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Where to From Here? : Travelling with “2020 vision”

Well, hasn’t 2020 been a year with a difference?

Who could have foreseen so many twists and turns to the ways in which we head down the road of everyday life? For us here at The Friendly Chat, it has meant an almost complete stop from running our
little B&B. In fact, it has meant a complete halt to lots of the things that we love to do and one of these is to travel. However, as travel restrictions are gradually eased, we have realised that in order to have a short, local break we need to do so with a sense of confidence that we are making a wise, healthy and safe choice. We recently stayed at Tuckeroo Cottages at Rathdowney and we were not disappointed.

But why did we choose there?

  • Past reviews led us to believe that cleanliness was a high priority for the owners;
  • what was offered seemed good value for a short break;
  • there was clear, prompt communication by the owners about what to expect when we got there;
  • we had our own cleaned and sanitised space to use that we would then become responsible for maintaining.

There is the need and obligation to remain as safe and well as possible, both for yourself and for others, but as the opportunity arises to travel a little it’s great to be able to embrace this.

For us, we can only enjoy a place if we know that it has been thoroughly cleaned and that we have the tools to keep it this way during our stay. We need to trust the place where we are staying – to believe that they are being open and honest in their claims of rigid cleaning. We recently had a local guest (our first during this strange and unprecedented time) stay for a short break whilst she had home renovations. But we had to ask ourselves, why was this possible?

So we considered our process prior to confirming the booking:

  • We shared some candid conversations with her prior to her booking, regarding hers and our views on COVID and how we were all managing to reduce risk – and found that we were on the same wavelength.
    She lived locally, was well and had not travelled overseas or interstate recently.
  • It was agreed that we would not be supplying any food.
  • It was agreed that she was to come and go via her own private entrance, thus eliminating the possible risk to all associated with coming through the front door and a common area.
  • It was agreed that if any of our medical circumstances changed in the lead-up to her stay, that the stay could not go ahead.
  • These arrangements worked well for us all and certainly made the transition to receiving guests again, a successful and reasonable process.

So what are we doing for our own personal travel?

We’re supporting local businesses so we have looked for local, friendly places that obviously, care about cleanliness and are keeping up with current regulations as they occur. We’ve been heartened by places that are open and honest about their concerns with who stays at their place, and who are particular about their cleaning protocols. This gives us a sense of security knowing that at the end of the day we are
still responsible for ourselves, but if others are doing their part to keep us safe, then we have all bases covered.

  • We’re being aware and mindful of our own responsibility to socially distance, to carry sanitiser etc.
  • We’re searching for and valuing, a stay that gives us our own space with a private entrance, allowing us to come and go independently. This way, we are being responsible for our own health but are also mindful of the possible risk to others if we are not.
  • We’re realising the importance of a self-contained space that allows us to provide our own food, taking another risk factor out of the equation. When we do decide to eat out, we certainly take into consideration the health precautions taken at the chosen venue.

These are some of the precautions that we are taking with us as we begin to explore again…

But what are you doing?

  1. What are you expecting when you stay somewhere?
  2. How mindful are you being about your health and the health of others?
  3. How willing are you to take a calculated chance?

When we began the B&B we put great effort into making it a place that WE would want to stay if we were on the lookout for accommodation that met our requirements. Now, in these challenging times, we continue to put ourselves in the shoes of the traveller and have really thought about what the priorities should be in order to have a safe, healthy and relaxing break. We hope that you trust in our considerations of the whole, knowing that our wanderlust is the same as yours.

We welcome any and all discussions surrounding these concerns in these unprecedented times in order to make your stay as stress-free and enjoyable as possible, as you too set out on your adventures with “2020 vision”.

Till next time.

Chris and Trish

Human Connection

In these weird and confronting times, we are all hearing how world travel has been so adversely affected and how popular tourist spots are universally suffering from no visitors, and profits are non-existent.

Here at The Friendly Chat, we aren’t affected very much by the “tourist trade” – after all, suburban bayside Thorneside isn’t exactly a regular ”hot spot” for holidaymakers and tourists.

However, we are hurting for the guests we usually accommodate – they are the ones making connections with the heart. They haven’t arrived on our doorstep to see the sights – rather, they have come to connect with families and friends to celebrate events that life bestows on families and communities. They are the families separated by distance, who connect with loved ones by staying at The Friendly Chat because it is local to their needs.

Whilst we are hearing of tourist numbers being drastically down and fun holiday destinations being temporarily unavailable, it is not the fun-seekers we are feeling for – after all, another holiday, another time perhaps.

Instead, it is those family members and friends whose hearts are sore because human connection is not an option at the moment. Experiencing and celebrating life’s ups and downs with a hug, meals and memories shared amid laughter and tears – this human connection is essential for uplifting the human spirit.

So, to those people who are missing sharing a milestone birthday, a family wedding, a bonding time with children and grandchildren, the celebration of a life well-lived, an introduction to a new family member – we send a virtual hug and look forward to the day when we can once again welcome you here.

Stay safe.

The Magic of The Point

Entering Wellington Point Village along Main Road, I’m always amazed by the activity – people strolling in the shade of the Poinciana trees, enjoying coffees, drinks at the pub, cyclists making their pilgrimage along the Bayside suburbs. As I travel towards The Point, a decidedly seaside feel begins to stir. Saltwater and mangroves on both sides of the road, views across Waterloo Bay to Thorneside on the left, and across to the right North Stradbroke Island (Straddie) and Moreton Island loom large.

As the road weaves through the leafy suburb and begins the dip down to the Reserve, I get a distinct and nostalgic “stepping back in time” feeling. The panoramic view of children climbing the huge Moreton Bay fig trees, families picnicking in their shade, people paddling and swimming in the calm waters and the stream of people strolling out to King Island (if the tide is low) reminds me of a painting from the past century – the timelessness of the scene always fascinates me.

When you’re staying at The Friendly Chat, why not take the time to explore this little gem for yourself? Only a ten-minute drive from us and you’ll be there, experiencing a very special part of the Redlands Coast.

Small Local Businesses

One thing we are committed to is supporting local businesses. Do you feel the same?

For a local business to be worth supporting, we believe it has to produce the goods – it has to be honest in its claims, consistent with its quality and provide friendly service. Is this too much to ask? We don’t think so. At The Friendly Chat Bed and Breakfast and Self-Contained Accommodation, we strive to be a local business who does these things.

I love taking photos, so I take a lot and aim to show honestly what you can expect if you stay with us. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your accommodation only to find that the pictures portrayed on the website or in advertising aren’t a true indicator of reality. If you know what to expect, we think you arrive with realistic expectations that allow you to feel happy with the choice you have made. Guests often comment that “it looks just like the pictures”. Some even say, “only better!”

We both work hard at maintaining consistent quality. Cleaning and organising fresh linen takes some time but results in you feeling comfortable from your arrival. Have you ever stayed somewhere and felt like you had to clean it before you could start relaxing? Well, we have and we don’t want you to feel like that when you come to The Friendly Chat.
And friendly service? We think this requires us to be good listeners – friendly service has many faces. It can mean leaving you to do your own thing with little interaction if that’s what makes a pleasant stay for you. It can mean engaging in conversation and sharing local knowledge on places to eat, things to do locally and a bit further afield. It can mean swapping travel stories and adventures. It can really be anything you want it to be, from problem-solving to a friendly chat.

We try really hard to answer all enquiries and questions as soon as possible. It’s annoying to hear nothing from an enquiry you’ve made, isn’t it? You can wonder if the people ever even received it, which is no help if you are making travel plans. We also think that by engaging in conversations before you arrive – be it by emails, phone calls or messages – that questions have been answered and information shared that help us feel like we already know something about you and your expectations by the time you arrive. If you support local businesses, why not give us a try – enjoy the experience!

Chris & Trish Irons