Mum and Dad are back from tripping around the Benelux.

‘Benelux’ is, I’m told, commonly understood. But in case you’re uncommon, as I was till recently, it is short for Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Having the folks around is a bit disruptive to routines, such as they are, but there are many perks.

I have help with the kids and the housework, which sometimes means more writing, but is really great regardless. I get to have adult conversations, during the day, in the comfort of my own home, and we have a good excuse to go out for a meal (as well as the extra two pairs of hands to juggle the babies).

They motivate us to see the sights of Paris rather than laze about at home (though perhaps we don’t need help here: have been into Paris every weekend now for a month.)

Mum and Dad are spending seven months travelling. They had my sister’s wedding a month ago, in Ohio, and now they’re in Europe till Christmas.

When you say world-travellers I tend to think of single, or at least childless, people in the twenties or thirties, who probably don’t own property, stick at a job for more than a year at a time, or iron their clothes.

I really shouldn’t think this way because, hey! We have kids and travel anyway. We don’t iron or own property, but we both stick at jobs for longer than a year. In fact, Luuk’s worked for the same company since he graduated – ten years ago now.

But Mum and Dad break all the rules. In their fifties they’re tripping around and seeing the sights. As if they needed further excuse to leave Christchurch, what with all the earthquakes (still going on), they are over here to spend time with us, and especially the kids.

But they’re only here for a week or so at a time, between gallivanting around Europe.

It’s rare, I guess, for people to travel without working for so long – seven months! Dad has extended leave and Mum’s left her job. It’s a brave move, I think, to pick up and go, to open yourselves up to so many unknowns. Exciting, sure, but also a bit scary.

And a bit exhausting.

They did two weeks travel and came back to Antony pooped. Mum said it was a bit like coming home, since they’ve spent a few weeks here before.

All that travelling isn’t much like a holiday. They might take an easy, lazy day or two, occasionally, but they’re still in unfamiliar places – a new bed, a strange diet, no routine…

Makes me think that maybe the best place to holiday is at home. At home or in one place, for an extended period, to the point where you know your way around and it starts to feel a bit homely.

Our most relaxing holidays in NZ have been like this. Usually camping at a deserted lake, where we’ve been loads of times, with people we know well. The bed becomes familiar, the diet and routine settle into predictable patterns…

I love seeing sights and experiencing new places. But I do find it tiring. Perhaps the smart thing to do would be to split Luuk’s leave and carefully allow for both restful holidays and travel holidays.

We’re in the midst of planning a combo of the two for September – a week in a villa in the south, with Mum and Dad. Four people trying to plan a holiday together is quite the juggle. Mum’s on her phone, Dad’s on his ipad, Luuk’s on the laptop, and I’m looking over people’s shoulders and suggesting we might come to a decision more quickly if we are all working together.

The goal is to book something tonight – a place to stay, train tickets, and a rental car.

Mum and Dad are here till the weekend, then off for six weeks going around the UK. I’m a bit jealous. I spent a few days in Scotland seven years ago and loved it. I’ve never been to Ireland or England. Or Wales (the poor forgotten Wales).

But once the kids have their new Dutch passports we’ll be planning some trips. I’ve got so many places on the to do list. Italy, Austria, Estonia, Portugal, more of the Netherlands, Greece, and maybe a little bit of Northern Africa since we’re so close.

Exciting! But not really a holiday 🙂

One thought to “a holiday or a holiday”

  • Mark

    Yes! There’s a difference between travelling and a holiday – it’s just that many people go travelling FOR a holiday. But travelling can be hard work sometimes too! 🙂

    If you’re considering the Baltics (Estonia) I really think you might enjoy Vilnius too, even for a weekend. I had 5 hours there in 2008 with Pascal, but went back last year for 4 days and just chilled. Very good city for relaxing, and has some amazing history.

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