I am on a road trip with my dog. For two weeks every year I like to go somewhere I have never been before. A two-day drive from Western to Eastern Cape brought us here. Our beach hut at Bretton Beach Crest in Port Alfred. Today was too windy to go to the beach, so I compiled a list of things I haven learned on this road so far.
1. Traveling with a dog changes the experience. There are only certain places you can sleep, eat, drink, shop and swim.
2. I am ok with that. (Though not everyone is, see footnote)
3. The open road is a good place to think things through. There are no distractions, you can cover the same ground over and over without comment, and all the time you are moving forward.
4. Talking aloud to yourself clarifies things. You’re forced to put slip-sliding thoughts into words, to form sentences: this allows you to expose bad arguments, recognize themes and realize how silly some of your issues sound.
5. iPods on shuffle form inexplicable attachments to certain artists or albums. Hard to move them on. Defies reason. Extremely irritating.
6. Most small towns have a farmers market, home industry or small coffee shop – seek them out. Buy their wares, you’ll learn things about the area.
7. Bring what you want, you’ll find a use for it.
8. There’s a bit of frontierswoman in me – I enjoy the unusual, imperfect, isolated, rough and ready (in men and accommodation)
9. Rainwater tastes great. The water in my cottage is unfiltered. So I fetch my drinking water from the rain-tank alongside my house each morning. Sieve it and drink that. It tastes like water should.
10. I am alone. I am not lonely.
More thoughts next Wednesday.
Footnote to 2: I was having a sundowner on the terrace at the lovely Grand Hotel in Plettenberg Bay. Having been turned away from four other ‘establishments’ all outside, all empty … because of Jack. An Englishman (in yellow polo shirt, desert keffiyeh and smoking a cigar) took exception. He stared pointedly from me to Jack, from me to Jack. I ignored him.
When we got up to leave he said loudly:
“It’s disgusting that they let dogs in here!”
“Absolutely agree” I said, “especially when they smoke.”