The Getaway Team
Associate editor at Getaway. I love this job because it takes my brain – and sometimes the rest of me – to wonderful places. I am obsessed with islands, and have a special fondness for forests, midsized animals (meerkats, raccoons, warthogs etc) and childish food. I truly dislike the word ‘convenient’ and everything it stands for.
I have always loved the sound of aeroplanes and lawnmowers. Although I can’t tell you the reason for my affinity with the latter, the call to hop on a plane to some far-away place resounds every time I hear the engines roaring above. My travels have taken me to some truly inspiring places, from sleeping under star-studded skies in Morocco to indulging in local cuisine in western China. I am always on the hunt for the next place to visit and when I can’t afford to travel and feeling a little down, I ensure that I keep my grass long and my visits to the local airstrip frequent!
I landed up in the world of travel-writing almost by accident. Having completed a doctorate in English, I was all set to become a university lecturer. But academia didn't quite have the ingredients to quench my wanderlust, so I started looking for something completely different. And here I am: 10 years in the travel game. I still do a bit of teaching and write books on travel in my free time, but Getaway keeps me pretty busy. The job has taken me to some weird and wonderful places: sailing down the Niger to Timbuktu, learning to salsa in Cuba, crossing the Gobi Desert to Kyrgystan or cruising the Kenyan Coast in a dhow. It's a disruptive and nomadic lifestyle, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Curiosity skilled the cat. It’s also what I blame for always wanting to see what’s around the next bend in the road. Just. One. More. Look. Because knowing is better than not knowing, and going is better than staying.
I love diving along the warm African coast, sussing out South Africa's best stargazing spots, setting up tents in Botswana, snorkelling with seals in Cape Town, clambering up Namibian dunes and once I walked 250km through the Karoo. Find more on my website, www.melanievanzyl.com
Michelle Hardie is happiest engaging with people and excels at striking up conversation with strangers. She is thrilled by the surprising connections she has made and once found a distant relative on the Greek island of Samos who served her in a shop. She is not known for packing a light suitcase (on her 2017 list to improve) and always takes a sheet and a pillowslip just in case. A big pot of tea and a bag of liquorice (particularly the salty-sweet Dutch kind) are her comforts.
I love to be immersed in the history of a place and traveling is like opening up a new book, giving me new stories. I have an active imagination, so I enjoy putting myself out there: and besides, no one looks back fondly on a trip to the dentist or the grocery store!
I am in constant search of ideas, places and moments that expand my optimistic world view. I like to keep my glass half full, especially if it involves wine. I love second-hand bookstores and try rescue at least one second-hand book in almost every town I visit. I seem to be more inclined towards assignments and adventures that tread a thin line between challenging and embarrassing myself. Having recently learnt to ride a bike and swim, you could say I'm on a quest to reclaim the childhood I spent mostly indoors watching Oprah.