Sitting in our home during this lockdown has given me a better perspective of Supporting Local. I’m not saying it has not been a huge part of my life and my mission in life. But it’s just made me want to shake someone and make sure they understand it! This is a post about my Love for Travel and specifically travel in the East London and Eastern Cape area.
Daily my job deals with assisting the East London, and farther afield, community through tough economic times. Well, the pawpaw has just hit the proverbial fan.
I always try Support Local first and one of my biggest dreams was to travel locally before ever stepping foot out of our country. This, in my mind, helps us support local, helps us keep money local and makes us aware of how much local has to offer.
Where it started
I think my love for travel started with a childhood that involved a lot of moving around. I was shuffled from one school to another when my parents could not afford school fees or rent and we needed to move to “get away” from it and get a fresh start. Ten schools later and don’t even ask me any of the street names we lived in! I certainly never use that as a security question!
Yes, I came from a background similar to most of our clients. I can’t tell you why we didn’t have a financially stable situation at home, my stepfather didn’t have a bad job I thought. All I knew was that I was loved and the material things didn’t bother me.
So I can only think that my love for travel is from the constant moving around. I have been blessed to have travelled through South Africa very extensively.
From Koffylaagte Game Lodge, an eco-estate in the Eastern Cape, to camping in Punda Maria, one of the Northernmost campsites in the Kruger National Park and not forgetting Lake Naverone Self Catering Cottages in the southern part of the Drakensberg. My travels always include various stay options from camping, self-catering, hotels, guest houses, etc.
The Eastern Cape is still my most highly recommended destination. We have beaches, mountains, hills, valleys, waterfalls, forests, flatlands, and so much more. Don’t forget about our weather, we have everything from the great sunny days that make for sensational tanning on the beach or the snow in the forest of Hogsback, just an hour or 2 up the road!
When you think of East London, where can you get away locally? Crawfords is one of our favourites and if you book through Discovery you get a discount (our little secret). We have camped at Arendsnes and these two places are both out at Chintsa.
We love camping and end up packing up the trailer even for short camping trips. Camping is also one of the cheapest forms of getting away, all you need is a tent. You can live without the luxuries, especially if you are going to a place that has a plug point, a braai facility, and a communal kitchen and toilets.
Would you holiday on one side of East London or the other? Most people want to spend their money on getting away, like I mean, leaving East London in the dust and saying goodbye in their rearview mirror! WHY?
Lockdown “Travel” Ideas
In this lockdown time, I have made my home a little getaway every day. I make sure I have played different types of music daily; today was modern-country and the other day we did trots Afrikaans. You can lie in your bath, light a candle and dream you are at a spa. You can google a few great body scrubs made from ingredients you more than likely have at home. Set up a picnic on the floor in your lounge, get all the plants in your house or grab a few branches from the trees outside and put them around you. If we can make our home so interesting then why do we have to think that going beyond where we live is more interesting than the local places?
Travel closer to home
Yes, somewhere close may seem silly because you are spending money on getting AWAY! You don’t want to spend money if you can just stay home, well then go camp in your back yard and save the money, it will still be fun and cheaper! I think it should not be about the destination as much as it is about the experience.
So, try out a few camping places in and around East London once lockdown is over, borrow a tent if you must. Or visit a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or holiday resort around East London for a short stay, enjoy the experience! Travel East London first and then start going further and further out! You may just be surprised by the fact that you enjoy the places closer by.
I found that I did because they kind of speak our East London language and there is a familiarity with our wonderful places. Be like me, a Proud Local. This may be aimed at those who can’t afford to spend their entire month’s salary on a holiday, or for those who have more pressing things to do with big sums of money.
Please help me make a list of awesome camping places in the East London area, add your recommendations in the comments below!
Imagine if our local “holiday” places do something where during off-peak times they will give residents of East London a discount. Like this special offer for example.
I started suggesting this a few years ago when a lovely local place we used to go to and do a bit of paddling, increased their price from R200.00 to over R600.00 because it was December. We were shocked.
The boats were lined up on the shore and no one was on the river. Dumbstruck is not even the right word!
We have never been back. We used to support them a lot, for meals, activities and special occasions. They have lost business from us. This makes me think, how many others have decided not to go back?
Lockdown has changed the way we should all look at travel. After the lockdown, are you planning on booking a trip to Italy? To America? To another South African province that had a higher Covid-19 “infection rate” than the Eastern Cape? Why would you want to?
My love for my home has, in these few days exceeded my love for traveling. I feel very privileged to have been able to travel as much as I have. But for now, I am going to be doing a lot more local travel again once this lockdown is lifted.
To end off
I truly hope that this has given you a few ideas on how to “get away”. Hopefully, it even gets the local travel industry to look at doing something for locals. Think about it, I will refer a place to friends and family if I have been there and had a good experience. I would rather ask a friend or family who stays in the place I’m going to visit where I should stay before hitting the search button on a search engine. Locals are your biggest marketing tools! Local is another word for community, community looks out for each other FIRST! My love for travel will start right here.
Who knows maybe my one visit to that one local place saves someone’s job. You can make that difference too! Support Local First!
Alisha le Grange is from the Debt Counselling Group South Africa and spends her time assisting consumers who are struggling with their personal finances. It’s clear that she has a love for all things local and loves to travel. They have been firm supporters of the Local Yokel Project for some time and we are lucky to have them on board!
You can get in touch with them in the following ways;