Month: September 2016

An Epicurist’s Guide to Starting the Morning

Published on the Relais & Châteaux Africa blog here Epicurist. n a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink). Lemony Snicket (the American writer also known, much less excitingly, as Daniel Handler) once said that, “how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” While some of us prescribe to the winging-it philosophy of life, many have discovered and held onto set routines that have become a strict guide to living. These rituals help to make sense of and to better control the infinite routes a day can take, and to ensure that we get to fit in time for that which should always come first, like family. Or breakfast. Of all the morning routines of the world’s rich and famous, Steve Jobs’ simple but significant daily ritual speaks to me most. According to Fast Company, the late Apple CEO once said, in a speech to a graduating class at Stanford, “For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the …

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” – Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo I remember hearing these words for the first time, watching as Matt Damon, playing Benjamin Mee in the film, We Bought a Zoo, imparts some fatherly advice to his son. I remember my chest suddenly feeling unsteady, taken over by a sort of vertigo, waiting to fall. Not because I so was taken by Damon. And not, I told myself, because I was a big softie. It was because the film had managed to do what all art attempts to do. It spoke to me. Right to my core. To the adventurer in me that longs for new and wild experiences but sometimes needs a little push out of the plane. There are certain times when the brave soul inside each of us is called into action. For some of us, it is the simple act of making the first move in love. For others, it is …

How to Collect Wild Elephants

Published first on the Relais & Châteaux Africa blog There is a joke that goes, Five people — an Englishman, Russian, American, Frenchman and Irishman were each asked to write a book on elephants. Some amount of time later they had all completed their respective books. The Englishman’s book was entitled “The Elephant — How to Collect Them.” The Russian’s book titled “The Elephant — Vol. I.” The American’s book called “The Elephant — How to Make Money from Them.” The Frenchman’s book was “The Elephant — Its Mating Habits.” The Irishman’s named his book “The Elephant and Irish Political History.” Despite not being French, but perhaps heavily influenced by the roots of Relais & Châteaux, I gravitate toward the Frenchman’s title on the proverbial book shelf. Being South African, there isn’t a title suggestion from our camp, but I could offer the cruder, “How to Braai an Elephant”, or, rather, “An Elephant’s Guide to the Vuvuzela”. Once wisened to the mating habits of these rather unsexy individuals, I’d go the Englishman’s route. Which brings me to today and …