This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Thanks to Sussex Selfie for this piece about a cathartic trip she took to Australia, some years ago, to visit The Whitsundays with her daughter. It’s another one of our five minute stories to read online and we think you’re going to like reading it…
Some years when my youngest daughter was 12, I took her on a special holiday to help us both shake off the effects of family trauma. Of course a two week holiday cannot stop the ripples spreading from the epicentre of a miserable event but, for a little while, she and I were suspended in a capsule of sensory experiences that completely refocused things for us.
We flew to Sydney where my brother and his family live. To arrive in Australia after a long hard winter in England was the shock of colour and vibrancy that we both needed. After a few days seeing the sights and sleeping off the effects of travel, we flew north east up the Queensland coast to one of the wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef.
Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays, with its tropical palms and white beaches was a paradise. My daughter was swept into a programme of activities that only an Australian beach resort could think up. Naturally sporty, this was exactly what she needed to make new friends and restore self esteem. I read, swam, ate delicious food and wandered and the days passed in a blur of restorative calm away from phones and anyone we knew.
Whitehaven beach was a boat trip away and is renowned for its 7km white silica beach. We had to wear goggles as we arrived wriggling our toes in its soft, fine sandy nothingness as the glare from the blue sea and the reflective light on the sand is almost blinding. A coastal reserve, turtles, coral and every imaginable sea creature lives and breeds in perfect security.
It was eventually time to fly to Brisbane and then to catch our plane back home to London. It was a long journey and we both dozed at different times waking with crusty lips, sun bleached hair and rumpled clothing. On one such interval I awoke to find the daughter chatting animatedly with the man in the seat next to her. He introduced himself and we exchanged views, holiday et al all the rest of the way home, the three of us.
Arriving at Heathrow we went our separate ways… life went on.
A few weeks later a friend rang asking if I had been on a flight from Sydney and if so she thought there was someone advertising in the local press who had given our names and seat numbers as he wanted to get in touch with us. What ingenuity and how extraordinary that someone saw the small ad sandwiched between sofas for sale and job vacancies!
After a bit of persuasion I rang, he came to lunch and the rest is, as they say, to be continued…