered under a combination of the adventure junkie/fab photographer/creative writer categories :)
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10 comments

  1. Oh wow, can't believe how many similar experiences we have shared, including a year in Japan, Chamonix, and scuba diving in Thailand :) We really have both been quite fortunate to experience so many amazing things! Good luck, I entered too and it was lovely to write a post about our perfect holiday.

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    1. Wow, that is amazing Sanna! We will have to chat about all of our shared experiences. Would love to hear more about your time in Japan in particular! Yes, we are very fortunate to have had these experiences. Thank you, good luck too, popping over to your post now :-) Polly x

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  2. What a gorgeous post. You have been lucky in your experiences, as (by the sound of it) is your littlie. Your images are stunning...I especially love the first one... sun-sea-sand-and-cloud. Perfect! #weekendblogshare

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    1. Thanks so much for you comment, much appreciated. So looking forward to the warmer weather :-)

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  3. Wow, you have had some fabulous experiences! Good luck with the competition.

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  5. hose little adventures make a memory and I love thinking about how we are forming the happy things that will get our kids through the days when life isn't so easy. Good luck with the competition. I'd love to have you at my new linky if you'd like to link up http://mscalling.blogspot.com

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  6. That's awesome. One thing I wish I'd done was travel more - I've not been further than the Greek islands but I love culture. I'd adore to go to Sweden and the USA and South America. I'm hoping to do so in the future. Sarah #FabFridayPost

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  7. I have not travelled a lot (being a farmer's daughter meant holidays rarely happened when I was young) so I did the next best thing ... and set up my own holiday cottage so I could offer the travelling opportunity to others. So far, our little gite in France has welcomed over 100 families from countries as far flung as Peru, China and Australia :) Good luck with your application - sounds, to me like you stand a good chance. #FabFridayPost

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