Trend-spotter and style guru Dion Chang is as cyber-connected as anyone. But he finds no better way of getting off the grid than to take it slow in Plettenberg Bay with friends
I’ve just recently revived a tradition of renting a big house in Plett with some close friends. But there’s a caveat. For me, ‘December holidays’ is a contradiction. There’re always family commitments, running around and getting into the silly season. That’s not a holiday.
So the rule is that we only go out of season, usually mid- to late-January, just after schools have started. At that time of the year, if there are 12 other people on the beach, it’s ‘crowded’. The point is just to veg out and lie in the sun, and the hardest decisions are what to eat and what to read.
Having started our Plett pilgrimage about 20 years ago – I remember when the restaurant on Lookout Beach was just a little tuck shop – we’ve done and dusted all the tourist sites, so ‘inactivity’ is our holiday mantra. We’re all foodies, too, so we tend to hibernate and cook rather than eat out. One possible excursion is to take a rowing boat up the Keurbooms River for a picnic, and the biggest challenge is packing the Champagne flutes so they don’t break – we don’t do paper plates and Styrofoam cups.
My company recently published a report on digital addiction and burnout. I’m usually ‘always on, always connected’, tracking the latest trends, but Plett is a retreat for me, so I do a digital detox. We don’t even have WiFi in the house. If I start feeling guilty about being on holiday just when everyone starts working, I reclaim my Asian roots and tell everyone I adhere to the Chinese New Year, which means my year starts in February. Problem solved.