If there’s one thing I miss about my childhood, it’s those long school breaks. Working full time usually means working at least 11 months of the year and fitting as much we can in as little time as possible.
I grew up in Saudi Arabia and every summer to escape the somewhat unbearable heat we would head over to England, a trip my sister and I always looked forward to.
During our month long visit, one of my fondest memories is one of our annual family day trip to the seaside.
I am lucky enough to be part of a very large and very crazy family, so travelling was never about packing up the one car and driving stress-free to our destination. There were about twenty of us young cousins plus the ten or so aunties and uncles that we somehow had to transport. Even setting off from my grandparents driveway (the central meeting point) was an adventure. My uncle would be the lead driver in his questionable people carrier full of kids and then a few straddling cars would follow suit.
The morning would usually consist of a mad panic of packing plastic bags full of crisps, sweets, sandwiches, drinks… extra bags for the many of us that used to be travel sick… and then a few more bags with hats, scarves and spare clothes. There was a lot to remember (for the adults anyway) and trying to ensure nothing was forgotten always ended up in utter chaos.
Once we were all strapped up and hit the road, the adventure continued. Road trips have always been a fun family event, even to this day. Car games, loud singing, excitable chit chat and halfway through there was the standard chorus of travel sickness (I’m sorry I know that’s not a pleasant thought) … not that this ever dampened any of our spirits.
Eventually we would reach our destination. The vast promenade and soft sandy beach was bustling with families and ice cream trucks
But us kids weren’t really there for the seaside.
All twenty of us young ‘uns had only one place in mind – the fun house. A large wacky warehouse that even the adults could join in on. I remember running in and frantically throwing my shoes off in a bid to get into that starting ball-pit faster than the others. The adults would join in and were known from screaming louder than we did as they powered through the foam packed battlefield.
Once each of us had pushed ourselves to exhaust every ounce of energy… we would head out towards the light of the shimmering sea, carting all our bags with us, looking for that perfect spot to make camp for the afternoon.
After refuelling on homemade goodies there was always just enough time for rolling up trousers and splashing around in the refreshing (sometimes numbingly cold) water. Occasionally there would be a huge drama as the big kids (aka adults) of the group would fight to see who would be the unfortunate one to be thrown in fully clothed.
By the time the light started to fade, we were all packed and loaded back into our transportation, well and truly worn out! A sign of an eventful, wonderfully fun day away.
Over the years we took many a family road trip, just like this and my biggest regret is that I don’t have a photographic record of any of our excursions. I do however have some pretty damn good memories, ones I hope we can all find time in our busy lives to recreate one day, if not for us but for the next generation (can’t believe I’m actually old enough to say that?!?!)
They say you learn from your mistakes, so I suppose its instances like these that are the reason I am now completely obsessed with photo documenting! I love having a visual record of my experiences in the hope that in time I’ll be able to fondly look back and see what has and hasn’t changed.
If you’re wondering what childhood summers looked like in the UK, then head over to Parkdean’s Nostalgia Page, which houses old images of Britain’s most loved holiday destinations. There are some incredible pics on there, makes me crave summer all over again!
Did anyone else spend their holidays exploring the UK? What are your favourite memories? Have you got a good nostalgic holiday photo?