We have just come back from a wonderful holiday in the lovely village of Porthcurno at the very tip of Cornwall just a couple of miles from Lands End the most westerly point of England.
We had a fantastic time and in the same spirit as my series on our Weymouth holiday I want to share some of the joys of getting away and the value holidays add to your life and your health.
I also want to talk about:
- how I prepared for this holiday,
- the health benefits holidays provide,
- the challenges that cropped up,
- how we overcame the challenges,
- how I will adapt my life to prepare better for the next holiday.
I also want to hear from you about what you do to prepare for holidays and recovery from them, particularly on hilly terrain or scrambling over rockpools as that is not something I get to practice much in Milton Keynes.
So please add feedback and questions in the comments section below.
Why would I want to share all this information is a question you are probably asking and one I often ask myself. The answer is that:
- Firstly I have learnt so much from others taking the time to share what they have learnt from life, particularly the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them,
- Secondly, it occurred to me that the injury I got from this holiday is a great way to discuss the habits that lead up to the injury, what I can learn from it and how my habits may change as a result to heal the injury and prevent it happening again.
Preparation throughout the year
Preparing for the holiday is often a long process spread throughout the year from agreeing where to go to booking travel and accommodation and then the lead-up to the big day when you finally set off on holiday.
The preparation I want to talk about is how I prepare my family for the challenges they might face on the holiday. This sounds ominous but it is really about the practicalities of travel, weather and days out in general.
For example, for us, the sun could be a real factor during the holiday because it is so early in the year that our skin may not have developed much resistance to the sun’s rays to provide enough protection and we may not be in a good routine of putting on lotion.
In a temperate country like the UK that does not have year-round sun these adjustments to the requirements of the given season cannot be predicted as easily as in other countries because the strong sun can come on suddenly for a couple of days and disappear again just as quickly.
Meaning that each year we must build up the relevant protection and adopt the right habits. As a result, our habits are continually adapting to the current season but also the relevant situation, weather and environment we will be in which in the UK is particularly hard to predict.
Walking and Urban hiking
I walk a fair bit throughout the year as it has become a real passion of mine since I was young. I don’t quite consider myself a real hiker because that seems to require compasses and walking poles and equipment like that. I just generally pop out for half an hour to an hour and sometimes more just to stretch my legs and enjoy my surroundings.
Walking so regularly has meant that I have built up a lot of stamina and wear the right gear like waterproof hiking boots so that whenever I feel like a wander I can which means that my body is well adapted for walking a fair distance day after day when necessary.
This exercise is generally plenty of preparation for any holiday because I can often walk 10 – 20 miles on a good day which is rare on a holiday though leading up to the holiday I went on a few trips of this kind of distance and they may have taken their toll and pre tired me but generally the walking leaves me well prepared for the challenges I face.
I have discovered over the years that not every area is nice to walk around which is why I love my home town of Milton Keynes so much because it is a walkers paradise. A regular walking habit is a real benefit to me on days out and holidays because I get to see so much more than the rest of the family.
I walk throughout the year but the rest of the family are more home bunnies so it helps to get them used to being out and about too so they are ready for the walking and other activities that make a holiday special. Physically as a family, we’ve been getting out more during spring and this preparation should be enough for them.
Cornwall is full of amazing beaches and our eldest is a strong swimmer but our youngest is still learning. Last year she threw a fit before putting her head under the water but in the last year she has passed both stage one and stage 2 and has become confident in the water.
So on the one hand it is exciting that she likes water now and wants to explore it and on the other hand it is more scary because she can get in more danger because she will go further out to see and as parents, we have to teach her more about the safety of the sea and what that entails. Plus, mummy bought a kayak and I can’t wait to see them use it!!!
So there are many activities that we do through the year that prepare us for this holiday, sometimes we are doing it specifically for the holiday but normally it is just normal daily life that helps prepare us.
A love of biology and nature
Mummy also booked Cornwall because I love exploring rock pools and there are many there so I needed to make sure I was prepared. It turned out that this was where I lacked preparation because I have so few opportunities to go rock pooling and very little experience so I did not really know what to plan for other than to make sure I had the necessary kit.
We have been planning this trip for months and ever since I knew we would be exploring rockpools I have been thinking back to the amazing trip I went on to Anglesey for A level biology.
Funnily enough, I remember it as a relatively cold and wet trip which is a very British experience but what I really loved was learning about all the wildlife on the island. Learning how many ways that life adapts to its environment has always been a fascination of mine and the opportunity to see and experience this for myself is really special.
So I was looking forward to days seeing all the different flora and fauna Cornwall has to offer.
This past year I have been working on my vision and I am slowly working towards getting rid of my glasses for good!!! This is so exciting for me because I have worn glasses for over 35 years and they have limited me in so many ways.
I have heard for years that some lucky people have managed to fix their eyes but it always felt like a distant dream until last year when I discovered an amazing site and community called EndMyopia run by Jake Steiner.
I recently wrote an article introducing EndMyopia and the short sighted podcast which goes into more detail on the theory and practice that Jake teaches. To confirm how much improvement I have made I have been getting an eye test every few months and to this point my prescription shows that I have removed almost all astigmatism from my glasses and my shortsightedness has also been reduced by about half.
You may be wondering what this has to do with health so the logic is that basics like planning when and where to do things are as important as the activities themselves. Do the planning right and your day will be more enjoyable and you can match the relevant activity with the relevant opportunity. Do it wrong and you get stressed, you have to rush and push yourself too hard or you can’t eat properly or something else is not right.
We learnt from our previous holidays that we can’t go full tilt all holiday, we need to plan some rest days in and have alternative activities in mind if our plans have to change. The point is to make the best of each situation instead of trying to stick to unrealistic plans. When we have done this right we have had the best holidays. So planning our trips well is a skill we practice throughout the year which comes into its own on holidays when you need it the most.
We packed the car the night before which reflects much of our approach to holidays which is about energy management. We focus a lot on packing the right amount of activity into each day of a holiday so that we do enough but not too much.
That is what we have learnt over the years works for us and this holiday we have two children aged 6 and 11 when in Weymouth we just had one 3 year old so as every parent knows this is just a different challenge and managing energy has been the key for us throughout our parenting journey to ensure that overall we have a great time.
The journey there: Managing energy
I am explaining the journey more on this holiday because it was longer and the kids are too old to sleep so it needed more planning and resources because as you well know happy entertained kids don’t argue so anything to entertain the kids makes for a pleasant trip for the parents.
Packing the car the night before made for a more relaxed morning where we could leave with plenty of time to get to Portchurno with time to spare. Once we woke up we turned our thoughts to the journey ahead and agreed that if we were to share the driving that naturally meant we would stop on the way which implied we could build a break into the journey to make it more pleasant for us all. Probably around lunchtime.
Mummy is awesome at sorting travel comfort for a family so she had a playlist for the trip planned and some travel games and activities for the kids just like we all did when we were young and before ipads and smartphones were around.
All these things added up to ensure we set off early in good spirits and well-rested.
Mifi means mobile wifi which is a bit of tech I have bought this year for specifically this type of situation. Both kids have ipads and we planned to let them use them in the second half of the trip. The mifi device is basically a small 4g device that gives mobile wifi to anyone within range.
What this means is that we can all use the web throughout the trip as this device can get a signal and has battery left. It works just like your phone with its own sim card but saves your phones data and battery leaving my phone to deal with the map without having to provide 4g signal too.
The long and the short of it is that I have been using it for a few months and it has been a game changer. I often just turn it on and leave it in my bag and the kids and I suddenly all get wifi. The performance is good enough and the convenience is what really makes the difference plus the fact that I get gigabytes of data without touching my own data so it frees me up to get on with life and not have to think about it.
So the purpose of this bit of tech is to make our journeys during the holiday a bit more comfortable while being relatively cheap which is why I mention it.
Like everyone else, we did a ton of research leading up to the holiday so I have added some of the information we found below:
- Exploring Logan rock A picture log of a trip to visit Logan rock above Pedn Vounder beach
- Porthcurno beaches
- Nanjizal beach sounds amazing but I didn’t make it there so I am logging this page as an idea for next time I come down this way
- If you take a quick look at amazing place in Britain has 3 places in cornwall that are amazing. St ives, Pedn Vounder beach