Thursday 12 December 2019

So have you got FOGOH (Fear of Going on Holiday)?

Peak season

Relaxing on holiday: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Relaxing on holiday: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Shane Watson

Two weeks relaxation? Pull the other one, says Shane Watson. What about all that sun-lotion and €30 cheese?

We are now looking down the barrel of the holiday season. Just weeks to go until we're on that budget flight. I should feel happier about this.

Then again, I'm not that surprised to be experiencing the first flutterings of holiday dread. Forget FOMO (fear of missing out). I have a serious case of FOGOH, as in Fear of Going on Holiday.

Where to start? First up, packing pressure. I don't mean tracking down your swimmers and non-crush sundress. Ha ha. No. I'm talking about remembering all those items you have never once needed in real life, that are essential for holiday happiness.

I'm talking about exfoliating gloves. Leave-in hair conditioner. Necklaces featuring leather and /or coral or bone. Four books you have been meaning to read since 1990, including 'Pride and Prejudice'. A small emergency medical kit. Blister plasters. White jeans (as yet unworn as they have a nautical flash on the pockets which seem a bit Bergerac, but still… you are holiday packing. It's all about maybe).

Then, once you're there: there is the continuous food shopping. Have you noticed how much time you spend in supermarkets on holiday? Even if there are only four of you, you're permanently getting back in the hire car to drive 10 miles for yet more lemons and tomatoes and gallons of water.

The check-out girls at the hyper market start to treat you like Elton John, as well they might.

Because you are On Holiday so you are buying the class A tomatoes (heritage, artisanal, never plain old roundish red) and the amazing yellow courgettes and the pink runner beans (just because something comes in a different colour doesn't automatically make it superior, but heigh ho… try telling that to us when we are on holiday).

On and on it goes. Cheese at €30 a Dairylea portion. Lamb for the price of a Daylesford sheepskin gilet. Those rip-off rotisserie chickens. And we haven't even started on the pool toys; table tennis balls; freezer bags.

Also there is the issue of your friends' idea of what constitutes affordable. This is a major worry, especially as right at the beginning of the holiday you are all full largesse, and the first-night barbecue becomes a money-no-object free-for-all with the youth all helping themselves to mojitos rather than sticking (as assumed) to the filthy cheap sangria. There is no coming back from this.

Next up: sun exposure. It used to be just that, entered into lightly with a covering of the appropriate factor sun cream.

Now it's all UVAs not UVBs, and SPF 50 really means 30, and the ones that last all day don't, and you have to reapply every hour, which means you're spending 10 minutes in every 60 applying suncream, and then another 10 doing all that towel adjusting and trying to find your place in your book.

There is another nagging question: do we actually want to be in the sun any more? When it's so hot and involves so much prep and handwashing? Just putting it out there.

Reason for dread Number Six: are-we-getting-the-most-out-of-this anxiety. Should we make the trip to the unmissable monastery/ruins, even though it is tarmac liquidisingly hot? Should we be hiring a boat? Other people seem to be getting more out of their holiday. Their children are playing Scrabble. At lunch.

And the big one: Is all this just a total waste of time? Apparently you are more likely to experience depression lying on a sunlounger in the Maldives than cleaning a loo in a cold northern European country.

I get that. After the initial nothing-to-do euphoria you do get a bit of the Justin Biebers - as in, I have everything I dreamt of (particularly during the floods) and now all I can think about is what are we doing here.

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