Business Back to Basics

Convenience can be over-rated.

I am writing this week from a wooden bench in southwestern England near the field where Sally and I have been living in our tent for the past six days.

There are toilets and basic showers inside port-a-potty shells but there is not a lot to do on site other than have a braai on the ground.

There is not a lot to do off-site either, other than walk to the beach or along the cliffs, but there is quite a bit to see including birds, seals, deer and a few surfers in their wetsuits riding waves in the Atlantic.

We have had a lot of rain, but on the bright side, the weather and lack of phone signals, wifi and organised entertainment have kept the crowds away,so Sal and I have had many of the paths and an entire field to ourselves.

That might not sound like a plus to some of you,but we are happy wandering for hours with our binoculars and we definitely see more when there aren’t too many hikers and dog walkers marching by.

Anyway, the point I’m hoping to make is that we have had far fewer distractions and choices to make since we started camping, and we have been enjoying it.

When we are at home, many of usspend a lot of time talkingto friends, updating social media and looking up informationon the internet, and weoften do that on our phones. It’s very convenient.

Unfortunately, I am not sure it is good for us.

Not too much of it anyway.

I say that because since Sal and I have been camping we have been less connected to the outside world but more connected to each other and to what is happening around us… and things that can be chores at home have turned into pleasures.

Or maybe they have reverted to being pleasures.

Our evening meals, for example, have been highlights of the day.

When we have cooked outside the tent, I have had to chop and split logs and kindling to get the fire going.

The local wood is nothing like mopane and it doesn’t light easily or provide long lasting embers, but overcoming those obstacles has been very satisfying.

And on the nights when we haven’t cooked at the tent, we’ve always wound up at the same pub, mainly because it is the only one within walking distance.

It doesn’t hurt, though, that the two kilometre trek passes through a magnificent field ofgolden marigolds and glowing red poppies or that the pub is on the edge of a cliff with a view of the sea.

I have to admit, that’s pretty convenient, as is the fact that the pub has a selection of English ales and some very good home-made food.

So I’m not trying to make out that convenienceis a bad thing… just that we can have too much of it.

For example, you know that bench I mentioned earlier?

It’s conveniently located outside a little coffee shop.

If it had wifi, however, that would be too convenient because then I wouldn’t have to walk my computer to the pub to send this thing to The Voice.