I’ve always had this theory. No matter how grandiose or want for nothing palatial home you’ve got, you still need to get away. And we’ll typically go to great lengths to achieve that.
As a child of the fifties and sixties it was the family caravan. That half moon shaped dome on wheels. Towed behind the family car to the favourite beach side resort. Ah, yes. The great Aussie getaway. There we parked ourselves in the blistering summer heat. The whole family squeezed into our little mobile baking boxes. All lined up one after another packed into the foreshore caravan park. Sunburnt by day. Sweltering by night.
Fast forward fifty, sixty years. The concept hasn’t changed. But things have a got a little more comfortable. The family car is now more an air conditioned lounge on wheels. Riddle me riddle me ree there’s something I can see has been replaced with each child’s own personal video entertainment system. Marital stress over map reading directions has been resolved with an inboard navigation system.
But there’s one big additional difference now. Choice.
The world has since become a lot smaller. It’s now just as cheap for the whole family to grab a flight to some exotic overseas location.
The great thing about family holidays is they create memories. Memories that last a lifetime. And it’s not memories from when everything goes perfectly. It’s all the little unexpected things that go wrong.
Like the family decides to take a tuk tuk ride. The first thing you need to adapt to, standards are different to home. A tuk tuk ride is a bit like a roller coaster ride but without the rail lines. You never know what’s going to happen next. Like half way into the journey along the main road. The whole family, along with grandpa are all packed into this little three wheeled open air sidecar type machine. The motor starts to splutter. Tuk Tuk and all its passengers come to a sudden halt. Fortunately, as it turns out, its not that far to push Tuk Tuk and all its passengers to a nearby gas station.
One of the great things about such an exotic getaway are the cheap massages. A whole hours massage for a mere fraction you’d pay back home. The family that massages together stays together. So must have been the thinking at the time. Or perhaps moreso the bulk rate that slashed the price even lower.
So there we all are. Baby, in theory, was supposed to sleep for the whole duration in the pusher. And thank goodness for ten fingers and ten toe nails. There’s a good hours worth of nail painting entertainment for the other little family member. Meanwhile mum, dad and grandpa have all settled in. All lined up in our emergency department hospital bed like formation. Curtains, barely enough to suggest some discreetness, are drawn.
This unique family experience unquestionably got off to a good start. Now I don’t know about you. But being jolted from the slumber like state of a massage with a waking screaming baby was a new experience for me. Or the series of parental instructions that started alternating from both adjoining cubicles in a desperate attempt to console baby.
It’s the “moments like these” times that makes family time really special. And it’s only day three! But for the senior gap year grandpa, I feel extra special just to be a part of it.
Video above is when Dr David Attenborough joins My Senior Gap Year on tour in Ko Lanta, Thailand. Pictures are from islands Ko Samui and Ko Phangan (infamous for full Moon parties) on the east coast of Thailand, to meeting the family in Ko Lanta on the west coast.
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