We live in a small community in a remote area in the West of Ireland. It is really, really hard to find us. Why is this a problem? Well, a lot of the time it isn’t. However, as we run a glamping business, it is essential that people can locate us.
Communicating with guests about our location is difficult. Some people are great. They plug in their sat nav and find us with no fuss at all and that is a big relief. Other guests prefer to travel instinctually and don’t bother too much with boring and lengthy details about where they’re meant to turn left, or keep going.
Many guests flake at a certain point and turn back.e.g. ‘Even though it says 1.6 km on her directions sheet, I don’t actually believe it’s possible that anyone could live up here!!’ An inner voice kicks in and tells them, ‘Turn around. Go back to civilisation’
But, they’re wrong. We do live at the end of this track. And when they get here, people love the fact that we are so far away from it all. They are woken up in the morning by bird song and not by traffic noise. On a clear night, they look up into the sky and see forever. They forget their stressful jobs and their busy lives and chill for a precious little while.
I cannot chill until they arrive safely on my door step and I know that they are not lost out there in the wilderness, phoneless, scared and regretting the day they ever booked a stay at Chez Shea!
A case in point was yesterday. My guests were due to arrive at 5pm. By 7pm I was worried. At 7.30, we receive a call. ‘We’re kind of lost, what should we do?’
This is a hard question to answer. ‘It all sort of depends on what point you got lost at.’
We try to establish some markers. ‘Well, there’s a big mountain on the left and some sheep.’
‘OK, I think it’s best if you find a sign post and ring us back.’
Twenty minutes later there’s another call. ‘Help! We’ve driven into a quarry!’
Ger and I look at each other. There are no quarries anywhere near us. ‘OK. Just keep looking for that sign post and we’ll be able to help you.It’s important to stay calm.’
Thankfully they find a signpost some time later and we are able to give directions. They take longer than they should to get to us, and I send multiple texts.
‘Where are you? Shall I come and meet you in my car? Are you OK?’
They sound a little elderly. I hope they aren’t traumatised somewhere on the side of the road. I realise that at this point, I am now officially traumatised myself.
Half an hour later, they roll in. We make them tea and they settle into the wagon for the night. I drink a glass of wine and unwind.
This morning, I knock on their door and give them breakfast. They slept really well. They are a lovely couple. They smile at me beatifically. ‘You know what?’ They say. ‘We’ve had a great holiday.’ ‘Good’ I say. I really mean it. I want people to enjoy themselves.
‘The best thing that happened to us was getting lost. It was such an adventure!’