Mov­ing with the shift­ing sands of time

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Sarah Bryden-Brown

IF change is as good as a hol­i­day then why do my fam­ily hol­i­days in­vari­ably end up in the same place? If we go over­seas, we go to New York. If we go to the beach, we go to Rosedale on the NSW south coast. If we go camp­ing, we go to Treach­ery on the NSW north coast.

I would love to drive the Great Ocean Road or go to Spain or Broome, but I worry if my hus­band and I and two chil­dren did go on a dif­fer­ent ad­ven­ture and it didn’t work, then we wouldn’t have any happy fam­ily hol­i­day mem­o­ries. And I have trou­ble just get­ting the chil­dren out the door in the morn­ings for school, so I don’t need to trek through Nepal with them to ex­pe­ri­ence a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. So how do we in­ject a lit­tle ad­ven­ture into our fam­ily hol­i­days with­out com­ing home in need of an­other one? By re­mem­ber­ing that the say­ing ‘‘ From lit­tle things big things grow’’ has ba­sis in fact. Tak­ing the kids back to the same place year af­ter year is like an an­nual read­ing of a growth chart that mea­sures by ex­pe­ri­ences.

We’re plan­ning our third fam­ily trip to New York in Septem­ber and as much as we dis­cuss which shows and ex­hi­bi­tions we will see, which new restau­rants to visit (we can’t wait to try John McEn­roe’s favourite Mex­i­can restau­rant, Rosa Mex­i­cano, op­po­site the Lin­coln Cen­tre), we won­der how much the kids will have changed. Last visit, our son Monte rode the New York sub­way alone for the first time to hang out in Chi­na­town; he was nearly 15. Now he is 16 and is look­ing for a new mile­stone, prefer­ably af­ter dark.

Last time, daugh­ter Lucy com­pleted a full view­ing of an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Whit­ney, lis­ten­ing to a com­men­tary through her head­phones on the in­flu­ence Pi­casso has had on Amer­i­can painters. She was nearly eight; now she is nine, we’ll take her to the Met.

If New York is the place we squish growth spurts into a two-week time frame, then Rosedale is like watch­ing the sun­rise on time-lapse. Noth­ing much changes ex­cept how you feel. Rosedale is one of those per­fect Aus­tralian beach­side towns that has nei­ther a shop, ser­vice sta­tion, ho­tel nor mo­tel within about 15km. It makes for a quiet es­cape and the beach shack we re­turn to has been in my hus­band’s fam­ily for nearly 30 years. It has ac­com­mo­dated girl­friends, then wel­comed them as wives; it’s seen ba­bies come and, sadly, a baby go. It’s seen happy Christ­mases with ev­ery­one present and a sad Christ­mas with us all won­der­ing why a mar­riage fails.

Rosedale is our sand through the hour­glass, which makes Treach­ery a sand­blast. Like the waves on the vast stretch that is well known as a surfer’s par­adise, Treach­ery is rough and tough and the place to en­joy camp­ing un­der a star­lit canopy with salt­wa­ter skin and sun-kissed noses.

While there is noth­ing to en­ter­tain ex­cept an ocean of rock­pools, a sand dune, sticks and those waves, days have passed at Treach­ery where we have been shocked to find it’s nearly dark and we can’t even re­mem­ber eat­ing break­fast. Sarah Bryden-Brown is ed­i­tor of and the au­thor of a fam­ily mem­oir, DadandMe (HarperCollins).

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