When we caught up with author Emylia Hall, we discovered how passionate she is about holidays and her pledge to honour the holiday state of mind all year-round. Here is what she had to say:
‘Holidays. I can’t get enough of them. No matter how strong our desire, various factors always limit the number of holidays we can actually take, whether it’s work, wallets, or wailing toddlers. The trick, I’ve decided, is to make psychology trump geography. As Charles Dickens said in A Christmas Carol (and in truth I’m quoting the Muppets’ film version here, but, you know, the resonance is arguably as strong) ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.’ So, I hereby declare – I will honour holidays in my heart, and try to keep them all the year. Are you with me?
Holidays are special because they involve a degree of permission that we don’t always grant ourselves in everyday life. We enjoy guilt-free relaxation. We’re often more spontaneous. We’re perhaps more willing to embrace new experiences. And we treat ourselves. But once you realise that a holiday is, above all, a state of mind, you can take one whenever, and wherever, you want. Next time you go about your usual business, why not allow yourself to pause and marvel here and there, put a little lightness in your step, open your heart in the holiday way. Enjoy how the light falls on a rooftop, swap a few words with a pleasant stranger, submit to the siren song of the cake shop. The familiar can soon seem wonderful when you look at it with fresh eyes.
Next – cheat the system that maintains a holiday should be planned and booked and hopeful of fair weather. Jump on the train and head to the seaside on a wet November day. Consider the elements as part of your adventure. Swap your sunscreen for a thermos of tea, trade flip-flops for wellies. Some of my most memorable beach trips have been on chilly days, with the wind hurling sea spray. As I was writing my new novel, The Sea Between Us, I explored the furthest reaches of the Cornish coast in all weathers, and all seasons. I went whenever I could, sometimes just for a day or two. For me, there are few things more romantic than a deserted beach, and unless you’re up with the larks and the dawn patrol surfers, you’ll be hard pushed to find one in full summer. Better to stomp through the mizzle, feeling like the world is yours, then huddle with your fish and chips in a cosy café, or beneath the overhang of a rock. When the skies clear for just a moment and the sun finds a way through, it feels as though all your Christmases (all your holidays) have come at once.
Spending time in the company of a good book, is, to my mind, the epitome of the year-round holiday spirit in action. To read is to open ourselves to experience, to broaden our horizons, to take a punt on something new, to assume and hold a restful posture, and to indulge in real pleasure. My favourite books are ones with a vivid sense of place – I love to be transported, to feel as though when I enter the pages I’m not just part of a story, but part of the fabric of an environment. In the past few months I’ve taken memorable trips to Wisconsin, Kenya, and the Welsh borders. I’ve been to Canada, southern France, and deepest Devon. Armchair travelling at its finest.’
Has Emylia convinced you to embrace the year-round holiday state of mind? Then why not take a leaf out of her book and embark on your own journey – with the help of imagination, a dollop of spontaneity, and lots and lots of books. Let Emylia’s latest novel ‘The Sea Between Us’ help whisk you away and inspire your holiday state of mind.