This weekend we took a road trip to the sea…
Right around the coast of North Devon, which stole our hearts as soon as our eyes caught sight of the tumbling farmhouses and much loved seas. The sky was the brightest blue and the water mirrored like a glitter ball, the sea pinks waving their welcome to the land, the beach soft beneath our feet as we tread our footprints in the sand.
We love slow travel and will rarely make plans while going somewhere else. And so we marked two beaches on the map and that was that.
To think that we use to drives hours to big shopping centres, to spend our days, when instead we could have been doing this, playing in the haze. So many years wasted choosing things over life. Luckily we traded stuffy shops for silent seas and it has been one of the most rewarding decisions, we have made.
I was sure that it would be a hard transition but it has been so much easier than I thought. I felt so guilty that we wouldn’t be taking the kids to the shops so much anymore, after all I created the routine and I was taking it away. It actually stopped me wanting to simplify! But how wrong was I.
The kids have flourished spending time outdoors, they get to spend hours climbing through the dunes and splashing some more. Hands are weighed down with nature’s treasure, rather than shopping bags and cheeks are rosy from all that good air.
It bonds us like nothing else, being together like this, memories are made of salty lips and mint choc chip. And it turns out that presence, really is more important than presents. Because these days we take just for us, are piecing together the threads of childhood that will last so much longer, than the latest toy.
And that’s not to say that we don’t still shop because we do. But this right here, is what I wanted for us. Days of sun kissed skin and sea salt hair, hour upon hour of fresh beach air. Yet it nearly went the other way, it could of so easily been time spent indoors, with fluorescent lights and memories of stores.
We lived like that for so long and although parts of it were nice, the biggest thing that I remember were fights. A child who wanted all the toys but couldn’t cope with the choice, meltdown, shutdown, tears and more, minute after minute overwhelmed on the floor. Thank goodness we found another way, with tea at the beach and the shimmering sea.
I’ll be honest and say that sometimes these days don’t last but this trip was definitely more. Time stood still as we adventured and explored because sometimes, the very best of times, is time spent doing nothing at all. We pack as lightly as we can with kids but mostly we will bring; books to read, buckets and spades, binoculars to see, a compass to find our way. And we purposefully leave anything that tells the time at the car, only finishing our adventure, when legs get tired and feet can’t walk anymore.
Since we made the decision to leave distraction behind, we have connected together, we have blossomed and thrived. Our kids just wanted our attention, our hand, our gaze and when all is said and done, these really are the days. And I’m once again reminded, that a simplified childhood really is enough.
Because when you take the time to slow down, to say no to busy, so that you can say yes to this, you realise that you already had what you needed all along. And that’s time spent together, losing ourselves in the making of childhood and grassy dunes, sandy toes and the glow of the moon.