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Emylia Hall’s Holiday Must Have

There’s always one thing we need on holiday, whether it’s a good book or month’s supply of sun cream, find out what Emylia Hall needs on holiday.

My holiday must-have isn’t a good book (well, it is, of course, but…). It’s not Factor 30 or waterproof mascara or a vivid new pair of Havaianas. It’s not my aviators, nor my scarf-come-sarong-come-beach-throw. My holiday must-have is, and always has been, hope.

Aren’t all holidays an act of hope? The hope that our chosen location meets our expectations. The hope that the weather is fair. The hope that we don’t succumb to colds or flu or niggling headaches, or anything else that might detract from our enjoyment. The hope that we’ve packed the right things. The hope that our holiday reads don’t disappoint. The hope that the company we’re in proves radiant; or at least convivial. And, perhaps above all, the hope that, if things don’t work out perfectly, we can still make the best of it anyway; that we can be sanguine enough to take some pleasure in the patter of summer rain, or ignore the mosquito bites, to consider the longer-than-expected walk to the beach as a good thing for our calf muscles.

As Alain de Botton says in The Art of Travel, the mistake we make, the thing we forget, is that when we go on holiday, we take ourselves along with us. How true – and how mightily inconvenient. Perhaps, then, our holidays should sensibly be enjoyed in anticipation, or in fragments of selective memory. Back in the spring I went to LA and had such a vile cold that I lost my voice, my taste, and my sense of smell for the whole week; I was in Tinseltown, and nothing about me was sparkling. We’ve had no snow on snowboarding trips. Leaking tents. Food poisoning. Sprained ankles. Ear infections. Hard mattresses and broken down cars. Ugly arguments in beauty spots. But… when I’m contemplating my next trip, I don’t think of any of these things. I choose sunshine. Rude health and knock-out vistas. Sweet nothings. We all do, don’t we?

On we go, booking bravely, resiliently. We are dreaming, desirous. Seven days here, a fortnight there. Clothes washed and folded and stowed in cases; a dress we haven’t yet dared wear at home, beaded things and linen things and audaciously patterned things. We set alarms and check air pressure in tyres and use up the last of the milk. Set Out of Office Replies with barely suppressed jubilance, and throw jolly farewells to neighbours. We think of the photographs we’ll return with, the glow our skin will acquire, the sense of relaxation, and invigoration. We believe in the possibility of La Dolce Vita. We deserve this holiday. We need this holiday. And, goddammit, we’re going to look forward to it. Because hope is a great look; the Holiday Style that never goes out of fashion. It’s innately light, and won’t eat up your weight allowance. You can take it anywhere, and it will take you places too. And if your holiday still doesn’t turn out to be all you hoped it to be, you can start planning the next one, with undimmed brightness, lightness, and essential hope.

If you liked this then why not read, My Dream Holiday Destination ft. Emylia Hall, Lucy Daniels, Emily Giffin and more and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Emylia’s latest novel – The Thousand Lights Hotel


Photo by Nikos Zacharoulis on Unsplash