Family holidays don’t exactly make the bucket list

Family holidays at the pool aren't everyone's cup of tea.
Family holidays at the pool aren't everyone's cup of tea.

BEING a parent means doing a crap load of things you simply don’t want to. Rating high on that list: regularly visiting the local swimming pool – or worse, the beach – and engaging with adults you’d otherwise avoid, writes Sara Fitzpatrick.

Also: enduring countless hours of ABC Kids, most notably, reruns of hoopla (fucking) doopla!

(Although I did once sit down to an episode of Postman Pat sans children: there’s just something super comforting about watching Pat Clifton and his cat traverse the fictional village of Greendale. “All the birds are singing and the day is just beginning – Pat feels he’s a really happy man.”)

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Postman Pat and his black and white cat. Picture: Facebook

And somewhere else up high on the record: following the token Aussie “adventurer” and succumbing to a family holiday in Bali.

It’s not at all a bucket-list destination on par with Cairo or Crete now is it.

And it certainly doesn’t yield the much-needed getaway you long for, or deserve.

You’d much rather be shooting an AK 47 in Ho Chi Minh, partying with German boys in the underground clubs of Berlin, spilling Long Island Iced Teas at a Riff Raff gig in Soho (still not sure how I ended up there) or losing your mind on a midnight ghost tour through The French Quarter.

Oh, to be back pondering art I didn’t understand at MoMA in Manhattan or hunting down Hunter S Thompson’s famed bullet-holed home in San Fran.

Soaking in the splendour of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and sliding back and forth in a tiny car driven by a Croatian geriatric through the winding cliffs of Dubrovnik.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Picture: Getty

But you’re a parent now, and the best you can hope for in a holiday is a ‘whee!’ down a waterslide and a tan that doesn’t lead to further freckles or skin cancer.

So we set off to Bali for our first overseas family getaway last month with low expectations of having any ‘real’ fun and high hopes of avoiding diarrhoea after arrival.

The lure of a cheap and cheery vacay not only led us to the home of Bintang and belly upsets, but it further took us to tourist central, Kuta, and THE cheesiest hotel on the map – Hard Rock.

But with all the odds against us – and a great deal of sanitiser on hand – our holiday (I gotta say), was pretty bloody great.

But then maybe it wasn’t and my expectations have just dramatically declined.

Being a parent means doing a crap load of things you simply don’t want to.

You see I don’t anticipate much from any sort of family outing these days: all I really hope is for my kids to smile and my husband to be slightly less grumpy than usual.

And although the girls complained if they weren’t carried and Dad twice announced: ‘this is the last holiday we ever go on again’ – I got just that.

Plus, I enjoyed a solo shop, several complimentary massages and cocktails, and a whole fried fish to myself.

We created some amazing memories and reconnected as a family: swimming, exploring and laughing together.

And if that’s as good as a getaway gets these days then that’s OK with me.

sara.fitzpatrick@communitynews.com.au

 

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