“What did we forget this time?” my husband asked me once we were on the road and too late to turn back home. Last weekend, we headed down the coast for a “mini break” to catch up with some old friends. For more than 13 years we’d spent a week of summer vacation with this couple and their daughter. Both girls are the same age, both only children so it was ideal.
Year after year we met up, hiring a holiday house as close to the beach as possible. We would often speculate on how long it would last before the teenagers would think the beach house break was way too uncool. But it was my friend’s battle with two types of cancer that halted our trips away. Now, after a break of three years, we were meeting once more for a long weekend at the beach (it’s early autumn Down Under). Just the adults this time, with one daughter overseas on a gap year and the other immersed in study.
But what did I forget to pack? The houses we stay at require you to bring bed linen, towels and essentials to augment kitchens stocked with just the essentials. It seemed that for each of those 13 years, I had forgotten something important. One year the towels. Another my underwear (yes, not one pair!) One summer I brought jeans and shorts but not a single T-shirt. Sunglasses. Swimsuit. Sunhat. All things I had to hastily purchase from supermarkets or souvenir stores using hard-saved vacation dollars I would rather have spent on something else.
My most memorable omission was shoes for my then three-year-old daughter. To avoid the traffic we left home at dawn, tucking a drowsy little girl still in her pajamas into her car seat. Her pajamas and no shoes. How could I have been so dumb? The only tiny sized shoes available where we were staying that she would consider wearing was a pair of fussy, patent leather mary-janes. They looked ludicrous with beach clothes and blistered her feet but that was it for a week. Thank heaven bare feet were fine on the sand.
So what did I forget last weekend? Toothpaste, yes, but our friends were happy to share their tube. Not so comfortable was the single fitted sheet I brought for a queen-sized bed.
But the weather was perfect, the surf superb, and everything I loved about the place still wonderfully the same; the memories of our daughters growing up so vivid. Most joyous of all was the chance to share the company of a dear friend when we had all feared that might never happen again. (The pictures above are of the view from the vacation house we rented at beautiful Bawley Point, New South Wales, Australia and of some lorrikeet visitors.)
One thing I share with my friend is a love of reading—and one of the things we talked about was the books we have read recently. What I did not forget to pack was a selection of good books!
Have you ever forgotten to pack something important for a trip away? Please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of my contemporary romanceHOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS and include your email address if you want to be in the draw.