In South Africa squatters are considered a nuisance to society, found in abandonded buildings in Johannesburg and in outlying areas in makeshift building made out of metal, wood and anything that can keep the elements out.
In 2003 before all the refurbishment took place on Jeppe street there was a abandonded building that wreaked with the smell of faeces as nothing escape the african sun when it shines. As we drove through the area on the bus home I would hope that we would have smooth passage so we did not have stop and marinate in this odour. How could people sleep in this place? Could they no longer smell it?
Over the past 19 years , I have seen Joburg change and grow and with this growth such building disappeared but the notion of squatting has not left in fact its entrenched in our society. In 2018 I travelled to the Netherlands to spend some time with family, my husband mentioned that we would visit a friend who stays in a former monastrey. It all sounded pretty cool until he told me that they were squatting in the building they were living in, imeediately I was flooded with my earlier memories of squatters and I did not know if I could stomach this visit.
when the day finally arrived I tried to gather as much information about the friend as I could trying to ensure that come what may I would not be startled by what awaited. The said friend he told me had a masters degree immediately I was taken aback they had educated squatters, i'm not saying all squatters in South Africa are uneducated but I'm pretty sure they don't have a masters education.
The sqautting I encoutered in the Netherlands was nothing like anything I had seen back home, these people had a communal gardern that they all worked on the procude was sold for a small fee to all the occupants who lived in this monastery. They had music recitals, ground coffee it was all very modern and collaboration in action. Below is a slide show of some of the pictures I took whilst I was there. I found it interesting that even though these people were not necessarily well off they had created a place that was home for them but also a economy out of their efforts together. It certainly put a twist on my ideas around squatting and how it can be done.
June 2020, I set up a podcast for "Those Who Travel Meet Themselves" and over the past 2 years we have shared, chatted to people who have been travelling and made the most of having a podcast.
I think radio is fun and a different form of listening and entertainment, therefore it made sens to chat with everyone and create a travel orientated channel.
Life for me is about conversations, fun and most impotantly living, check out our podcast and let us know what you would like to hear more off.
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Growing up, for a whole year, we had father John a catholic priest visit our home at least once a week, the purpose of his visit ...for me to finally be a good catholic and join the church officially. He always used to say "you are like a gazelle in the field" I have to say that I like the idea of being a little springbuck bobbing along in the open field. I never joined the church officially but occassionally I would practice some of the traditions such as lent: a time when you give up something you often think you cannot live without for the duration of lent.
Well this year I have decided to give up the spirit of not self promoting! Yup you read right I'm doing away with this obssession of not really wanting to share my thoughts, or projects that I'm working on. This spirit was born out of people often being negative when I shared my ideas or thoughts and because as humans we tend to care too much about what other people think so we then learn to start hiding and being aloof...well at least thats what I did.
When I published "Those who Travel Meet Themselves" I literally felt like I was walking around naked with everyone giving their opinion on my body! Arrrrggghhhhh! what would possibly drive me to put myself out there in this manner and so I walked on the burning coals and spoke about the book only to those who were encouraging.
Well this year starting today I'm going to lean in hard and share my thoughts, ideas and things I would like to do in 2022. Below is my list and if you think you can assist me with any of these audacious Ideas please drop me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Do 20 school talks on the importance of travel
2. Be a paid Keynote speaker for 5 events
3. Write another book
4. Have a art exhibition for the artwork from the 2nd Edition of Those Who Travel Meet Themselves
5. Write every day
6. Blog once a week
7. Do paid advertisements
8. Donate more books at more libraries
9. Collaborate More
10. Screw fear I'm Leaning In! Please help me share my ideas on the socials
I will be adding more to my list as I go along but if you see me out on the streets, or see one of the posts please share it.
Over the hard lockdown I had the opportunity to make new connections and collaborations, and try out my hand at writing for different magazines one a new travel magazine with a focus on domestic tourism and the other a lifestyle magazine all the way in China.
To read some of the articles click on the links below:
Mash Magazine is run by a young man from Limpopo, I met him through one of my WhatsApp network groups, with a shared passion for tourism I found myself in the middle of a pandemic writing articles on travel. Our focus: domestic tourism because there is so much to share about our beautiful 9 Provinces.
The lesson from this pandemic has been that local and domestic tourism is not a “maybe” business, it’s an important one: the more we have locals travelling and creating unique experiences out of their everyday surroundings the better chances of creating stronger local economies. When borders close, economies that rely on external tourists were severely impacted and how do you begin selling to someone you never envisioned as your customer?
What Covid has given us is a clear idea that as South Africa we have to create a stronger domestic market both at local level and across provinces. It also made it very clear that we need to pay better wages so we can have more people participating in tourism experiences. If people are not being paid enough we will never grow this market to a level where we sustain livelihoods’.
When borders close, when provinces lockdown we need locals to be the biggest supporters and this is the business we should be growing because without it there are fewer jobs for locals
I’ve never written for a foreign magazine so when this opportunity came up I thought “why not?” I’m happy to try my hand at new things even if they scare me. I did wonder what someone in China could possibly learn from me. I put doubt aside and I’m happy to see it was published.
Ever written for a foreign magazine? Leave us a comment below.
We never thought that being homebound for over 2 months with no jogging or leisurely walking allowed would make us develop an appreciation for the outdoors. All of a sudden I was clocking my steps through a shopping bag clasped around my shoulder as I made my way to the local supermarket to buy food. Walking seemed to be the only way to cope with the whole bunch of unknown that we were facing.
Several months later we are still dealing with adjusted levels, social distancing, death and curfews so to boost my love for walking I recently joined a Facebook hiking group. I have been totally blown away by the pictures people are sharing from their hikes. The routes vary from province to province and of course depending on who is on the hike, each has its own personality, and I am impressed at how everyone seems to be learning from each other regardless of race. Now you are most probably wondering why I’m bringing up such an arb consideration such as race, but this is South Africa unless you make a concerted effort not to focus on race it remains a defining marker used to determine how people interact with each other. In 1997 when I started hiking at school, hiking was largely dominated by white people who used it as a leisure activity to relax and enjoy nature. I found myself continuously as the only non-white person in these groups. Fast forward to 26 years later and I see how this pandemic has allowed non-white South Africans to really express their love for nature through hiking.
Being outdoors in nature has been encouraged over being in malls and closed spaces, “being outdoors reduces your chances of catching Corona” it seems this was the prompt that was needed because people have ventured out looking for spaces to go walking and enjoy nature. Straight of the bat you can see that people are really enjoying themselves, the smiles are huge, the sweat a great indication that they are having a good workout and the sharing of the time with others in a socially distanced and open space at least is allowing them to enjoy the benefits of being around other humans.
There are also other benefits that being out in nature presents, my favourite simply being it improves your mood, studies over the years have indicated that spending even as little as 20 minutes in nature is important for improving your mood and assisting you with getting in vitamin D from the sunrays allowing you to have a sunny disposition instead of feeling under the weather. Being outdoors also allows you to get fresh air, let your thoughts run free and inspire creativity.
I could go on all day, but I would love to hear what your experience has been with being outdoors whether you just recently started or have been hiking for a few years now.
In 2019 I had the fortune of finding myself in a lecture room at WITS business school this time as a guest lecture not as a student. I was here to share my learnings as a women in business, prior to this moment I thought back on everything that has created the person who stood in front of these women about to share her learnings. What were the influences in my life? What has made me choose this particular path? What are the daily struggles I have had to work through in order to become a better person?
I found myself in a reflective state for weeks prior to this moment and I realized that I have always loved sharing, learning from each other and most importantly teaching. It’s this spirit that lit the fire within me to collect and edit the stories that now make us “Those who travel meet Themselves”. Transformation and healing involves learning from the past, present and future, opening up to possibility and allowing will to be the driver of possibility.
After I finished my lecture I had time to engage the phenomenal women who were in the room, we talked and engaged for 15 minutes before they had to return to class. I left this space fulfilled and knowing that I wanted to continue on this path to continue learning, teaching and growing together. So you can imagine in the height of Lockdown when I was asked if I would guest lecture again in this time from a online platform. I was absolutely delighted at the opportunity to participate again.
This time the topic was Gender Identity in leadership and in preparation I reached out to the wide network of women I know who have done their time in corporate and asked them for their lessons learnt. I received so much input, and I thank each and every person who contributed from around the world. Please visit the resources page to download the lessons learnt.
For 2021 I would like to put it out to the universe that I look forward to more opportunities to teach and learn from each other, no matter where you are in the world I am here if we have synergy let us create together. I AM OPEN. I AM READY.
P.S. Check out the free 75 lessons from leading woman in our resources section.