RICHARD SAY: “Holiday should not be hard work”.

The Merricks-Red Hill trail. Where nothing much happens, fortunately.

The Merricks-Red Hill trail. Nothing to write home about, fortunately.

Trust Confucius to put it in a nutshell: ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’

That’s all very well for him to say. Chinese labourers swarming round him, slaving themselves towards an early grave, while he sat under a shady tree thinking up a few quotes. I bet he had days he couldn’t even be bothered being pithy and original. And he fell back on the same old lazy start to every sentence: ‘Confucius say…’

By Mr Confucius’ reasoning, most of a writer’s life is a holiday, and so it must appear to those who do jobs that actually need to be done. In vain do I grumble to friends about producers breathing gently down my neck while deadlines loom (or ‘whoosh by’, to quote Douglas Adams). There’s little sympathy for a writer from people whose work actually matters.

But there’s a flip side to my relaxing chosen career; in recent years most of my holidays have been taken for purposes of writing about them, either for money or in a pathetic attempt to attract blog hits. In other words, they have been work. But not this time.

The selected venue for our annual summer holiday was, as often before, the Mornington Peninsula, just an hour’s drive south-east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It began with a family event, meeting up with southern relatives, many of whom we only see once a year.

I can’t describe it any better than Tim Minchin does in his song ‘Drinking White Wine in the Sun’.

This was our version of the event. Plenty of white wine, but not so much sun. No rain either. About right.

This was our event. Plenty of white wine, but not so much sun. No rain either. About right.

We’re on the Westernport Bay side of the peninsula, the quiet side. The built-up beach suburbs of Port Phillip Bay stretch pretty much continuously out to Portsea, but there’s less going on on our side.

The roads are quiet on the Westernport side.

The roads are quieter on the Westernport side.

Westernport has chic boutique wineries, with tastings and talks and summer music concerts and restaurants and children’s playgrounds. We didn’t bother with any of them.

We like to look, but we didn't taste.

We like to look, but we didn’t taste. It’s cheaper at the supermarket.

Westernport Bay has beaches, though not fashionable ones. No deckchairs, no beer tents, no apartment blocks lining the foreshore. Not many people either. We didn’t spoil the scene by actually swimming.

Flinders Beach.

Flinders Beach.

There are horse-riding and mountain-biking trails. You can run them if you like. We walked. You sometimes find a koala in a tree or one of these chaps ambling along. He wasn’t in a hurry either.

Echidna near Merricks Store.

Echidna near Merricks Store.

We read books and played backyard cricket.

A new generation of Aussie champions in the making.

A new generation of Aussie champions in the making.

Then we took a trip up to Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day test match.

Mitchell Johnson strikes a little terror into an English batsman's heart.

Mitchell Johnson strikes a little terror into an English batsman’s heart. Pre-series underdogs Australia won the game – all’s well with the world.

Apart from that…we just kind of hung out, waiting for a new year to begin.

Dawn, Merricks North.

Dawn, Merricks North.

It felt good to come back from a holiday not feeling that we needed a break to recover from the holiday.

Yet…oh dear, I couldn’t help myself! Now I’ve turned it into work by writing about it, with yet more deadlines whooshing towards me.

6 Comments

Filed under Travel

6 responses to “RICHARD SAY: “Holiday should not be hard work”.

  1. ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’
    I have always looked at this another way. Choose the job you like that allows you to do the things you love. Otherwise you don’t love them anymore. For instance, playing music is one of my great loves, and when I look at the struggle some of my musician friends endure, the playing for joy is hard to maintain. Same goes for sport, art etc. It may work for some. I think you are one of those very fortunate ones, Richard. Good luck to you. May the force be with you. Pete

  2. Good point, Pete. Travel writing did start to feel different for me when it became real ‘work’, though the travel itself is very seldom a chore.

    Music and sport are still fun for me too – the trick is never to get so good at them that someone offers to pay you!

  3. I’ve got a job I love – retirement!

  4. OK, Confucius, point taken….. but never convert your passion/hobby into the only means of putting bread on the table……best way to kill the passion. Love the song……..

    • Yes, my brother only referred me to the Tim Minchin song as we sat with a bottle of white wine in the Fitzroy Gardens behind the MCG during the test cricket lunch break.

      Surprised I hadn’t discovered Tim Minchin much earlier, though I’m really enjoying his work now. I hope he enjoys it too.

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