Words like ‘corona’, ‘COVID-19’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ have become the new normal in 2020. Like the start to any other year, we all had renewed hopes and aspirations for 2020, which sadly took quite a rollercoaster of a turn and left a path of uncertainty and upheaval in many aspects.

Being in the hospitality industry, our Happy Waves Holiday House has certainly felt the side-effects; something of a wipe-out in a nasty surf. What once was a space that buzzed with laughter, relaxed banter and sandy feet of happy guests, suddenly felt too quiet. With the indefinite uncertainty looming, bookings were cancelled, deposits returned, and a bond bank holiday was applied for- the only kind of holiday so many of us across the country would be going on this year. So, the year didn’t kick off to a great start, but our story at Happy Waves is not a sad one and here’s why.

After spending the initial 2 months of lockdown at our home in East London, we decided to shift our family into our guest house in Jeffery’s Bay for a couple of reasons; one, a welcomed change of scenery and two, it gave us the opportunity to get to any maintenance jobs that needed seeing to. We were able to convert the cottage into an office space for Mark to work from, doing his virtual meetings without distractions. The kids were set-up for their home-schooling and their daily zoom sessions with their tutors and I was blessed to be particularly busy with website design projects as a result of the boom of online shopping in lock down. So the family routines remained in place, but we were blessed with a unique way of life, even if short lived!

Our new way-of-lockdown-life had some great positives. I didn’t have to do any school morning drop-offs which meant my mornings were more relaxed, allowing me to walk to the beach each morning to enjoy a cup of coffee to watch the sunrise with Mark, and I was able to go for my runs in the daylight. The kids had easy access to the beach, being only 60 steps away, and could escape to the surf in between school sessions. No after-school sports activities meant more focus on family time: cooking together, catching up around the dinner table, playing UNO card competitions or going for sunset walks together. In times of stress and anxiety, this was good for the mind and soul.

Although 2020 has gone far off from originally planned, it almost ‘forced’ us to create a unique bank of experiences and memories as a family that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. I lay on the beach on the 14th June, thinking about where I would be in that moment if running the comrades as planned, but I had no regrets of missing it while watching my kids loving life, healthy.

This time taught us that we shouldn’t take anything for granted because our reality can change at any moment. We have been privileged that Happy Waves was able to help us realise that living simply and taking one day at a time can create the happiest memories. We will be forever grateful for the opportunity.