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  • Writer's pictureHazel Manley

We're All Going on a Virtual Holiday!

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Staycation or vacation?

Holidays became popular as paid leave was introduced and holiday camps started providing relatively cheap places to go. These days, the most popular destination for UK tourists is Spain and although the word staycation was used mostly to describe taking paid leave, staying at home and having local days out, today it seems to be used to describe a holiday without going abroad, but not based in your own home.


My social media theme for June has been Virtual Holiday. Don't worry you missed it (or didn't notice)! You can have a look at my Facebook page or my Instagram page to see what it was about.

I thought that as so many haven't been able to have a holiday for some time and maybe don’t have one to look forward to, perhaps I could offer a few minutes of pleasant day dreaming by taking you with me on a virtual holiday!

Water, big skies, peace and quiet, and wildlife

For the last few years, these have been my four holiday must haves! The kind of holiday we choose is usually influenced by whether we have kids to keep entertained, our health and the things in daily life we want to escape, so maybe my choice wouldn't be your usual holiday.

Since sand and heat aren't kind to oil pastels, I leave them at home, and I take my watercolour kit and camera. Some watercolour sketches or photos find their way into oil pastel paintings in the weeks that follow giving me a chance to escape back to my holiday, and I hope seeing the photos and paintings will give you a few minutes' escape, too.


Possibly because childhood holidays always involved water, a holiday doesn't seem like a 'proper' holiday without water! North Norfolk manages to combine beautiful rivers, the Norfolk Broads (large bodies of water often accessed by river) and sea. I learned to sail where Nelson learned (though they never made me an admiral)!

Big Skies

Not everyone likes big open skies; I find the cluttered town skylines a bit claustrophobic and love being able to see the horizon. I'm not usually up early enough to be inspired by a sunrise and especially not on holiday, but sunsets that project purples, greys and flame colours across the skies have inspired artists for centuries. Nght skies without light pollution call to mind Van Gogh's Starry Night and give a sense of perspective.

Peace and Quiet

Like most artists, I deal with people better if I have some time alone. This means my ideal beach is probably wild and windswept - a place to think and rest mentally. North Norfolk beaches may not be the perfect spot to toast in the sun, but many of them offer an opportunity to walk for miles without being interrupted by the sounds of traffic or someone's thumping music. People are scarce and therefore it's a pleasure to exchange greetings with occasional friendly strangers.


More people are finding a natural environment benefits their mental health. Possibly because to spot wildlife we have to slow down which is something we don't do enough.

As a child my parents encouraged me to spot waterbirds on the Norfolk Broads or wild flowers around the edges. I still get a real buzz when I spot something I don't normally get to see in town.

Stay a Little Longer

If I've given you a taste for my four holiday must haves, you would probably enjoy the Mindfulness Moments from the BBC Springwatch series.


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