It’s the little things that are so difficult about living with autism – particularly on holiday, which should be an enjoyable and / or relaxing experience.
Little things like going down for breakfast and the acoustics of the dining room being so bad that you are instantly overwhelmed.
Like trying to find your way through a group of people and not being able to read their body language, so having no idea about where they are going.
Like (still!) being extremely bothered by people smoking in the non-smoking area – not just because you’re hypersensitive to the smell, but because they are doing something against the posted rules, and you can’t reconcile that in your own head.
Like waiting for a tour rep to become free and other people waiting striking up a conversation. Second guessing how much to share with complete strangers.
Like underestimating how exhausting and unsettling a change to your regular routine is, and not being away for long enough to establish a new routine.
Despite all of those little things, I’m having a good time. Malta is absolutely gorgeous at this time of year. I’ve been here before and always thought it had a sort of bleak, arid beauty – I hadn’t realised how many flowers the island would have, nor how many different shades of yellow there are. I can spend hours sitting on the balcony just looking at the changing colours of the sea, from turquoise to grey to a deep sapphire blue.
And after a long British winter, it’s great to actually feel warm sun (a bit too warm, I’ve already managed to get slightly sunburnt).
I am, however, not sure I’d do this sort of holiday again. I needed time to relax, but this is too unstructured; too unplanned. There are too many people sharing one space, and limited places to which to escape when it all becomes too much.
I’m still glad to be here, though.
And today’s obligatory holiday photo follows…