We suggest a few in this issue that will help you get through any group holiday, sanity intact
My brother has an excellent ‘festive season’ policy: no material gifts, only experiences. Things are just things, he says, and he needs no more of them. What he’d much rather have is travel adventures with his people, and that includes his fabulous (my word) sisters. The idea is to create wonderful memories he can savour when he’s old and we’re both gone (my brother will outlive us not only through sheer stubbornness, but also because he’s younger, and avoids the sun and sugar). So every year the Schoeman siblings go away together. We’ve been zip-lining in Ceres, snorkelling in Kleinbaai and leaping into rock pools in the Cederberg. Soon we will loll under a waterfall in Franschhoek (thank you Pippa de Bruyn for that On The Chart recommendation – don’t miss her latest on Kalk Bay, page 45). At any rate, I can categorically state: travel beats an old pressie hands down! But we’ve also learnt a clever trick to avoid a typical pitfall for families, the retrogressive fight – we plan an ‘activity’. It works a treat. Why? Firstly, idle minds seek diversions, and when you’re with people with whom you’re too familiar and you have too much time on your hands, well, you can be exactly that – far too familiar. Secondly, everyone puts their best foot forward in front of strangers (it’s imperative to choose an activity that requires that). Thirdly, you have to be totally committed to grouchery to bicker when you’re doing something fun. Finally, there’s nothing like, say, jumping out of a plane to make you appreciate the fact that you came out alive on the other side – gratitude is a great motivator to be nice. This issue is full of fun things to do. We tested them all out personally: Kati Auld went coasteering (chilly but rewarding), Welcome Lishivha jumped out a plane (terrifying but rewarding), Melanie van Zyl ‘did’ the Storms River (invigorating and rewarding), while Tyson Jopson finally learnt to drive properly (exciting, and rewarding for everyone else)*. Michelle Hardie went horse riding with her daughter and two hot young foreigners (titillating for her daughter, she swears), David Rogers showed his children the underwater world (they were very grateful, always a good feeling to engender in children). So here’s an idea: this season why not buy an experience for someone you adore? The benefits are huge; you’ll have good memories, they will too, it’ll be conversation fodder, and it’s great for the country – you’ll be growing our home tourism. There are loads of fantastic ideas buried in these pages. One of them may deliver your best summer ever – and help keep your family and friendships intact. You’re welcome.