As I said the other day, thanks to Firefly the Travel Guy and his friend Reneé, I’m still dreaming of the relaxing few days we spent at Tropical Eden Villas, nestled between the mountains and orange trees of the Bavianskloof. Now all I want to do is move to the countryside and raise goats and chickens. And turkeys. Because turkeys are magnificent. (Seriously: who needs someone to come and look after their farm? I’m there!)
The five of us spent a three day weekend exploring the roads between home and Patensie, eating way too many ice-creams and far too much braai food. We read books. We played games. We took a thousand photographs. And we had long conversations about really important things.
I need to keep reminding myself to do this more often. I had sort of given up for a moment at the beginning of the year when my eldest seemed quite annoyed to be enduring a family road trip to Port Alfred. He admitted that he had been in a bad mood though, and that he does actually like doing it. I guess that kind of means that we have two years left of these full-family trips. We should probably make the most of it.
I have definitely noticed that my children are happier in the more obscure places though. Small towns and farm communities seem to do it for them. Far more than vibey little coastal towns or big cities do. They settle into a contentedness that I don’t always see otherwise. Sure there’s the odd bit of annoying bickering, but there’s also a camaraderie between them where they set aside their differences to share in the excitement of being somewhere else.
The point is, take your kids to the countryside. Let them breathe in the fresh air and the weird farm smells and let them take it all in with wonder. Because even though you might think they’ll be “bored” when you don’t provide them with 24/7 entertainment that costs you the earth, you might just be surprised, and inspired, by their ability to delight in the simple things in life.
I always used to laugh when folks got a bit excited about being on our farm when I Was a kid. I get it now though. These small places with their wonderful quirks. There’s something special about having a chicken clucking at your feet, and being able to bird watch from the patio while you drink a cup of tea.
I feel kind of ready to indulge in that kind of slow life. And I’m really glad that my kids are content to do it with me.