I can be nostalgic. Not in a bad way that influences my thoughts and actions in the present, but in the sense that I like looking back at the past of which I have very fond memories. This is particularly true of my family holidays when I was younger. I was very fortunate, my parents took my sister and I to visit the USA for 2-3 weeks every year for over a decade, and is probably where my love for travel came from.
But nostalgia can be a funny old thing.
“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”
– Doug Larson
Not too long ago I felt an urge to visit the USA again. I couldn’t settle on where exactly, when an idea came out of nowhere. I was going to visit the Gulf Coast of Florida, retracing a route I took when I couldn’t have been any older than 12 or 13. It was a brilliant idea, a holiday that I couldn’t not enjoy. And so I started to research the places I visited, with some help from my parents to jog my memories.
I have many happy memories of a motel in Clearwater Beach. It’s no longer there. Google Maps shows an overgrown empty plot with signs suggesting apartments are soon being build. Next I looked up a Best Western in Naples. It’s still there, but I started to wonder to why I have fond memories of this particular hotel. I remember Tin City, but that is about it. What would I do if I visited Naples as an adult and travelling solo? Mentally retracing my childhood holiday, I had the same dilemma with every destination and each time the same answer. I found my expectations as 35 year old adult were being set by the memories of my 13 year old self. It was becoming apparent that my brilliant idea might not actually be so brilliant after all.
“Many people have fond memories of ‘perfect’ childhood holidays. Trying to re-create these celebrations can be very stressful.”
– Anita F. Fernaner
This blog post was actually sitting in my draft blogs for some time for a number of months; I was close to deleting it. But I didn’t and my plans to relive my childhood holidays haven’t moved any further forward. I would still like to visit Florida, but perhaps I’ll settle on the Keys. I know the type of holiday I’ll be getting and my memories are hazy at best. I’ll enjoy it regardless, but it would make it that bit more special if I could tap into the depths of my memory and recall the hotels, the restaurants and bars we may have visited…