My first switch­ing-off ad­ven­ture!

Getaway (South Africa) - - Inbox - – Carla-Jane Gel­dart, Cape Town

As a for­mer air host­ess, I’m no stranger to travel, ho­tels and liv­ing out of a suit­case. But my time in the sky has made me a bit of a ho­tel snob – I be­came ac­cus­tomed to four- and five-star liv­ing. By the time I re­turned to set­tle in South Africa and had to start book­ing my own ac­com­mo­da­tion, I had de­vel­oped an un­healthy warped re­al­ity. Fast-for­ward a few years and here I am, re­flect­ing on my first real eco-friendly week­end away. My hus­band and I, along with our two dogs, re­cently spent a week­end at Si­mon­skloof Moun­tain Re­treat near Mon­tagu. Hid­den deep in the moun­tains, the rus­tic cot­tages have no elec­tric­ity or phone sig­nal. So­lar pan­els and gas power your show­ers and meals, so­lar lanterns light your way. Din­ners are served by can­dle­light, un­der the stars or next to the fire. And re­cy­cling be­comes an im­por­tant part of your day. Ad­mit­tedly, I was ner­vous about the prospect of go­ing ‘off the grid’. But it was one of the most lib­er­at­ing week­ends of my life. There was no need to check my phone every few min­utes. My thoughts weren’t over­run by so­cial me­dia or work. There was noth­ing and no one im­pos­ing views or opin­ions, or tasks or de­mands. Just me in my own thoughts in a beau­ti­ful, wide-open space that some­how seemed even more beau­ti­ful in the si­lence. Not even the dogs felt the need to bark. While I en­joyed re­turn­ing to the com­forts of home, I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the ben­e­fits of be­ing open to a wider range of travel ex­pe­ri­ence. I may still look for those elu­sive ‘five-star on a four-star budget’ spe­cials, but I find my­self in­creas­ingly drawn to any­thing that can of­fer Si­mon­skloof’s ad­dic­tive sense of peace. I might not be ready for the full no-hot-wa­ter-and-sleep-un­der-the-stars ex­pe­ri­ence, but who knows, maybe one day! I look for­ward to see­ing more of these types of get­aways in the mag­a­zine. For our lat­est pick of off-the-grid places (Novem­ber 2017 is­sue), visit get­away.co.za.

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