YOUR SUMMER STORIES: SPAIN IN A TENT

We asked you to write a blog and share your most memorable holiday stories with us. Today, Femke (43) shares her story: about overpacking, endless enjoyment, and the holiday feeling she gets as soon as she drives out of the country.

Even though I have travelled many times in my life, I have noticed how some of the things that make travelling so great just seem to be forgotten. The things that can bring you an intense feeling of happiness and freedom, fade away into the background when life puts challenges or limitations on your path.

After six years of not being abroad, I am going on a real holiday again this year. Together with my new boyfriend and his two teenage daughters, we will be going to a glamping campsite in Spain. I started to panic when my boyfriend told us to pack 'light’. Instead of my mint green SUITSUIT travel set, I had to make room for just one sportsbag.

I have a lot of respect for women who can fit five outfits into a small suitcase. And then even manage to match the outfits in such a way that they look great and completely different each day. Unfortunately, I still have to discover that talent and self-confidence in myself. To limit the packing stress, I have confidently devoted myself to the phenomenon of vacuum bags.

According to the description, I could save up to 70% of space, and I did! My dresses, tops, skirts, cardigans, and jumper all fitted perfectly. There was even some room left for toiletry items I bought from that particular shop where you always end up with much more than you intended to ;-)

Cooling down masks, anti-cellulite gel, massage cups - all the things you tell yourself will make you feel better, but you know deep down that it's complete nonsense. I just shoved everything into the last bag, vacuumed it, zipped it up and never touched it again. The summer holiday feeling comes as soon as I leave the Netherlands.

The changing landscape, road signs in other languages, new food and, above all, the sense of being able to do everything at your own pace. There is nothing like the Mediterranean feeling I get in countries like Spain and Italy.

The small villages with narrow streets where the smell of fresh cappuccino fills the air. The plazas surrounded by trees and lights where you can eat and drink until late in the evening. And the beaches you can only find following the recommendations of locals you met during your trip. These things make me so very happy. It is a reminder of how happiness can be found in the little things; something I often forget in the hectic life we lead in the Netherlands.

Holidays like this give you a kind of reset, to think about what really is important to you and what makes you happy. Glamping is great, the beach is wonderful, and so is the company.

As I lay on the beach, I seriously wonder why I had to pack so much and why I had to take that anti-cellulite gel with me. Travelling is freedom, freedom is happiness and to be happy, I apparently need way less than I thought.