I was thinking about the accommodation venue trifecta this morning after we had a great night’s sleep and I was enjoying a hot, powerful shower. It occurred to me that if I had to choose 3 things that had to appear on the list of “must haves” in order to have a good holiday, there are a few non-negotiable.
While I am very tempted to start with free, fast WiFi, I think it’s one of the things I could (unhappily) live without as long as I could have a peaceful, comfortable night’s sleep. This requirement is a life and death one for me because I find it hard to sleep at the best of times and the very worst thing would be the thought of paying for an unclean, uncomfortable bed while people slammed doors and blasted music around me.
The next thing would be a hot shower where the water pressure is perfect and the bathroom is sparkling. Nothing drives me more crazy than a shower where the water fluctuates between too hot and too cold while trickling pitifully out of the spout.
Now what would take up that final spot? Friendly owners and staff who make you feel welcome? A venue that is close to good eateries and entertainment? Aircon and a swimming pool? No, while all of those things are great, they aren’t the deciding factor for me. I think the most important thing would be that feeling of safety. Which is often a “vibe” more than anything you can specifically put your finger on.
When we arrived last night, a little girl aged around 10 was walking her 2 dogs. That isn’t even something I’d let my 11 year old do in Cape Town. Today we explored the town on foot and, even though we carried cameras and phones out in the open, we never once felt the need to pull the kids closer.
We walked from the museum to the Tourism Office to Leiwater Dam and then back to Spar to pick up dinner without meeting a single unfriendly, unhelpful local. That is what I love about small towns. There is an almost tangible community spirit that makes you want to leave the rat race forever and relocate here.
This is what big cities need to learn from places like Montagu. The “everyone for themselves mentality” makes us weaker, not stronger. When people help each other and get involved within the community, that is when true strength is felt by locals and visitors.
And yes, I know that many small town locals will tell you that their community is far from perfect, but I’m comparing the vibe here in Montagu to what big city life is like in laid back Cape Town. At the end of the day, the whole world could do with some more kindness and compassion tied together with a can do attitude and no fear of hard work. Let’s learn how to connect with one another again. We can make a difference.