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The case for doing nothing


Out of our ‘the busier the better’ bustling world arises a welcome rebellion that is switching off phones, brains and the eternal to-do list.

 

 

“I’ve done nothing today” is often a statement of shame-ridden guilt.

However, that very nothingness can be a productive, even lucrative, something. It’s just in disguise. A new movement to purposely slow us all down is fast taking over the globe.

Busyness has been attributed to success and worthiness – while doing ‘stuff all’ often holds the stigma of being lazy, unmotivated or unproductive.

If only we could see the measurable physiological anti-anxiety benefits that our mind and bodies get from gazing glassy-eyed out the window in the midst of a hectic day.

There is a good reason that many of the best inventions, songs and ideas are born in the middle of the night. The mind is empty, quiet and still. We are just lying there in the dark – doing nothing. Enter creativity.

Some cultures are better than others at embracing the health-enhancing art of nothingness.

The Dutch have a catchy succinct word for the concept – Miksen. It is a verb, a.k.a a doing word, that means to ‘do nothing’.

The Italians indulge in a concept known as ‘la dolce far neinte’ translated as ‘the sweetness of doing nothing.’

The Chinese have mastered the concept of ‘wu wei’, meaning inaction, which is seen as central to living a life harmoniously.

Mid-afternoon snoozes are a time-honoured tradition in the heat of the Mediterranean, but we shouldn’t need global warming to nudge us to nod off.

The concept of allowing 40 winks in the middle of a work day is being discussed as a productivity-boosting bonus in the office – to recharge batteries and counterbalance chaos.

Our minds need to empty out the old in order to refill.

Enjoying doing nothing doesn’t mean checking emails, chatting or watching TV while flopped catatonically on the couch.

That’s cheating. It can take a while for wound-up minds to wind-down and get comfortable with the habit.

We innately know when to switch off. It just takes a little neuron rewiring to make it easier, with practise, to tap into our inner timetables.

This sweet neutral state of ‘effortless being’ is a natural trait to all living things.

Observe animals both in the wild, and the ones chillaxing on our carpets or wandering nonchalantly in the garden – they have it sussed!

The nothing experience needs to be guilt-free to be of real benefit.

Imagine not achieving everything, or indeed anything, on your daily agenda.

Are there any adverse consequences? Doing zilch and zoning out can create momentum, motivation and more energy for the hours and days to follow.

When a person stops and does absolutely nothing for a moment, or two, or three, the benefits can be empowering and enlightening. Add in some nature – and that equals bliss.


 

South Island Summer Escape


Looking for a break away with plenty to see and do this summer? Then explore the South Island where you’ll find majestic landscapes, golden beaches, loads of interesting activities, and fabulous food and wine.

 

 

For the ultimate summer experience, the Nelson Tasman region will blow you away with its natural beauty and range of attractions on offer.

Local hotspots include Kaiteriteri Beach, Mapua & Ruby Coast, Motueka, Moutere, Murchison and Stoke, home to Pic’s Peanut Butter, the National World of Wearable Art & Nelson Classic Cars Museum and McCashins Brewery.

Your itinerary should include a trip to Farewell Spit, the stunning Te Waikoropupū Springs, the markets at Takaka and Golden Bay, and the Lord of the Rings film locations dotted around the area.

After exploring what Nelson and its surrounds have to offer, take the time to visit the Marlborough Sounds; the perfect destination for boating, fishing and diving.

Marlborough is wine country and you’ll find 30 cellar doors available to visit in the region, along with the award-winning Renaissance Brewing, Boom Town Brewing Company, and the first dedicated gin distillery in Marlborough, which opened in May at The Vines Village.

At the head of Queen Charlotte Sound you’ll find Picton, the picturesque little seaside town where you can explore New Zealand’s maritime heritage and marvel at the gorgeous surroundings and wildlife.

A summer escape in the South Island is a must-do this holiday season, with delightful weather, friendly hospitality, heaps of attractions and beautiful sights just waiting to be discovered.


 

Summer’s getting hot!


It’s summertime and the living is easy, so we’ve put together the perfect itinerary for what to do in the Garden City.

 

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY
TUESDAY 31 DECEMBER

Let’s all celebrate and see in the New Year at Christchurch’s biggest NYE party, with The Edge’s New Year’s Eve Party on Tuesday 31 December, 6pm to 12am in North Hagley Park.

The Court Jesters will start the night off with interactive fun for the whole family and a kid’s countdown at 8pm. Plus DJ Spinal will be mixing and bringing the crowd favourites throughout the evening.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s without a huge fireworks display, brought to you by Fireworks Professionals. There will be some of the hottest homegrown talent on-hand to rock the night away.

To check out the artists, visit www.theedge.co.nz

 


 

 

LAZY SUNDAYS
12 JANUARY – 16 FEBRUARY

Deep South Lazy Sundays have offered us a great way to enjoy the Garden City and this year’s line-up is no different, from 12 January to 16 February, 3:30pm to 5pm.

Put summer into your Sundays by bringing a picnic and your blanket and spending the end of your weekend relaxing in the sun with good food, music and friends. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy what makes Christchurch so special.

Deep South Lazy Sundays venues:

Rauora Park:
Sunday 12 January

Archery Lawn, Christchurch Botanic Gardens:
19 Jan – 16 Feb

 


 

 

INTERISLANDER SUMMER FESTIVAL
BOXING DAY – 16 FEBRUARY 

Interislander Summer Festival promises a fun-filled day out for a group of friends or the whole family. Watch the horses gallop and dash around some of New Zealand’s most spectacular racecourses, with 30 events running across the country.

Enjoy the classic Kiwi summer’s day out with plenty of action on-track and off. Racegoers will experience all day long entertainment while excitedly cheering on their favourite racehorse or relaxing in the sun with a picnic.

The day will be filled with activities galore, including the More FM Kids Go Racing Area, tug of war and sack races for the children.

Live music will create an upbeat atmosphere between races, and local food will be onsite to tease the taste buds.

To book tickets visit, www.summerfestival.nz

 


 

Melbourne’s calling

Urban therapy: Melbourne’s calling


It’s the holiday time of year. Liesl Johnstone looks at why Melbourne is hot property for your travel itinerary.

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

Almost-summer is as good a time as any for some Aussie urbanity; some Melbourne time. Wake up here, and things could definitely be worse. Straight from New Zealand, there are a couple of extra hours before the alarm, for starters.

It’s becoming a repeatable luxury that I would highly recommend…. to station myself in the midst of a bustling city a few levels up off the street (for views and interest, allowing reasonable airspace from traffic sirens) to observe life, think, walk, read, eat and drink, then sleep and repeat. Did I mention the shopping?

As someone whose cultural norm was unfailingly to ‘get away from it all’ beside the sea or into the mountains whenever possible, city breaks are a new burst of neon. Occasionally there’s something strangely comforting about being in the midst of a large bustling population. Ditto, to walk down the street at night surrounded by teeming humanity; many pedestrians; copious night-cyclists.

Parts of Melbourne’s CBD (and Sydney’s) are not dissimilar to Paris, or any city of millions. The trees and old architecture lend beauty and respectability; the street art and talented (auditioned) buskers

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

proffer whimsy and edginess. Trams are yet another reason to love it here, giving so many such ease of access; a domino to the city’s vibrancy.The State Library of Victoria seems enough proof that Melbourne has a silken lining of learning, heritage and high culture. It’s beautiful architecturally; the fourth most popular library in the world, according to the city’s official visitor guide. The La Trobe Reading Room has that hushed, grandiose feel you get from a mix of history, the patina of quality timber, big airspace and gracious balconies.

Melbourne is a true melting-pot culture and notably one with incredible menus, globally sourced. I conducted a proper scientific straw poll, questioning two local dedicated gastronomic consumers on their favoured city establishments. Checking these out online showed a plethora of Trip-Advisor back-up and hearty recommendations. In a city this size, that equals booking weeks ahead.

If a weekend ‘Spice Journey’ appeals, try booking at Maha, which bills itself as an ‘unrestricted Middle Eastern’ eatery. Duck-fat hummus, preserved lemon, charred chicken kefta, Persian cherries, smoked almonds… plus a truly global range of craft beers and inventive, other-worldly cocktails.

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

Other well-patronised, gloriously centrally-located eateries included Sezar, an Armenian establishment with a geographically extensive wine-list; Tonka, with its ‘clean, punchy flavours’ of modern India, and Taxi Kitchen with its fabulously brash marketing (announcing unequivocally that you’ve arrived) and its inventive Aussie-Asian-fusion menu. The latter is perfect for savouring local fish, meat and a flavour-kaleidoscope of dumplings.

Other favourite haunts include the Peruvian Pastuso, (particularly noteworthy for its fab spirits menu, drawn from all over the globe), and the South-East-Asian Red Spice Road with artfully presented fresh fare and mind-blowing taste hits.

The conclusion? Any cuisine in the world can be found here, lovingly crafted; likewise any fashion. Alternatively, sit riverside on the South-Wharf boardwalk and do nothing. There’s no compunction to consume. Being somewhere different and just thinking is a re-boot too.

 



 

Kaikoura

A coastal paradise: Kaikoura is an international destination (that you won’t need a passport to visit)

If a stunning peninsula town encircled by majestic mountains and life-filled craggy coastlines takes your fancy, a weekend getaway to Kaikoura is pure paradise – for all senses in all seasons.

Kaikoura

A $1.3 billion-dollar rebuild after the 2016 quakes returned its infrastructure and accessibility. However, the community’s vibrancy never really faded. Visitors are its life blood.
Kaikoura boasts world-class close encounters of the sea-life kind. Lonely Planet sites our fur seal community as second to none. Basking or frolicking, they are the cutest most fascinating creatures to watch. And swimming with smart, inquisitive dolphins has been life changing for many.
Sperm whale and dolphin viewing, by boat or air, astonishes millions of tourists and is the bucket list on many a travel itinerary. Its only 2.5 hour’s drive from Christchurch – how lucky are we!
Kaikoura translates ‘to eat crayfish’. Seafood lovers will be in heaven. Restaurants and cafés serve abundant fresh local fare, while accommodation ranges from hospitable B&Bs, to luxury beachfront hotels.
Kaikoura Museum, resembling a crayfish basket, houses collections of whaling history – and even antique telephones. While Fyffe House, home of the first settlers, has foundations built from whale backbones. Stunning walks now show a slightly different landscape, measuring in parts a coastal uplift of over a metre. There’s a lavender farm, a Maori tour, scuba diving, snorkelling, eco tours – the list is as endless as the panorama.
Literally breathtaking, by deeply inhaling both the bracing mountain air and the energising scent of sea spray, a trip to Kaikoura can renew jaded souls, rekindle romance, or offer the ultimate adventure explosion.