Whilst driving home for Easter this evening, I was overcome with a huge wave of nostalgia for family holidays, and simpler life. When we were younger we used to own a caravan, and we used to go to loads of different places in the UK for holidays at any chance we got. I remember spending Easter in Derbyshire, bank holidays in Wales, half terms in Yorkshire. We must have had 4 or 5 holidays a year, including a longer annual summer holiday in the caravan in France.
I think there were two things that really made me feel nostalgic - the first one was all of the old cheesy pop songs that I had playing in my car on my iPod (yes, of course I was singing very loudly along to them). It reminded me of the long journeys when we would play our tapes and CDs in the car - I particularly remember listening to Five a lot on our way to France. The second thing was the smells of the countryside as I was driving through Cheshire and Shropshire - particularly manure (which sounds really strange, but it always reminds me of home and caravan holidays in the countryside!). It's amazing how smells and songs can elicit such strong memories - even more so than seeing a place that you have visited in the past.
When the sun is shining, it's really difficult to beat a holiday in Britain. I remember spending hours in a stream in Wales with my sister, trying to catch things in our nets or floating up and down on our inflatable caterpillar. We'd float all the way to the bottom of the stream, where it opened up into a lake that we couldn't touch the bottom of in the middle, no matter how hard we tried. We'd spend time searching for sheep, or trying to make friends with the cows on our trips to Derbyshire, where the camp site was on a farm. I remember spending such a lot of time outside - we had no TV, no internet, and no mobile signal, so we had to make up our own games instead. I remember first learning to ride a bike without stabilisers on a camp site. I remember games of boules and swing ball. I also remember making lots of different friends, and feeling like we had so much independence as we were allowed to roam about the campsite as much as we liked. And you definitely couldn't beat a caravan barbecue! We had such simple holidays with simple amenities, but they were some of the best times of my life.
The five of us are going away this weekend to stay in a flat in Barmouth, Wales, and I'm really excited for it. Again, we won't have WiFi and we will have very little phone signal, but we will spend the days wandering down the beach with the dogs and playing board games. I assume I was thinking about it whilst driving, which is what made me think about the past so much.
I love the feeling of nostalgia, and it always makes me recognise how amazing my childhood was. It's also made me realise that I want to explore more of the UK, especially now that the weather is starting to get nicer. There's so many more places that I would like to have adventures in. I just hope that if I have children I can give them the same amount of freedom and happiness as we knew growing up!
One thing we know for sure is that change is certain. Progress is not. Progress depends on the choices we make today for tomorrow and on whether we meet our challenges and protect our values.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton