How to turn a business trip into an adventure

Promotional book tours help get the word out once a book hits the shelves. They’re especially important in the first six months after publication, which is generally the period authors become adrenaline-fueled squirrels of activity.

It’s been four months since Mine was published, so I’ve been really, really busy. In the last few weeks alone, I was booked for FanCon, the Kingsmead Book Fair and the Franschhoek Literary Festival, which meant a lot of time off work, a fair amount of travelling and a lot of public speaking.

It’s hard work, but also extremely fulfilling and humbling. I’m grateful for every opportunity to discuss my work, and always give 100% when I do. I also try to make the most of every trip and see and do as much as I can.

For my mini-Johannesburg tour, my travel partner Hevette and I squeezed in as many school visits as we could. Armed with stickers, bookmarks and posters, we spent a day chatting to young readers before popping into Love Books. We then had a fabulous dinner with fellow local YA author Jayne Bauling. It was so nice spending time with Jayne and unwinding after a busy day.

The next day was all about the incredibly jam-packed Kingsmead Book Fair. It was my first time taking part in the fair, so I was surprised when my event sold out a week prior. I had a blast chatting to learners and sharing my journey with them. But most of all I loved spreading the word about Fin and Kayla and seeing the excited look on the faces of those who bought the book.

We stayed at the gorgeous Dunkeld Manor, a garden oasis of old school luxury and charm. Accommodation makes such a huge difference to these trips, and Dunkeld Manor made us feel super comfortable. From staying up late to welcome us after our flight and waking us up with steaming cappuccinos to going out of their way to organize a soap for me and asking us what pastries we wanted for breakfast the next day, our every need was catered for. The tranquil surroundings and vintage furnishings did much to create that luxurious mini-break feel.

For the Franschhoek Literary Festival, I was booked into Macaron Guest House, which is seriously lovely. The refurbished Victorian guesthouse is so so beautiful. I fell in love with the antique brass shower, despite only being able to enjoy it for two minutes due to water restrictions.

Even though I was a guest of the festival, I was seriously spoiled with delicious macaroons in the room, a hot water bottle in the bed at night and a hearty breakfast. I was so ready to tackle my events after that.

My schedule was quite busy, but Franschhoek is just too stunning to not take full advantage of. So the Wild Child and I decided to make the most of the gap between my school visits and panel by checking out some of the local restaurants and wine farms.

Our first stop was the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery, which is a relatively new eatery I’ve been dying to check out. In addition to its delightful craft brews, Tuk Tuk offers an exciting Mexican-themed menu. The pork belly tacos with pineapple were delicious.

Wine tastings at Moreson and Babylonstoren followed, with a leisurely stroll around the latter’s seasonal garden which changes every time I visit. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to visit Noble Hill and the Cosecha restaurant, which is high on my bucket list. Next time.

Since I had already taken two days off work to attend the festival, we decided to enjoy the weekend fully and joined some friends in Kleinmond for non-stop braais, potjies and beach walks.

Working hard is important, but taking a little time to enjoy life is even more so. Instead of rushing home, we took it slow, enjoyed the scenery, slept late, laughed – our smartphones lying forgotten at the bottom of a bag.

So if you’re travelling for work, make the most of it and turn that business trip into an adventure. That way you can return to work feeling like you’ve had a holiday, and not just run a marathon.

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