Gary Nicks, Deputy Editor of Daily Star Online, shares why holidays are so important to his family, and why their next break – whenever it may be – will be worth the wait.
Counting down the weeks and then the days until you go on holiday has to be one of life’s great pleasures.
You’ve done your research and found a great location to explore, you’ve worked out how you’re going to get there, everything is booked and you’ve got your tickets. Now all you have to do is pack your bags and set off.
We all work so hard these days that our holidays are the one thing that really makes all the effort in our busy lives worthwhile.
I’ve been lucky to experience Eurocamp holidays at destinations across Europe taking in everything from beach resorts to mountain villages and pine forests.
And every time we go on one, we always say the same thing: that was the best one yet!
These holidays are like no other. The parcs and accommodation allow to you spend virtually every waking moment outdoors (weather permitting!) and they’re always in locations allowing lots of scope to get out and explore some fantastic and beautiful corners of Europe.
But for me, what these Eurocamp holidays are about can best be summed up in one word…freedom. Freedom to roam, to explore and to experience a different way of life from that back home (if you are lucky enough to escape the office and the dreaded emails!).
Surely the best things about going on holiday are a chance to soak up different places, different cultures, different sounds, tastes, views, colours, the chance to play around with different languages – badly, mostly, but we try our best! That first beer in the sun when you arrive after a long journey. That smell of the first time you fire up the BBQ, the feeling of excitement you get when you stumble upon a hidden gem of an ancient hilltop town off the tourist trail.
Our Eurocamp holidays inspire something else: a spirit of adventure. I love maps. I don’t mean Google Maps but those paper maps you have to unfold and spread out. There’s no finer feeling than arriving at your holiday destination, getting the map out and working out where you’re going to go first.
I always hire a bike on holiday or drive and take ours on a bike rack. What better way to get to grips with your new holiday environment than exploring it by bike. You take in so much more than being stuck in a car. I’ve lost track of the countless times I’ve returned from a ride to tell the family I’ve found something…a great beach, a charming little village, a theme park…or a great bar!
You get to do things you ordinarily wouldn’t do in your normal day-to-day lives on holiday. Hey, let’s stay up late and look at the stars. Let’s hire pedalos and see if we can pedalo over to that little island…and freak mummy out! Every day you wake up and wonder what new things you can do that day.
And of course there’s something else which great holidays give you…memories. To this day, I can close my eyes and remember great bike rides I went on during Eurocamp trips. Like that time I first rode into the lovely Italian town of Caorle or climbing up into the French Alps or cruising around Lake Garda. I love vivid colours and they don’t get much brighter than the pretty little houses on Burano, the tiny island across the water from Venice. Or the incredibly pretty medieval French port of Collioure. What about the French Riviera hilltop town of Grasse, the home of perfume…I can still remember the gorgeous smell of the scents as we walked through its streets.
These memories form the backdrop of some of our favourite family pictures in frames at home. Indeed, another of life’s great pleasures is waking the kids up before dawn to set off on our adventures.
All these lovely things are brought together by one thing…holidays.
And so here we are, coping with the surreal impact of the coronavirus lockdown, and boy how trapped we all feel, how far away and closed down the world suddenly looks.
We hope we can all get through this together thanks to the efforts of those keeping things going for everyone else. The NHS workers, the supermarket workers, the petrol station workers…we’re indebted to them all. The devastating effect this virus is having on the world is a stark reminder of just how precious it is. And even more reason to cherish every moment we have on it.
So for me, when Eurocamp asked if I’d put into words why our holidays are so important, I was more than happy to help. Because yes, our lovely holidays give us freedom, they help unlock our spirit of adventure and they give us great memories. But writing this at home, as we carry on through the lockdown, remembering all the great places I’ve seen and all the great experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy, there’s one final thing that I think is the genie in the bottles for these amazing holidays…and it’s escapism. That lovely feeling we get if we catch ourselves daydreaming about our next trip, or looking back on past adventures.
We may have to hang in there and wait a little longer for our next holiday. But like with every great trip, the wait will make it all the more worth it.
I hope that as a world working together, we can beat this virus and we can return to what we love looking forward to the most: fantastic holidays where we can explore our great planet again for some more inspired escapism.