Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday "Makers"

As a child I always wondered why people on holiday in English were called holiday-"makers". The Afrikaans word for holiday-maker is "vakansieganger" (holiday-goer), which when translated means someone going on a holiday, not making a holiday. I remember my school days in Durban where I never managed to shake the feeling of being on holiday, no matter which time of year it was. Durban always had a holiday vibe to it, similar to Cape Town, but work and school there were just as a reality as in most cities around the world. On the first day of going back to school I would always convince myself that the holiday wasn't really over; I was just going to be occupied for the morning and then I would continue my holiday in the afternoon when the morning "engagement" was over. This allowed me to gradually ease myself into the next term where I would eventually just spend time sitting in a classroom, studying and doing extra-curricular activities. With only my "open" afternoons and weekends left as extra "holiday", I managed to convince myself that I was not officially back at school yet and that I only had to cover a few "appointments" in the morning that I couldn't get out of.

I never lost that ability of continuing my holiday long into the reality of actually being far away from being on leave. I could easily be a real professional holiday-maker, but unfortunately that occupation does not put food on the table and was not in the "My Career" books we had to struggle through during Guidance lessons at school. I still believed those days that the more money you had the better holidays you can afford when you grow older so I always searched for doctors, lawyers and rocket scientists as possible career choices. Fortunately that view has changed over the years and today I believe that your whole life should be "a holiday" and that working your back-side off to have two weeks in the Bahamas is NOT what life is about. Those two weeks costs a lot of money and two weeks after your holiday when you find yourself back in the office you cannot even remember what it felt like to be on holiday in the first place. The secret is to live a life where you create "holiday" opportunities as you go along and  the need to go to the Bahamas to regain your sanity is something you leave to the poor rich people with lots of money and little time.

It sounds very simple, but I agree that a few things needs to be in place before you can live a life of "permanent holiday". For starters you should NOT have a job where you work 14 hours a day to reach deadlines. Weekends should be yours and not spend on an airport or behind a laptop. Living in a place where there is a holiday vibe like Cape Town or Durban is a bonus and being able to switch off from reality and transcend yourself into a "holiday mood" is a pre-requisite for this to work.

Sea view missing
The last couple of days I have been trying to find a nice coffee shop where I could have a "holiday break" before I go to the office in the mornings. I work in town now and although Carlucci's was probably the best spot I had so far, this one needs to be closer to work. I've tried a few spots along Mouille Point and even though there are some good contenders I still have not found the right substitute for Carlucci's.  The place has to have a good view over the sea or the mountain, it has to be close to work with easy parking and it should have an all-year-round holiday vibe. These are non-negotiable requirements. This morning I went to The V&A Waterfront to see what's on offer there. I was quite surprised to see how many people were hanging out at coffee shops so early in the morning before work. I guess 90% are holiday "goers" and 10% holiday "makers" like me. Sitting there watching the people while striking up conversations with strangers allowed me to forget about work and to create a feeling of being on holiday as well. The smell of coffee mixed with sea air and breakfast all added to the experience. 

The search will continue because I have not found my perfect coffee shop yet, but this morning I came pretty close I must say. The sea view unfortunately was missing from this particular spot.  As long as I can retain the ability to "make" my own holidays when I'm not on holiday I should be able to get the much needed breaks I require at times. The ingredients are out there, you just need to mix it according to the "Holiday Recipe" and once you have acquired that skill I guess you can revel in the fact that you can be "permanently" on holiday.

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