The week before going off somewhere flashes past in a blur of washing, packing, finishing work, feeling stressed. Have I got everything? Have I remembered the passports?
And then on a cold and miserable night in mid January, there's hours to be spent hanging around an airport, waiting for the first of three flights which will take us to paradise. To Thailand to be precise. Birmingham to Dubai, Dubai to Bangkok and then Bangkok Airways to the island of Koh Samui.
I always think that the first few days of a holiday have a slightly surreal quality to them, and this year was no exception. There's something so magical about seeing the sun and feeling warm. Within a day we go from being wrapped up in woollen jumpers, thick tights and boots (well I did...Mr Thinking of the Days doesn't wear tights...) to lying on a beach revelling in the sunshine.
There's a delicious laziness, realising that I don't have to go to work, I don't have to do this or that. Routine goes out of the window. I have choices. If I turn right from our bungalow on the beach at the Maenam resort, within sixty paces, I am here.
A lovely little spot within the shade of the coconut palms just in front of the hotel restaurant. A place to sit by the sea, and choose what I would like for breakfast. Fresh fruit, oh yes mango, perhaps pineapple, or bacon? Why not, and perhaps an egg?
Or if I turn left, and move ten paces, I'm here. Time to go for an early morning walk before breakfast.
If I turn left onto the beach, I walk along this way
If I turn right....
Or I can choose to sit with another cup of coffee and do nothing at all for a short while, greedily drink in the beautiful view or read in the shade.
Anything is possible....and that's the delight of those first few days of any holiday. That sense of liberation, laziness, being open to the moment, and wallowing in the newness and beauty of where we are.
It's difficult not to smile.....