My Travel List April 15, 2019 00:00

I'm generally considered an extremely (read: annoyingly) organised person. I have lists for everything, from document expiries to contract renewals, and weekly stretching schedules to budgets. My tax is always ready within a few minutes to submit, and I rarely run out of anything in my pantry.

And of course, I have a travel list. My friends think this is terribly quirky (read: controlling) and that I'm far too industrious. What they don't understand, is that it stems from being deeply lazy. I can't bear intensely stressful periods, desperately trying to gather my slips to submit my tax returns, or desperately trying to remember what to pack to take along on holiday. 

I learnt early on that if I just drew up a list once, I could refer to it time and again, and simply pack what's on the list.

Easy. Stress-free. Tick tick tick and you're done.

You won't have forgotten anything. You leave home with a peaceful disposition, with nothing on your mind except the anticipation for a glorious trip.

Now doesn't that sound like the way you'd like to set out on your travels?

With the Easter holidays on our doorstep, I'm going to share my travel list with you and hopefully it'll give you the same sense of calm it gives me.

I'm a sucker for a printed tick list - I don't know why making ticks gives me a feeling of accomplishment, but you could also use an app like Wunderlist if you prefer to have it on your phone.








Travel insurance






Check validity of passport





International Driver’s Licence



Check hotel booking confirmed



Check laundry options at hotel



Ensure all necessary numbers are on mobile



Check if room is serviced



Check if they supply bedding and towels



Check there’s enough dog food



Tick & flea treatment



Check you have luggage tags



Have car washed





Call vet to give them away dates



Check flights are still on schedule



Check & print house-sitter’s list



Prep info for staff








Small vanity with make-up; cleanser etc; toothbrush



Tranquilizers / Sleeping Pills












Credit Cards & cash



Travel pillows



Hotel Vouchers






Mobile; Kindle; Laptop and chargers






Snacks & water





Pack no more than 7 days of outfits. See laundry options



Travel scale



Cellphone + charger






Sewing kit



Umbrella (rain)






Shampoo & Conditioner



Cleanser & Moisturiser






Manicure kit






2 prong plug & international plug



GHD + hair goodies



Beach towels + umbrella/tent



Yoga mat









What would you add to the list?

Happiest Holidays December 7, 2018 00:00

My whole childhood I felt a sense of missing out. My parents were very solitary, and I wasn’t allowed out to parties often, so felt very isolated.

But in December, we went to the sea!

It was always the same. We’d travel down to Port Elizabeth where I was born, and where my grandparents lived in the house my parents still owned.

At around 03:00 in the morning we’d be woken up from a deep sleep, the car packed up, some dithering and arguing, but finally we’d be on the road with a cup of coffee in our bellies. We're Italian. We learned to drink coffee young. (As an aside, I barely touch the stuff now.)

The trip was arduous with all three us sisters in the back seat in a car without air conditioning. It was hot and cramped. I remember the seats were patent leather and so you’d go through varying degrees of sticking and then sliding around in your perspiration.

Then if a sister dared to cross the line into your space, there was immediate backlash. The back seat real estate was precious and to be preserved at all costs.

We would stop once only for a burger and to fill the tank – always at the same place – and then hit the road again eating our lunch in the car.

Visiting the grandparents was wonderful. What is it about grandparents? They’re so loving and encouraging that you couldn’t help but feel happy in their presence.

My grandmother had the added bonus of being an excellent baker. Before we arrived, she’d have spent days baking her famous cookies. There were three types: romany creams; custard and soetkoekies. These would serve as breakfast and afternoon tea while we were there. There was no limit on how many we were allowed. It was a seemingly endless supply. My sisters seem to remember a lot of marble cake, but it's the cookies that stand out in my memory.

Of course while we were there she’d have another few intensive baking days preparing more for us to take home with us when we left.

I remember incredibly lazy days. Every morning was dedicated to the beach – King’s Beach in particular. After a few hours there, we’d go home and lie around a lot, mainly reading. Sometimes there would be a visit to cousins or friends my parents had made many years before.

There would be the daily feeding of wild birds that my grandmother loved so much.

I remember one year we were loaned a blue beach buggy. It was one of the highlights of all my December holidays. We really made good use of it.

It was a sort of pilgrimage for my parents, visiting their old haunts. Without fail we’d also go to Jeffrey’s Bay where my parents had a few pieces of land. It was a lovely drive and in those days there really wasn’t very much there. We'd go to each respective piece of land. Stand a while. Look. Take a picture and then go home. I never quite understood why we did it, but it was part of the ritual so that was that.

There was also a run down place called The Shack. A hastily self-made cottage on the Krom river where we would have to use an outhouse for all ablutions, but there was fun stuff like fishing and boating. It was the first place I water-skied. It was overrun by massive baboon spiders at night which lurked around every corner. Everywhere you sat or lay had to be triple inspected so you didn’t have a nasty encounter.

Occasionally we’d be joined by other close family friends and I remember the joy of being able to discover and share our secret places with them.

Because I read so much generally, but especially over this time, I had it in my head that I should have a holiday fling. Of course I’d never had a fling of any kind, ever, so how I thought I could possibly have the freedom to be flung while away with my parents, I have no idea. But I dreamed and dreamed of it. Every teenage boy who walked passed was part of a story in my mind.

To this day I’ve never had a holiday romance, and I guess there’s an age limit on that sort of thing. I’ve also stopped reading romance novels which makes giving this idea up a lot easier :)

I always think back to this time very fondly. Don’t we all long for a summer holiday as carefree as when we were young?