During certain times of the calendar year, I get incredibly nostalgic and find myself transporting my mind back to when I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old and reliving moments that are etched into my memories.
The end of summer and the beginning of autumn is one of these time. The crisp air in the mornings that chill your cheeks and tickle them pink. The cold nights where crawling under a blanket with a warm wheat pack and a hot cup of tea or milo seems more appealing than anything else. The slight smell of burning off that lingers with the wind and reminds me of when I lived in the country, and the trees that have lost their leaves, the piles of orange, yellow and burnt red littering the ground.
My family has a few traditions. My favourite of these is visiting my uncle's caravan park in New South Wales. We visit every year between Christmas and New Years Eve and for a week during Easter. Ten years ago when my uncle bought this caravan park, it was in ruins. There were run down cabins along the muddy river waterfront, small caravans that were run down and an old metal playground that squeaked so much, we were afraid it would fall down if we played on it. Today, the slopes of the river are lush with green grass to play and lounge on, the river is bustling with boats, there are little children running and playing around everywhere. The park is unrecognisable compared to what it was years before.
We own our own little caravan that we stay in each time we visit. It's across from the camp kitchen, a place to meet other campers, cook and eat together. It's an old caravan with wooden linoleum walls and faux marble bench tops. It's peaceful and comfortable but feels a bit like a backpackers when it's full with people. Five of us stayed in the little caravan, my mother, brother, cousin, Paul and myself. We shared bedrooms for the week and played boardgames every day.
During the warm, autumn days, we swam in the pool, played marco polo, jumped to our heart's content on the jumping pillow (best thing ever) and played mini golf. We rode on bikes and read books in the evening, waiting patiently for dinner. At night, we played a collection of childhood games, hide and seek, spotlight, down by the river. The residents had fires going to warm their neighbours and light the river up with flickering lights.
I made a promise to myself for the week that I wouldn't use the internet or technology at all. It was refreshing to get away from everything. I found that I stopped worrying about what I had to do days and weeks in advanced and focused on the present. It was an odd feeling for me and I did have a little panic attack about everything I had to do on the car on the way home.
Ever since I can remember I've spent my summers at this place. When the weather changes, I get an itch to go back, visit and relax. Something about the weather reminds me of this place that's so special in my heart.