We all remember long car journeys as kids. It could be a day trip out to the beach or even a mammoth drive back from relatives; everyone can remember leaning their head against the seatbelt and staring out the window at the rain coming down. There’s something so comforting about being driven through the rain, perfectly dry and warm, gazing out at the maelstrom outside. If you feel like it’s been a while since you’ve had this feeling, then why not take a caravanning holiday to Snowdonia?
Feel free to shoot me down in the comments section, but I’ve always felt that a caravan holiday should be an insular affair. I know; life is about embracing people and new opportunities. But when I’m rolling in my caravan, I like to stick with the people that I’m bunking up with. A familial vibe is built when three or four people share a small space for hours on end. Driving through the winding roads of Snowdonia, with three companions talking and playing music, I began to get that feeling once more.
As the afternoon draws in, after stopping for lunch, the sun begins to drop behind the mighty mountains that we’re driving through. Slowly, one by one, my companions start to fall asleep. Simon & Garfunkel gently lull them into peaceful dozes whilst a light pitter-patter of rain begins to beat down on the windshield. The last rays of the sun briefly splice the rain shower, creating an imperfect rainbow for just a few seconds. Only I get to witness this, my travelling companions sound asleep now, and I feel almost honoured; the roads have been empty for a good hour or so.
When I pull to a stop at a conveniently placed layby, my friends start to yawn and awaken, staring wide-eyed at the new environments around them. The rain is still softly pattering down as the last notes of ‘Song for the Asking’ fade away. The handbrake is pulled up, the canopy pulled open and at last we get to stretch our legs outside. One round of tea is followed by another until, before we know it, the door has been slammed shut and we’re all staring out the widescreen windows at the rain coming down – silent in our contemplation.
I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, what a wild holiday.” But remember what this is. This isn’t a lad’s weekend in Malaga, nor is it a bubbly, cultural staycation in Madrid. This holiday costs half as much as those, and puts us miles out of the way of any other person. It’s a weekend spent in comfortable silences and deep thought. Where the drinks flow early in the evening and beds are sought before midnight. When the sun rises and you’re awoken by the reliably consistent, soft tapping of rain overhead – you may be slightly hungover, but you’ll also capture that feeling of comfort and safety; as if you’re eight years old again and you’re on a long car journey home.