There was a time in travel before ‘get ready with me’ and ‘no place I’d rather be’, where holidays were what they were invented to be: deep, brief escapes from Real Life Living no one else cared about until you invited them around to your house after you got back to entertain them with a slideshow of unedited photos they never asked to see. Simpler times. The halcyon days - I want to bring them back.
Bring back fries for lunch and rosé delivered to the poolside and your normal body in your normal bikini lounging over them. Bring back tan lines and unwaxed Brazilians and forgetting both the time zone and who you were before you caught the flight and landed somewhere completely different: here.
Bring back boat trips where they pick you up and sit you in that net part above the bow of the ship, ply you with three beers, take you to an island to touch a blue starfish and bring you home again. Bring back the hotel being the home. Bring back being very far from home. Bring back not trying to recreate a ‘home away from home’.
Bring back bad wifi, no epiphanies, no spiritual encounters. Bring back no job-quitting prophecies, no meant-to-bes - just jewelled kaftans in the tourist stores, a copy of Eat Pray Love and no reason for going anywhere or being anything except to float along in a jellyfish-daze and repeatedly saying the phrase, “I’m having such a good time.”
Bring back being away with best friends reading Marian Keyes and Fast and Furious movies on the hotel TV. Bring back not being able to make it and impersonal Out Of Office email replies and a full evacuation of your working life. Bring back continental breakfasts and phone batteries that have died.
Bring back soft, hot light and a few itchy bites and no one interesting to talk to except your holiday companion, who’s also only interested in you. Bring back AirBnB hosts who leave the key out and don’t want to know who you are or what your problems might be or where they think you should go, or who they think you might want to meet.
Bring back burner phones and no 5G and leaving messages on read from old crushes not meant to be. Bring back not getting ready for dinner, but last year’s Glassons pants instead, a low cut singlet and some earrings you’ll never wear again.
Bring back lounge chairs and Briscoes towels and too many small zipped-up bags filled with things you didn’t think you could live without. Bring back horny run-ins with strangers you’ll never know and anonymity everywhere you go.
Bring back so much rest and luck that at the end of your trip, right before you get into the taxi to the airport, all tanned and oblivious and happy, you’ll be eating an ice cream outside a 7/11 in the sweet humidity and meet an older travelling couple who will give you a reason to live like you want to, and remind you who you are and who you think you could be all over again.