Forget llama-kayaking on the Limpopo, stuff carving pogo-sticks in Patagonia – and as for Greek ferries, don’t even start. Lucy Mangan doesn’t do holidays abroad. Why travel at all when home is all you need?
I think I was, as those much neglected philosophers The Ponytails once put it, born too late. A generation ago, I understand, people were happy if they got to load themselves and the kids on to a train bound for Brighton and spend a week washing away their cares and rickets by the freezing sea. Two generations back and the masses were content to sniff the bustle of one of their betters who had just taken a bracing walk around the entailed estate.
Nowadays, however, to spend your summer holiday in Britain is to make people suspect that you are either secretly destitute or still on limited licence after a recent parole. And you can’t even dispel their fears any more with a quick trip across the Channel. Mainland Europe has been drained of its exoticism. Where we were once content to explore, according to age and taste, the sophistications of France, the charms of Italy or the numberless attractions of Spanish islands willing to host scenes of Caligulan debauchery every summer, this will no longer do. Now if you don’t go llama-kayaking on the Limpopo, carve pogo-sticks with a lost Patagonian tribe or teach the River Cafe cookbook to the ape creatures of the Indus, you can consider it an annual leave wasted.