“Do more, have less” is the title of one of the Instagram accounts I follow. It always makes me smile to read this simple line. The most memorable experiences in life are often about things we do, not things we acquire. Maybe it’s a ‘second half of life’ thing, but more and more of my friends and colleagues are embracing this philosophy. A friend said to me just last night “If I think of all the money I spent on the latest pair of jeans – and what I could do with that money now – oi!” That desire to acquire the latest brand everything often has to do with social status and whether others think we are worthy of approval or have ‘made it in life’. It is perhaps when we become more secure that we can let go of these needs (or when we realise that the search for approval from others on the basis of our possessions is a bottomless pit of need). Franciscan Richard Rohr says as you become more secure you learn to “love the things you have, not have to have the things you love.”
Maybe it’s not just for us olderies either – it’s also a sign of the times, with increasing interest from youth culture in environmental issues and hippie freedom of spirit and travel. That aggressive have-to-have-it-all-now attitude is being seen as “so 90’s” and we recognise a new brand of emerging luxury which is about taking time off to travel, to be in nature, to be unhurried and present, to connect with other people in a real way and to detox from our digital addictions. My inimitably cool niece said to me the other day “I stopped my Instagram account for a while because it made me care too much about how many likes I was getting. I didn’t like the way it made me feel or behave.” Her big fantasy is to fix up an old hippie van and travel around South Africa and even the world with a group of friends.
In my own family, we have decided to stop buying one another things and to start offering one another vouchers for experiences – a trip somewhere we have always wanted to go, a luxury romantic weekend in a beautiful place, a day off from work. And as we do this our souls rise in gratitude with the joy of unhurried time in nature.
Make the most of the upcoming Isibindi Africa specials and give someone the gift of a magical experience in a pristine natural environment.
Experience the remote. Engage the present.