There are two questions we often get asked. The first is this: “What’s it like to be on a permanent holiday?” I always try to answer factually at first: “Well, it’s hard work and long hours – not only for the writers and photographers who must spend weeks away from home, but also for the sub-editors and the layout artists behind the scenes, who have to cope with relentless deadlines.” It’s true: In the last quarter of 2018, we not only published the regular monthly magazine, we also wrapped up the fourth series of our TV show Agterpaaie, put our annual Botswana guide on shelf, finished our second compilation of Afrikaans columns called Stories, completed go! Puzzles #5 and published a new map of the Kruger National Park.* As I relay all this information to the person who asked me if I’m on holiday all the time, I can see the sparkle fade from his eyes. There’s a tale that the founding editor of this magazine, Bun Booyens, used to tell, which sums it up: Starry-eyed students would apply for a holiday job with the expectation that they’d be leopard-crawling through the savannah with a knife clenched between their teeth like Bear Grylls. Instead they’d spend two weeks locked in an office calling accommodation establishments to check prices and swiftly abandon the thought of ever becoming a travel writer. But those students should have persevered. Working for go! is no holiday – it’s a job – but it might be one of the best jobs on earth. I can tell you about a night spent camping alone on Verneukpan under stars shining so brightly I never had to switch on my torch. Or how I sat on the damp sand near Kosi Bay and watched hundreds of baby turtles completing the most hazardous dash of their lives to make it into the surf…
Which brings me to the second question we often get asked: “Surely you’ve been everywhere?” No! That’s the short answer. The long answer involves an explanation on how you should revisit a place every few years because things change, and how one writer might see a place differently… But the short answer remains no. We haven’t been everywhere. Toast Coetzer, our travel editor, once tried to answer a similar question by explaining that we like to visit places that make us curious. We were curious about a place once and we’ll be curious about that place again. We hope to tickle your curiosity with this issue. Turn to page 32 for a story about 15 of our favourite destinations. How many haven’t you been to? In my case it’s 7 out of 15. I still have so much more to see. I hope 2019 is a year of abundance, success and new destinations!
PIERRE STEYN [email protected]dia24.com