For me, having a holiday is more than just taking time off from the usual routine of eat, sleep, work, repeat; it’s the chance to truly escape and open your heart and mind to new experiences. I think that’s why a weekend spent at home never feels like much of a break for me, but if I get away somewhere and go for an adventure, I always begin Monday morning feeling more enriched and refreshed.
The thing about holidays is, that they allow you to become truly free. Switching off from pesky emails, mundane chores and allowing you to be your real self. Your fun, young, carefree self that laughs at silly things and never stops grinning. And I mean let’s be honest, there isn’t much time or room for adventure in an office block or when you’re folding laundry!
My favourite holiday moment is one I’ll cherish every year, because of the way it made me feel…
Firstly, let me set the scene. It was November 22nd 2015, which for many Brits will conjure imagery of a rainy, cold and dreary day on the cusp of winter. Not for me, as I had just arrived in Brisbane on the east coast of Australia to a scorching hot day, with the golden sun blazing its delicious heat and energising me to my very core.
It had been a difficult year for our family, as my Uncle had passed away very suddenly in January which devastated us all. One thing about death though, it’s a cold slap in the face about how unpredictable life is. Confronting your mortality is not something you think of every day, but with my uncle’s passing I was more determined than ever to live my life to the absolute maximum. So here I was in Australia, with my best friend Steph doing exactly that.
For me, Australia had always been a dream bucket list destination and as the plane landed in Brisbane airport with Steph by my side, I could feel shivers running through my body like electric snakes. I’d made it. I was finally here.
We had no firm plans for our time in Brisbane, but the one place I desperately wanted to visit was Byron Bay – a sleepy surfer town a few hours south of Brisbane. Over drinks that night, we made a plan; we weren’t going to get a bus and stay in a hostel like we planned; instead we would rent a 1970’s vintage VW campervan and make it a real adventure!
So that’s exactly what we did.
Two days later we picked up Mollie the campervan. She was a beautiful little bus, fully renovated with backseats that folded out to become a double bed, a little kitchenette complete with black and white checkerboard flooring. Before we could drive off, we had to do a little driving lesson with her owner, because as a vehicle from the 1970s, Mollie had a stick shift gear and had definitely never heard of power steering. Somehow we quickly got the hang of driving her and soon enough we’d set off down the coast toward Byron Bay.
We sang along to the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and the entire collection of Disney music while we drove, with both windows wound down so we could enjoy nature’s air con and a carefree mood pouring through us the way milk cascades its cooling ripples through hot, black coffee. By the time we arrived in Byron Bay, night time was upon us and we parked our little camper under a tree while we went into town to explore.
We spent three wonderful days in Byron bay doing yoga, relaxing at the beach and enjoying the slow-paced way of life that this sleepy surfer town has to offer.
As if our magical time here could get any better, we actually met a local trainee pilot who needed to increase his flight hours and take a little propeller plane up the coast for a few hours. Steph and I immediately volunteered to keep him company and the very next day we were on a nearby airfield, climbing into a tiny plane and ascending into the sky above.
Byron Bay and the east coast of Australia is stunning enough on land, but from a bird’s eye view it is paradise. As we soared through the air and along the coast, we spotted schools of dolphins and manta ray swimming far below in the ocean waters.
All of the events from the previous few days led up to this moment, where, strapped up in this tiny plane with my headset on and looking out across the pacific ocean, I cried a tear of happiness because of the immense gratitude I felt for this moment and for the incredible adventure I was on. This is the magical feeling that holidays can give you and why I will never forget the feeling of freedom and joy that this particular moment gave me.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, low or uninspired – then the absolute best cure is to go and have an adventure. Where would you most like to go on holiday next?
British Airways Holidays has teamed up with HuffPost Travel to celebrate those amazing little moments that make your holiday unforgettable. Share your favourite holiday moment and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a city break to Rome.
This post was sponsored by British Airways Holidays.