The Ultimate Day: Malawi

Designer Holly Dunlap imagines 24 perfect hours in her adopted African home.

You know that fantasy where you take a trip so exotic and inspiring that you decide to stay forever? Holly Dunlap is living it. After selling her successful shoe and accessories company, Hollywould, she traveled to Malawi in 2009 where a two-week stay to build a school became the impetus for a new business, a new home and a new life. "What struck me most about Malawi was a willing population of bright and talented people with no real opportunity for advancement," she says, "The gut reaction of most westerners is to hand out food and clothing, but I wanted to invest in something that would benefit families three generations from today." So she moved to Malawi and — quite literally — set up shop. Dunlap created a new line, 4MaCoHa, with the Malawi Council for the Handicapped; the colorful caftans, pillows and rugs are crafted by disabled artisans. 

Since surviving melanoma and becoming an ambassador for the Melanoma Research Alliance, Dunlap's best accessory has become a straw hat (made of reeds from the lake in Mozambique, no less) so that she can safely take in the beauty of her adopted tropical home. She shared her dream day in the warm heart of Africa: