Di­ver­sion tac­tics

We suggest a few in this is­sue that will help you get through any group hol­i­day, san­ity in­tact

Getaway (South Africa) - - From The Editor - SONYA SCHOE­MAN

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.

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