I’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about celebrating and supporting. Celebrating and supporting the travel industry. Celebrating and supporting businesses big and small. Don’t get me wrong – they’re good words. But throw in a few of my other current favourites such as thoughtful and conscious and responsible and sustainable and community, add a bad night’s sleep, dodgy Wi-Fi connection, an interview that’s gone wrong after hours of research and some Boris/Trump/Brexit news on Radio 4 and I feel like William Shatner in the scene from Airplane II.
The pilot is complaining to him that the steering lever has just come off in his hand, and our hero at ground control, clearly losing his mind, shouts, ‘Oh cut the bleeding-heart crap, will ya? We’ve all got our switches, lights and knobs to deal with Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking and beeping and flashing lights, blinking and beeping and flashing – they’re flashing and they’re beeping… and BLINKING AND BEEPING AND FLASHING…’ at which point another crew member has to violently shake him back to his senses.
Ah, I love that film. I just have to think of it to have a little giggle inside. Mostly though, I am not giggling, to be honest. Mostly I am losing my mind. I have to keep walking away from conversations because either a) I’m not hearing stuff correctly; b) I’m not hearing stuff because I don’t care; c) I’m not hearing stuff because I’m deaf; d) I’m not hearing stuff because what I’m hearing is not convenient to my current truth; e) I’m not hearing stuff because everyone is talking rubbish; or f) I’m not hearing stuff because if I listened properly it would mean I have to answer and I no longer have anything to say.
Except that’s not entirely true. Really, I’m hanging onto the kernel of celebrating and supporting. Even if I wanted to let it go – to stop using this platform for exactly that purpose – I couldn’t. And so the December edition covers one of my favourite features of the year. Since starting at Traveller, I’ve noticed that people continually assume everything in the magazine is wildly expensive. Which is simply not true. Often it looks expensive because the photos are pretty. But we are resolutely most satisfied when we track down the small, the independent, the curious, the under-the-radar, the weird, the whimsical, the golden nuggets and brilliant finds that don’t cost a fortune. So here is The Editors’ List of our favourite winter-sun hotels, which charge from about £55 a night.
But also, here is a request from me to you – our readers – to let us know about your favourite addresses that don’t cost a bomb either. That are special and one-off and lovely as can be, because all these places continue to need a helping hand. Hotels, yes, but also bars, and restaurants, and honey shops, and fishmongers, and vintage stores. Whichever spots please you that you would like others to know about, simply post on Instagram with #CNTcheapestnicest. My tip for the day? The Hog’s Back Café on a lay-by off the A31. Ah, the dream. I think about its bacon sandwiches at least once a day, £3.40 all in.
This is the new issue of Condé Nast Traveller. Celebrating and supporting the entirely reasonable in a world that gets madder by the minute.
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