The Tait family members have always been great travellers. Every second year, Mum and Dad would pack us all in the car and drive us 35-odd hours (or thereabouts) to visit Dad’s family up near Townsville. The first few years, we went from the Northern Territory, up and East, in an old Holden Kingswood with orange curtains. From the outside, the orange curtains simply blended into the red dust that covered the car.
When I was 10, we moved ‘down south’ to Fibrotown and acquired a brother. After that, our drives were straight up the coast, in a bright yellow Mistubishi people mover. More space to spread out, and if you sat right up the back, Mum could never make good on any of her threats – she couldn’t reach you.
Every other year, we’d only go as far as Brisbane, to visit Mum’s family. Thirteen hours is a short drive when you’re used to the other kind.
You’d think that having endured hour after endless hour of I spy and other convoluted car games that I’d have had enough. That all my adult holidays would have involved flying and lying by the pool. That my idea of a family holiday would be all about a beach house 10 minutes from home.
Not me. Some of my fondest memories remain belting out Country Roads in the back of the car with Maxabella, Multiple Mum and TICH – with strong emphasis on the ‘take me home’ line. Squeezing into one on-site caravan at our overnight stop. Whinging about the fact that Maxabella, who got car sick, got to have either the window or the front seat every single time. (Now that I have children of my own, I thoroughly support this tactic – who wants to sit in a car that stinks of vomit for 40 hours? Anyone?)
The Builder and I love a driving holiday. Even our honeymoon involved twirling around Tasmania in a hire car, marvelling at the fact that what looked like a 10-minute drive on the map invariably turned into a five-hour odyssey, thanks to the winding roads.
Our one departure from the driving tradition was our cruise last year. (A driving holiday on water, if you ask me, only you bring the pool with you.) The boys loved it. I looked at the Kids Club and saw ‘boring room without windows’. They saw ‘new friends and Playstation’. You can read my thoughts on the rest of it, here.
We are about to embark on this year’s family fiesta, cocooned in Theresa the Terror. I know that it will bring us closer together. There is something about the intimacy of a moving car that fosters deep conversation, even amidst the deep boredom. I can’t wait.
So by now you’re probably feeling very sorry for Misters 6 and 3. Imagine being saddled with a mum who thinks that I Spy is the very height of family entertainment. If you’d like to save them from me, please send us all to Dunk Island (this is my entry for the competition) – vote by clicking through the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers button. They thank you very much.