I am Dad to the amazing Said family: my wife and best friend Sheira and my 3 wonderful kids, Joshua an adult now at 19, Noah, 16 and Zoe, 8.
My life revolves around showing them the world through travel and blowing their mind with what it has to offer: its beauty, its hidden (and not so hidden) corners, its unique stories. This is the one area where my family let me loose like a kid in a candy store, in charge of every aspect of our holiday planning - so naturally our family albums take you around the planet...
When it comes to adventure and the path less traveled, my wife gives me a run for my money and we have both raised our kids to say - bring it on! We are a tight unit, however we are all individuals with our own passions, interests and favourite destinations...
Hi, My name is Jonathan. I am a 48-year-old ex South African who has made Sydney, Australia my home for 30 years. I am also Dad to the amazing Said family: my wife and best friend Sheira, a style queen who is as warm as she is glamorous, and my 3 wonderful kids, Joshua an adult now at 19, Noah (16) and Zoe (8).
I am passionate – my friends would tell you I live life with 8 exclamation marks!!!!!!!!
Some people love Star Trek; others are addicted to work - my high comes from travel experiences. My life revolves around showing my family the world and blowing their mind with what it has to offer. Its beauty, it’s hidden (and not so hidden) corners, its unique stories. Our family albums take you around the planet... from our favorite hole in the wall snack in New York to paragliding over Rio or unrolling tarpaulins and smoking narghile in the Negev desert.
When it comes to adventure and the path less travelled, my wife gives me a run for my money and we have both raised our kids to say - bring it on.
We’re not a guidebook full of boring statistics. We’re not a travel agent with a vested interest. We’re not a glossy, corporate ad.
We are a real family – living our dream to travel the world in style, with an open heart and a free spirit. Wherever we go, we’ll bring you with us in real time - from the exhaustive planning and research (I’ll work 20 hour days to get it right, this is where the journey and fun begins) to the spontaneous discoveries once we get there.
We source the world’s most extraordinary places, looking for superb service, culinary delight (“fine dining” for us can be superb local produce eaten out in the open air), ravishing beauty, rarity and a place’s greatest treasure – its people. In other words, we want to go to the heart and soul of wherever we visit. I will move heaven and earth to find the most tucked away beach in Brazil or a chic boutique hotel but am just as happy shucking oysters next to a local fisherman as the sun goes down. We seek out luxury, art and high design alongside rustic simplicity and local authenticity.
The Said family love comfort – I want to know where the best of the best is - but don’t want to stay in a comfort zone. We seek the spiritual provocation of the truly foreign, which is what gives a journey texture. I want to run barefoot with the Masai!
I have always been brimming over with enthusiasm for not only discovering the planet, but also sharing the Said family stories and secrets along the way. I got as big a kick putting together my travel experiences on Facebook for friends and family as I did making a trip. Then something amazing happened. Our photos and jottings started getting passed on to friends of friends, then friendly strangers around the world. The whole thing started to snowball. They wanted to know, how do you guys have so much fun with your kids in an ancient city? How do we find that hidden, boat-only cove in the Cyclades? When is Capri quiet? Where did Sheira buy that amazing floor length sundress? What happens next?
Well, we’ll tell you. On Jonathansaid.com. In this global cyber age, when we are all connected by a mouse click, you don’t just live it you share it. Knowledge is intimate, hard won, and precious. I want to share the wealth. Sheira is a world-class shopper who has a gift for finding out of the ordinary treasures anywhere - and our kids’ impressions will resonate with others their age in your own family.
I invite you into the life of our family, to see how we live, where we go, how we keep an inspired attitude to travel and instill wonderment in our teen boys and little girl. Join us - let’s get travelling!
No-one knows you quite like the people who see you everyday at home and love you the most - your family. I figure the best way for you to meet the Saids is to get a first-hand account from all of us about each other. The whole truth and nothing but the truth!
SHEIRA said …
… JONATHAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN RESTLESS. He is never happier than when he is traveling and showing us the world. Funnily enough, being a wanderer is the opposite of my own nature. I am a nester - happy to be home.
… ALWAYS GRABS THE MOMENT. Jonathan is a grab-the-brass-ring kind of guy. And that means now. Because a holiday is such a short time, we have to make the most of every experience.
Then are times on our travels that the family doesn’t have what it takes to go to that extra corner, market, or coffee shop. I might want to say, “I’m done, I don’t want to see anywhere else today.” But Jonathan would only reply, “come on guys, I am getting close to what I’m after, nearly there “! At the end of the day he wants all of us to get the reward, even though our legs are tired… he seems to always get it right.
He says, “You never know what tomorrow will hold.” The weather might change so take the photo today! If I put off going back to an interesting shop to buy something I love, he says “ No – do it now, it could be closed the next day “. So he always tries to capture the moment today; in case it’s a blizzard tomorrow.
… JONATHAN RUNS THE SHOW WHEN WE TRAVEL. At home in Sydney, I do the ‘push and shove’ on the domestic front and really run our household. I rarely consult him on arrangements and small details and he is happy to go along with the terrace BBQs, dinners out or movie choices I make.
He does the travel ‘push and shove.’ It works. Self-employed for the best part of two decades, Jonathan has the freedom to do what he wants with his time. So he takes on all the legwork, “finagling”, planning and bookings. If it goes well, or wrong he is responsible. Of course he loves every minute, but we respect the work and care that goes in. It’s not 10 days crashed around a pool in Bali – a lot of organization goes into our adventures. The person who puts it all together should be the ship’s captain and we’re happy with that.
The rest of us pretty much get on the plane as tourists and learn as we go. Family and marriage is this constant readjustment and blending of everyone’s needs. Jonathan is tolerant of the fact that I can’t function at 6.30 am. I can take in enough ambience between 9.30 am and midnight thanks! In turn I have learned to eat breakfast alone so he can enjoy his morning run.
When it comes to travel, we let him set the tone…
“THIS ISN’T DOING IT FOR ME”
This is Jonathan’s cult phrase when things on the road don’t go according to plan. He has a high/low, extreme personality. No one is merrier or more enthusiastic when things are exciting and discoveries are as good - or better - than he thought.
But if a suite has a disappointing view, a restaurant has no ambience, a city is too dull and commercial or the sky is a wrong shade of blue, I can pick up his tension instantly. I know him so well I can feel the body language from across the room!
And I know the warning signs by heart: the lips purse; the brows knit slightly. You practically see tiny cartoon tufts of steam coming out of his ears!
The whole idea of getting a better room or table in a restaurant makes a huge difference between his experience working or not. It’s just a personality quirk. I’m different; I let things like that go.
Sometimes the kids are amused; sometimes they want to crawl under the table. Zoe is fine as long as he is not raising his voice. Noah and Jonathan are so similar - and people are least tolerant when they see themselves in someone else - so he knows to back off when Jonathan starts pacing the room and uttering those telltale words, “This isn’t doing it for me.” But the pay off is, this phrase has given us some of the best turn arounds and good times ever.
…JONATHAN is a fitness fanatic and health freak - but first of all he is passionate about travel. He is also funny. I find it hilarious that he listens to my type of music – and plays his even louder than mine. I’m not sure if it’s cool or embarrassing.
The upside of traveling with Dad - there’s no staying in one place. I don’t mind unpacking, being in one place for 2 days, then packing up and moving on again. I love the way we are always on the run with Dad.
What drives me crazy? …That would be the photos. I hate the whole photo shoot thing, and he loves taking them. I would be in heaven if he didn’t take a camera. In Capri about 5 yrs ago the camera was out and we were taking photos near the water. The sun was in my eyes and I just could not smile or even see! I stubbornly kept my hands over my face and Dad went crazy! I was ruining his shot, so we had the biggest fight of our lives.
Now when we’re away he always jokes, you better smile buddy, remember Capri.
…JONATHAN IS STRONG, random, and takes us to lots of nice places. He always looks after me, and carries me on his shoulders when I get tired. I love to do crazy adventure things with Dad, like paragliding, jet boating, and going on a run in the morning. Dad takes us to the best places in the world. Next week we are going to Kenya on safari. I am so excited. I sometimes miss my friends when I travel.
...JONATHAN IS A GREAT PERSON. He is strong both physically and emotionally. He never takes no for an answer and will pursue his goal until he’s happy or has reached his high standard!
He has given me a gift by not only taking me to almost every country on this planet and showing me its history. He has also let me go on an adventure for 8 months to Europe to re-visit the places, like Israel, that I love - and discover the ones that I haven’t (Sorry I’m gone so long Mum)!
I have just spent a week with my Dad in Belgium and Barcelona. On Sunday we watched a Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the following night we were watching Barcelona play a home game. That’s life with my Dad, always the unpredictable…