A Family Affair

The majority of blogs I follow and articles I read are centred around solo travel. Recently, however, I came across the story of a remarkable family, who have made travel the number one priority in their life. As a family unit of seven people, travelling clearly isn’t a walk in the park for the Dennings, yet they have the drive and determination to lead the lifestyle that they do and their story is incredibly inspiring.

The subject of family is in the limelight this week on BootsnAll: earliest childhood travel memories, family holidays, etc.

Growing up in England to a Maltese mother meant I was lucky enough to spend a month in Malta every summer until we eventually moved there for good. The downside to this, if you can even call it that, was that we very rarely went on holiday anywhere else. Nevertheless, I have plenty of great memories of being a kid on holiday there. Every time we visited we would stay in my nannu’s house with him and my aunt, who looked after him. Even now the ceilings in that old house seem preposterously high to me, let alone when I was a little girl and my 5-foot-nothing aunt appeared to loom over me. It was an old house even then, stuffed to the brim with hidey-holes which would come in handy during playtime, and dark corners which I would never venture into. Back when I was little, it was customary for almost every family on the street to take a few chairs outside in the evening and sit around chatting to one another, enjoying each other’s company and the break from the unbearable daytime heat. Sadly, this custom has vanished over the past decade and with it, in my opinion, a tight-knit sense of community. During those hours, I would run around after my cousins, acting out all sorts of imaginary scenarios in my head, until I was tired enough to climb up onto Mum or Dad’s lap and fall asleep.

I was always the most tanned kid in class

Because we got to spend a month there every time we visited Malta, there was never any mad rush to fit everything in. The holiday was slow-paced with plenty of time spent on beaches in the sun during the day, and at village feasts or having barbeques on the roof in the evening.

“Why leave the country when you can have a holiday at home?” was something my Dad (clearly English) particularly loved to harp on about when I was little. While in England, he would make it a point of organising a family day out somewhere new at least once a month and, living in Devon, there was always plenty to see. I have many memories of treasure hunts on farms, adventures in castles and abbeys, visiting new towns and villages, and I even got to dress up along the way:

These family adventures as a child have certainly left their mark on me. On the one hand, whilst I have ventured to a few other countries on my own since, I am still not particularly well-travelled and have a deep craving to visit many countries far and wide. Also, the fact that my holidays have always been relatively tame is probably the main reason I am now planning to travel somewhere that’s (hopefully … pretty much definitely) going to shake me up a little and challenge me on a daily basis.

My family holidays were certainly nowhere near as exciting as the Denning family’s undoubtedly are, however they’ve taught me a good few things. I have learnt that staying somewhere long enough to become that much more familiar with it has its advantages and in fact plan to make my way around the countries I will be visiting at a slow pace. And last but not least, even when you think you’ve seen it all before, there’s always something new to discover. Don’t stop looking!

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2 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Dad also used to say, whilst sweeping his arm over the landscape, “People pay hundreds of pounds to see this and we get it all for free!”

    *Sigh*

  2. Hannah says:

    And he was right too!

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