In the last few months my life has been a lot like a spinning top that’s running out of speed – it’s still spinning but it’s starting to wobble and it’s just a matter of time before it falls over. To try and get it righted again action needs to be taken, so I decided that a bit of a break from everything was in order. There is nothing quite like a trip out of town to push “reset” on my mental button and gain the perspective required to pull myself out of the vortex of negativity I’ve recently found myself sucked into.
The remedy was a couple of nights of R&R in a log cottage just outside of Tzaneen – a place where the cell phone reception is poor, internet access is practically non-existent and the road leading to the accommodation resembled an off-road competition track. I drive a small “city car”, so once we’d checked in I was concerned that much like Hotel California, we’d be able to check out but never actually leave.
“Cabin in the woods”. Sounds a bit like a B-grade horror film…
It really did feel kind of horror movie-ish at night. It was so dark you couldn’t see past the end of the deck. Through the small gaps in the trees you could see an unbelievably brilliant night sky with stars much brighter than I’d seen for a long time. The silence was broken only by the sound of a stream a few 100 metres away (incidentally, the stream was our water source in the cabin too) and the odd hoot of nocturnal birds every so often.
Mornings were spent on the deck watching the birds and monkeys in the canopy while sipping on coffee. Thanks to the cold front that blew up while we were there, evenings were spent in front of the fire place playing board games which were interspersed with (locally crafted) gin-fuelled conversations.
We explored a few of the short walks around the cabin, taking time to enjoy the sounds of the wind and the birds and the streams, planting ourselves among the tiny blue flowers covering the mountainside to enjoy the gentle sound of virtually nothing.
When not soaking up the beauty of the natural surroundings we could be found driving around the area searching for local fare to gorge on. We ate hunks of cheese* at the Wegraakbosch Cheese Farm (a tiny organic dairy that makes cheese on site), drank locally brewed beer at the Pot ‘n Plow pub (famed for its craft beer and pizzas) and inhaled copious amounts of delicious cappuccino in the quaint village of Haenetsburg.
*I mean that literally too. I believe that cheese should be eaten in the same way you’d eat an apple – no accompanying bread or biscuits. Just large bites, as is, not stopping until the block is finished.
Seemingly in the blink of an eye we found ourselves on our way back to Johannesburg (once we’d made back up the Hotel California 4×4 track of course).
As amazing as being away is (and how necessary it is at times) there is really something magical about returning home after a trip. Showering in your own shower and digging around in your own fridge for something to eat is really fantastic. Settling down into your own bed that first night back makes it feel as though all is right with the world.
I love travelling and experiencing new places and faces however at some stage a return to the daily grind is required (to fund the next getaway, obviously). Whether or not this short trip has done anything to put some speed back into the wobbly-spinning-top of my life remains to be seen. For now, at least, I’m basking in the holiday afterglow. As cliché as it may sound, it’s really good to be home.