I am standing on top of a mountain on a sub-tropical island. As I turn around I can see the ocean in every direction I look. The entire island is before me – tall pine trees, beaches and rugged cliffs. Here – I feel completely isolated from my usual daily routine.
The time is late December 2009. I am with my family on a 7 day holiday on Norfolk Island enjoying 26 degrees of sunshine and low humidity while Sydney was soaked in showers.
Why did we choose Norfolk Island as our holiday destination? The Cave family needed an escape. My wife and I wanted a break from our busy routine and to explore somewhere new. Our older daughter loves birdwatching and wanted to see new species. And our younger daughter wanted to enjoy swimming as well as shopping.
What I like about a holiday is being able to Disconnect from the routine. I am used to living in a connected world – the Internet email, mobile phones and text messages. When we arrived at Norfolk Island, younger daughter switched on her phone. “Dad, why isnt there any mobile reception? We’re in an Australian territory!”. I explained “we are well out of mobile phone range so forget about sending text messages to your friends until you get home”.
In seven days, we did not hear any news stories. That didn’t matter.
We didnt use computers. That didnt matter either.
Our apartment did have a television and digital channels from Australia, but it was only turned on one evening. We were tired after our days of hiking, sightseeing and swimming. Instead, my daughters wrote journals about their daily experiences. And we all talked and laughed together.
Each morning I sat on the balcony sipping my morning coffee, watching the sea birds fly up the valley bringing fish to their chicks in the pine trees. Instead of traffic noise I listened to the birds, and and wild roosters that woke us up each morning. I realised how isolated we were from the world, and how wonderful that feels!
A holiday is about Discovery. Discovering new places, new interests and to discover more about yourself. Our family bond became stronger as we spent nearly all our time together, enjoying meals and shared activities. We talked, laughed and learnt about each other’s interests.
Norfolk Island was a penal colony from 1790 until the mid 1800s. We explored the convict ruins on guided tours, and visited museums. I bought books so I could learn more about this part of Australian history.
There is a film called The Bounty with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. It tells the story of the mutiny on the bounty in 1792 after the ship left Tahiti. Norfolk Island became the home of the descendants of the mutineers after their stay on Pitcairn Island. The museum had a special display about the Bounty and there were some relics from the ship including the anchor and a cannon. Seeing these objects really brings history alive for me. When we returned home I rented the Bounty DVD for family viewing.
Holidays always come to an end. You may feel sad as you approach the return to work, school or university. But life goes on. Now is the time to Reconnect with the world. During your holiday you will have cleared some old habits and thoughts, and replaced them with exciting new interests, ideas and attitudes. You should feel invigorated and recharged after your holiday.
For me, my Norfolk recharge was a renewed interest in Australian history, the natural beauty of Pacific islands and realising I don’t have to spend so much time using the computer!
Now is the time to plan your next holiday. In some ways,the holiday starts once you have made the booking. Maybe you can’t afford that world cruise or skiing in Europe. A holiday can be a weekend in the Hunter Valley or the Blue Mountains. You owe it to yourself and (the important people in your life) to take regular holiday breaks.
Disconnect from your routine, Discover some new excitement, then Reconnect with the world – as the reenergised you!