Big Days Out

Jeanneret Beach, Bay of Fires

Ah, summer holidays. The first question everyone asks is, "Where are you going over summer?" And my answer mostly is, "Well, nowhere actually." The subject of my sermon today is, 'Why you don't have to get on a plane to experience the good life.' Choosing experiences over stuff is all very well but experiences don't have to involve exotic, far away places. One of my recent resolutions is to learn to live deep in the place where I already am. I could spend a lifetime walking the forests and towns of Tasmania and discovering the birds, the fungi, the plants and the extraordinary human history just on this little island where I live. To be honest, I hardly even do that. I like my house, my garden, my neighbours, the little patch on the mountain I find myself visiting on a regular basis.

Liffey Falls

But certain family members get restless, and other family members come to visit, with their partners, best friends, cousins, great aunts etc, in tow, and sometimes I find myself under pressure to actually leave the house. Sometimes I find myself entangled in schemes to go away for a few days, camping or staying at a house at the beach, or other variations on that theme. And let's face it, while that always seems worthwhile in retrospect, it is completely exhausting before, during and after the event, with all the packing, cooking, washing, cleaning and organising that goes with leaving the house for a few days. Like Armageddon, with suitcases. Clearly, event organisation is not my thing. So this summer, I have been encouraging Big Days Out instead.

Honeycomb Caves, underground river

Most places in Tasmania are within two hours' drive of most other places, so in high summer, if you leave earlyish you can have a good six to eight hours of being in a whole different place, and then get home in time to sleep in your own bed. Oh, my goodness, I appreciate my own bed. I think I must be getting old. There are so many benefits to this scheme. Food for one day is relatively easy to prepare and stash in an esky in the back of the car. Sleeping bags, tents, toothbrushes, camping permits etc are not required, nor is it necessary to sell one of the children to finance overnight accommodation. It is easier to persuade friends and family to join you for one day, thus spreading the joy and the food preparation and sharing the children around.

Honeycomb Caves - quick, count the children, have we lost any?

This summer we have been to the beach, been caving in unguided caves in the hills, clambered up and down waterfalls, discovered two new river swimming holes, been blueberry picking and picnicking, and well, now would be a good time to stay home, I think.

On top of the world - The Sidling Lookout

Being Tasmania, most of our adventures have been in the great outdoors, but city Big Days Out could be very creative and fun and cheap as well. For me, art galleries and botanic gardens would always top the list, but it is possible there are other entertaining free things to do in a city as well.. anyone?

Tell me about the Big Days Out you enjoy in your part of the world..


Darwin Girl said…
I always feel the best holidays are at home.
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Good stuff! You may laugh at this, but when a person lives in a remote spot in the mountains north of Melbourne, and the occasional lost tourist is the only event of the day, then heading into Melbourne is a Big Day Out! Anyway, the idea made me laugh because it is true. We mostly only do day trips anywhere too. There are a lot of things to see and do around these parts and for the most part it is pretty quiet which I prefer.

I'm reading Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons. It is a superb book. have you ever read this book?

franarf7 said…
A girl after my own heart. I HATE going away, staying overnight and all of the rigmarole that goes with it. I love sleeping in my own bed just how nature intended it. Going away and having an adventure for a day is just perfect and fits wonderfully with my ethos. We have had a blissful time off from TAFE and are just about to go back to fill our brain boxes with more horizon busting information for another year. Glad to hear that you have had an awesome time and that your children have been joining you on your adventures. I love the sound of caves. Might have to head out and find some ourselves :). Apparently over the next couple of days the Planetarium at the museum is going to be letting people look at hot spots on the sun through their special apparatus if you are interested in another free and interesting thing to take your children to see before they have to head back to school but then they might already be there. If so, you could always go yourself and be amazed :)
Jo said…
Franny and Danny, yes, me personally, it's hard to get me further than the front gate, but the next best thing is exploring the place where I live.

Chris, heading into Melbourne sounds like a Big Day Out to me! Must get over there sometime to visit my numerous children..
Love Cold Comfort Farm! I can never decide whether I identify more with the enthusiastic improving fervour of Flora, or the wonderful feckless madness of the Starkadders. Probably the latter..

Fran, yes, I am pretty sure nature intended me to sleep every night in my lovely, lovely bed as well. Now, about the Planetarium, call me a complete science numpty, but wouldn't most spots on the sun be fairly hot? Not as hot as Launceston has been this last week, of course, but reasonably hot just the same..
GretchenJoanna said…
I do so much agree with you, though people don't believe me. Even where I am right now, far from my own bed but having made this place a second home, the Young People are planning a weekend away for the four of us, including a baby! I'm sure, as you say, it will be worth the trouble in the end, it will at least be an "adventure" that we will have had together! :-)
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, don't those Young People have all the energy?? My preferred adventures consist of watching carrot seeds germinate. What could be more miraculous than that? Have fun on your adventure with baby. I am sure your young people feel all the more confident with Grandma along..
Treaders said…
I think it makes a big difference if you live somewhere beautiful. I grew up in inner city Birmingham (England) so not that pretty right! But there was quite a lot going on culturally and of course all the amenities (swimming pools, ice rinks, cinemas, etc.). And the surrounding countryside is pretty but as a Brummie I was glad to get away. Now that I live in the alps I can see your point absolutely. I'm trying to get out and explore more and more to get the "ball rolling" before I retire, and I want to get back into the Youth Hostel Association routine as they have so much to offer (I've been a member 45 years now but haven't taken advantage of their hostels for years). That being said, at least once I year I do like to go totally "foreign". Off to Costa Rica in 2 weeks. Yipee. Anna
Jo said…
Anna, I'm sure some places are easier to 'vacation' in than others.. but I think a sense of place about where you live is an invaluable habit of mind to cultivate. The most interesting people I know are generally involved up to their eyeballs in local events, and if there aren't any, they create them, or can tell you about every species of bird that visits their suburban bird table, or exactly where to forage for sloeberries in the autumn. I also love how novelists and film makers can make any setting fascinating by the stories they tell and the angle and vision they use to find the drama and interest of the place they are in. What I remember most about the novel Les Miserables, for instance, is the chapter on the history of the sewers of Paris.. now there is Big Day Out for you! Maybe skip Costa Rica and visit some local sewers?? xx
Treaders said…
Sewers! Why didn't I think of that! Will do! Anna

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