Per­ma­nent hol­i­day

go! - - Ed’s Letter -

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]­

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