Having asked various people what they would consider their “dream holiday” to be, the variety of answers were equal to the number of people questioned. It stands to reason that everyone would have a different response, since we are all unique individuals, after all, and what one person would consider pure holiday bliss, another would probably find intensely unsatisfying. Take island holidays, for example – the idea of staring at the pool deck for hours on end while trying to get the perfect tan on your already bronzed back seems highly overrated to me. My husband, however, can think of nothing more relaxing than lounging next to the swimming pool, a drink in one hand and a good book in the other. Sounds nice, I’ll admit, but nothing worth writing home about.
So I asked myself what would my dream holiday be? I made a list of all the places I’ve been to, and another of all the places I still want to go to, and suddenly the answer was perfectly clear: I love sightseeing. Yes, I am that tourist, easily identifiable by the camera around my neck, the guidebook in my hand, asking for directions in broken French while trying to savour every waking moment of my holiday abroad. Strange cultures, foreign languages and interesting history is what tempts me again and again to pack my suitcase, endure the 12-hour flight and set off on an adventure.
The travel bug bit me when I was 18 years old. It was the first time I set foot in Europe and to this day those three weeks spent in a camper van travelling with my parents will forever be the most memorable holiday of my life. In a period of 21 days we toured through six countries and saw countless sights that I had only dreamt about up till then.
Now my dreams are memories of singing German drinking songs in the Hofbräuhaus in München; gazing in open-mouthed wonder at the beautiful fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein; the pure, clean air high up in the Swiss Alps and the friendly “Grüss Gott” with which shopkeepers in Salzburg greet you; the endless fields of sunflowers in Tuscany and the gladiator posing with me for a photo next to the Colosseum in Rome. I remember the sense of awe as I gazed up at the ceiling of the Vatican and the feeling of insignificance inside St. Peter’s Basilica; the stunning view over Monte Carlo and the sense of timelessness while walking through the medieval cathedral in Carcassonne; the smell of lavender hanging like perfume over the French countryside and the words of Ave Maria echoing through the Notre Dame in Paris. I know that I will never return to Amsterdam, that I can speak Afrikaans in Belgium and everyone will understand me, and that three weeks isn’t nearly enough to experience all the wonders of the world out there.
I know I’ve been blessed more than most and that I’ve already had the once-in-a-lifetime holiday most people only dream about. But, my bags are already packed, my plane tickets already paid for and soon I will set out to make another dream holiday come true…
What does your dream holiday look like? Have you taken it yet or are you still dreaming about it? Is it time you make your dream a reality?