10 Things that Happen to OE Families on Vacation (that probably don’t happen to other families)

10 Things that Happen to OE Families on Vacation

1. When getting ready to pack (a week in advance), you pull up your ‘Holiday list – winter’ document from your computer and save a new ‘2016’ version, colour-coded according to the location of items. You then spend half an hour meandering through lists from bygone years, growing teary-eyed as you cast your eyes over things like sippy-cups, toy cars and bedtime song cassettes.

You later arrive in the mountains to discover you haven’t brought your daughter’s ski gloves, while your non-OE friend who packed without the assistance of a list hasn’t forgotten a thing. How do they do that?!

2.  The middle-aged couples on two separate nearby tables ask to be reseated in the hotel restaurant because your exuberant son doesn’t understand the idea of an inside voice, let alone a polite restaurant voice.

3. You find yourself explaining Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration to your daughter who wants to go skiing but is feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of getting into all her gear. ‘So if you use your wonderful imagination to envisage all the fun you’re going to have out on the mountains, and if your brain could break down the process of getting ready into bite-sized chunks, what would you do first?’

4.  You’re not the least surprised when your son, who’s been leaping around at breakfast shouting, ‘C’mon! Let’s hit the slopes!’ announces, exhausted, at bedtime, ‘I never want to go skiing again!’ In fact, you could have written the script.

5.  You run your hands through your freshly-washed hair in the hotel elevator, then turn around and are shocked to see your daughter on the verge of tears. ‘I’m sorry! I just can’t take the smell of your hair combined with Jasper’s humming in this small space!’

6.  Your husband asks, ‘Do you mind if I eat pistachio nuts?’ as you enjoy a pre-dinner drink together in your hotel room. ‘Sure,’ you say, reaching for your headphones and white noise app.

7.  Your 10-year-old wears the same T-shirt for seven days straight because he doesn’t like the colour of any of the other six you pulled out of his wardrobe when you packed the suitcases.

8.  Your daughter’s thrilled to discover there are 15 sequels to the book she’s reading at the start of your holiday. She finishes the series on the flight home.

9.  At breakfast on your last day, while contemplating the eight hour journey home, you have a lively family discussion about teleportation, time travel, worm holes and the nature of consciousness – subjects no one ever tires of.

10.  You experience the blissful sensation of ASMR as you drive home past glassy Italian lakes and  breathtakingly vast snow-capped Alps.


Every single one of these things truly happened to us last week. So come on, tell me – is it just me?

* * *

What’s your favourite family vacation story?

Anyone else get blissed-out on scenery?

How do you deal with the overwhelming task of packing?

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10 thoughts on “10 Things that Happen to OE Families on Vacation (that probably don’t happen to other families)

  1. I love this! I hate packing. I recently discovered my grandmother’s notebook (from the early ’90’s) with pages of holiday-lists. My approach is admittedly more slapdash- I do, however, have to pack for the kids first and us second, and everything gets laid out on the bed before going in the bag. My kids always pack their own separate bag (of random cuddlies & other toys they couldn’t possibly leave behind but never look at!).
    I can’t recall any specific OE moments (unless you count the sanitary-towel-as-cold-press moment for an overheated 4 year old boy, but that’s a long story….). I’m sure plenty will present themselves next holiday and I’ll think, ‘Ah-ha! Ok.’ rather than get all stressed about it.
    I have moments where I too get blessed out over scenery- rocky beaches on moody days are some of my favourites- and thank good for those moments in which I find some kind of heart’s peace.
    I loved your list. The lift and the tshirts, particularly. X

    1. Hannah, LOVL at your kids’ bags of things they couldn’t possibly leave behind but never look at! Whenever I ask Jasper if he wants to take any books he hands me a stack of Beano annuals. This time it was five hardbacked Wimpy Kid books. The boy has no concept of RyanAir’s luggage policy!

      The sanitary-towel coldpress sounds very innovative – I hope you congratulated yourself on your creativity for that one. 😀

      Ah yes – beaches. {contented sigh} It must be in our blood. 😉

      Thank you for taking time to comment – I’m not sure how you manage it what with the newborn, the older ones, the allotment and the gin-bottling, but thank you – it’s always lovely hearing from you! xx

  2. Lucinda,

    I hate going away because of the packing. I can never decide what to take and it’s all very stressful. My girls do their own packing and each of them can pack everything they need into a small backpack. How do they do that?

    I really enjoyed looking at your holiday photos on Instagram. Such a beautiful place. Looking at your family photo on this page, I just can’t believe you’re not all bundled up in layers of clothing. We would be buried in jackets and scarves and gloves and hats, I’m sure, if we were standing outside in the snow!

    1. Sue,

      I think my children are better at packing than me, too. I’m so grateful Cordie can now take care of all her own packing for Scout camps. (I just get to unpack the soggy gear at the end of the weekend, but at least I don’t have to think too hard about what to do with it!)

      Your comment about our family photo made me smile. We were about to get in the car to drive to the airport when we realised we didn’t have a single photo of us all together, so we asked our friendly driver if he’d mind taking a couple for us. That explains our inappropriate clothing!

  3. Oooh, I don’t have any issues packing!! I just shove everything but the kitchen sink in a bag five minutes before we leave! Laughed all the way through this post 🙂

    1. Thanks, Claire. I think I end up following your method of packing when it comes to it. Perhaps I should just dispense with the colour-coded lists and give in to my natural tendency. 😀

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