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Our time on Earth may be finite, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make more of it.

 
Kagga Kamma hammock
 

When I was young, I never planned. My life felt like it rolled out before me like those endless Serengeti plains, forever another Champagne field stretching out ahead. But as I got older, as one does, and life was loaded with more responsibility, I came to accept the wagging-fingered truth of my grandmother, mother and older sister: planning is everything. Because time is a precious commodity.

A few friends I know have opted to take jobs that offer less money in return for owning more of their hours. Recently, when I took two days off, conveniently sandwiching a weekend, I saw their point. Or rather, I felt their point. I floated on my back in a tidal pool, thinking about nothing at all but the pleasure of the ice-cold water on my skin. Then I got out and lay on the hot stones, thinking about nothing at all but the pleasure of the sun baking my back. And then I ate a delicious sustainable seafood soup. And drank a glass of wine. Then I went to bed. And when I woke up, I felt the pleasure of three whole more days in which I had no pressing thing to do.

Pleasure must be grabbed greedily with both hands. Having time is the great enabler of this, and this year I want more of that. Don’t you?

So I’m all for the trend of taking breaks for fewer days, closer to home. This is why in this issue we’ve focused on giving you some ideas on where you can go throughout the year to relax. Places close to home, inspired by trends and other avid travellers – because we all travel differently. Read ‘Top Chill Spots for 2016’ on page 68.

Time is also what it takes to perfect an art. Take the Illmans, for instance. These two amateur photographers began taking pictures of wildlife 15 years ago. Recently, they released a book on their photography. Look at their images on page 62. Also check out the invaluable tips given by five more top South African photographers on our Masterclass pages (page 22).

Finally, we need to take time to assess what’s important as we go into the year. 2016’s big conservation theme is water. Recently Joburg set limits for consumption, and Cape Town will soon follow suit (might have already done by the time you read this). There are droughts the world over. For this reason we’ve also given you a conservation read this issue: three water-related projects that deserve our support. Read about them on page 94.

Another big 2016 theme for SA is race: this was most sharply expressed in the Fees Must Fall campaign. I love travelling in my country: my experiences have shown South Africans to be warm. But I’ve come to realise being white plays a big part. It’s sad to say, our travel journalists of colour bump up against closed attitudes consistently (read Vuyi Qubeka’s story on Oudtshoorn on page 127). Prejudice spills over into everything, and blights the pleasure of travel, and we need to find ways to address it.

I hope you’ve planned some enjoyable holidays for yourself this year. Go on: carve out that time for yourself. We promise to keep bringing you plenty of great ideas about how to fill that glorious time.

Happy 2016.

 
TO OUR READERS: We want to hear your views. Mail us at editor@getaway.co.za
 

 
 

This article first appeared in the January 2016 issue of Getaway magazine.

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