Tobe Frank: I’m gonna need a bigger boat 27



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To be frank, I long for a holiday founded on simplicity, where a trip to the tropics might entail a small backpack stuffed with the following items:

  1. Swimmers (togs, cossies, DTs, or Tony Abbott specials).
  2. A floral shirt
  3. Khaki shorts
  4. Thongs (of the foot kind)
  5. A book…a really, really big one

That’s it. I’ll buy a shirt each day from the local markets, rinse the budgie smugglers in the ocean and given that I’ll only be throwing the shorts on for happy hour, cocktails, dinner and a cleansing ale, I’ll probably not be in need of a second pair. I know that that’s not a great picture to paint for some of you, but chances are I’ll choose an island minimal in numbers of likeminded overweight retirees! That, to me sounds like a relaxing, no fuss holiday. No stress in packing, no ransom payable to Jetstar for excess baggage, and no unpacking at the other end. No valuables to fret about…just pure, clean, unadulterated fun.

It would make a welcome change from some of the holidays we’ve endured over the years. So many of our epic road trips, weekends at the beach or even overseas sojourns have involved quantities of pre-departure bullsh*t akin to stockpiles of fertiliser. Sometimes we almost didn’t make it…at least not together anyway. Honestly, is there anything more stressful than packing? I’m sure many of the fellas out there would feel my pain and have similar stories to share.

No doubt all have attempted the infuriating, but strangely addictive, age-old game of Trunk Tetris – you know the one…it involves packing five cubic metres of shite into a car with volumetric capacity of 3 cubes. Normally it’s a one-player game, but can often involve many spectators: the kids, the missus and (on certain more complex and vocally expletive occasions) the neighbours. The rules are clear: no one touches a thing a part from the Patriarch. There’s an ability to voice opinion and suggestions but one needs to be ready to fend off the verbal spray that inevitably comes flying back. The game ends with a sledgehammer when the car pulls out of the driveway, typically an hour and a half behind the scheduled departure time, with the tail guard scraping a new scar in the bitumen on its way over the curb and the rear of the vehicle riding about a foot lower than the front. The kids are already complaining because they’ve got no legroom, let alone arm room, headroom, butt room or oxygen…and you haven’t even made it out your street.

In fact I’m pretty sure this phenomenon has survived the ages. The statues on Easter Island are the excess baggage of some Aztec holidaymakers whose wife couldn’t leave her pet rocks at home. Stonehenge…Wilma Flintstone went to town on new siding for the house on their first trip to London but Fred couldn’t fit these in. So instead he erected a lasting monument to the eternal struggles of patriarchal packing society.

And now as we pack for a long weekend on a houseboat with the kids and grandkids, I’m wondering why I’ve hitched the trailer up to the car? I mean how much stuff can we possibly need? All we’re going to do it eat, drink, swim and sleep. We don’t need 15 board games in case the weather is foul; a deck of cards and a roll of 20s (cents) will do us fine. We don’t need to pack for four seasons nor do we need a nice outfit should we decide to go into town for a meal…WE’RE ON A HOUSEBOAT!

I can tell you what the grandkids (and me for that matter) are going to do all weekend…they’re gonna spend their time racing up the stairs to the top deck, launching themselves off said deck, bomb diving all the way down before swimming back to the step ladder and doing it all over again. The way I figure it they need their togs and a set of PJs.

Now where’s that sledgehammer?


Do you want to get away on a holiday somewhere? What’s your ultimate escape? Tell us below!

Tobe Frank

Tobe Frank is a recently retired 62 year old gentleman with many views. He has grand ambitions for his retirement he just isn't sure what they are yet and is constantly looking around to find them. Tobe shares his views on Starts at Sixty regularly as one of our columnists.

  1. My husband has packing down to a t, just cannot do it, leaves it all to me and then asks if I have everything, it’s hereditary his mum couldn’t do it either.

  2. Only the past few years have I learnt to pack sensibly. Always packed for ‘just in case’ days when I was younger.

  3. I love your idea of a holiday, Tobe.
    As for the car packing : I remember the days when our kids were young and we moved house a lot. We also did a lot of interstate car trips to visit family etc. My husband invented the RSM or the Ritson Shovel Method of packing the car boot!
    I didn’t always go along with it, mind you, but it did simplify things! (And it took some work to sort everything out at the other end.)

  4. Oh Tobe, I laughed madly all the way through your story. Brought back fond memories of packing for family holidays! Thanks, you have brightened my day!

  5. Hilarious! Brings back so many memories (not all good I’m afraid!) I fly to see family these days and still take too much! (just in case!)

  6. Last holiday hubby packed at 11.30pm the night before we had to get up at 3am. Then he asks me to iron his clothes. Of course I didn’t!

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