A crescent of soft, white sand stretches off to the headland of a palm-fringed bay, the aquamarine sea rolls gently on to the beach and the sun pours down its warming rays out of a deep blue sky.
Not a favourite holiday destination, I’m afraid, but the place I go to in my head when I can’t get to sleep – it beats counting sheep.
It’s odd because it bears no resemblance to anywhere I’ve been on holiday. The nearest is a trip I took to the Red Sea where I found myself being talked into going swimming with dolphins – one of the most terrifying experiences of my life; they were much bigger than I expected, and very fast. Not really something you want come across in 100ft of water on your first ever attempt at snorkelling.
It’s that time of year when many people’s minds turn to planning their summer vacation and there’s a special supplement in today’s Bury Free Press to help you. I’m afraid I won’t be studying it very hard, I find holidays very difficult. They’re incredibly stressful - all the planning, packing and travelling; a fortnight of getting used to a different routine, coping without the things you forgot or couldn’t take with you, strange food, then packing, travelling, unpacking, laundry and returning to work to catch up on all the things no-one’s done in your absence. Where’s the relaxation value in that?
I’ve never had that wanderlust I see in some people, no deep desire to continually visit new places or sample different cultures. Perhaps it’s something to do with being born and growing up on a relatively small island (the Isle of Wight), where it was almost like being on holiday all the time (#rosetintedglasses).
Then there’s the ‘eco-warrior’ in me who wonders about the environmental sustainability of millions of people jetting around the world chasing the sun; the impact vast hordes of tourists have on the beautiful, historic locations they’ve gone to gawp at and the dilution of ancient traditions and cultures by the increasing rate of globalisation.
Of course, I wouldn’t dare tell my family that we can’t go on holiday and each summer we go through the process of planning, packing, travelling . . . when all we really need to do is lie back, close our eyes and feel that warm, white sand between our toes.