I still remember the first time I was exposed to travelling as a young girl from Mabopane,
North of Pretoria. My parents decided to take us to Durban, in KZN, for a family vacation.
Coming from a province that is inland, the mere sight of the ocean mostly excited me. I wondered
where we would stay, what kind of food people in Durban eat, I envisioned the long walks
and playtime I’d have with my brother, who is two years older than me, on the beach. Would I
easily make friends? Would “they” see that this was my first time at the beach?
I could finally build sandcastles, play water sports and dip my little feet in the ocean as the
kids on the many shows I watched on TV did. It was truly an exhilarating feeling. The pure
excitement of the unknown. The stories I would retell my friends and compare stories upon
my return home. In that moment that is where my love for travelling was born.
(Photo: Dakar. Senegal 2017)
What is travel?
Well according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of travel is: to make a journey,
usually over some distance.
This definition is undoubtedly quite vague, and others might feel the need to clarify. While
others might agree with the simplicity of the definition, I certainly believe the definition
is vague and simplistic for a reason. Travel certainly means something different for
everyone, and whatever your definition might be, then that’s indeed what it means to you. I
think that there is no right or wrong answer regarding the definition of travel.
My definition of the word is rather basic. For me travelling might include going to the next
town, city, country or a different continent. Travelling is opening your mind to learning about
how others live, understanding and being empathic to our differences. Allowing yourself to
learn and teach, to be immersed in that place and a genuine interest in the place you are
visiting. You could go for a night, two or more weeks. It encompasses a wide range of
experiences you chose to do.
(Photo: Lalibela. Ethiopia. 2018)
I have been fortunate that my work allows me to travel while still getting paid. I’ve been
fortunate to be in an industry that aligns with my personality and curiosity. I not only
have the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different walks of life, but I get
to experience some of these places in their most raw setting.
I also feel we need to diminish the misconception that you need to be rich to travel.
If you would like to travel more but don’t have enough money,
you can look into finding part-time jobs in those places, joining travel clubs or “stokvels” that
would encourage regular saving and planning your trips well in advance with extensive
research done. “Traveling cheap is all about taking advantage of helpful apps and websites
that save you money (Hopper, Skyscanner, Booking.com, Kayak), finding ways to lower your
expenses, and even making money as you travel. It’s about finding value and lowering your
expenses while still being able to afford to do what you want.”
You can look at teaching English while on vacation or selling any service you might offer,
working on cruise ships, cooking your meals, sleeping in shared rooms, and also
hitchhiking in areas that are safe to do so. My advice is to do extensive research before
embarking on any vacation and also applying some caution.
(Photo: Giza pyramids Egypt 2019)
Currently, travel and travel planning are being disrupted by the worldwide pandemic we are
facing. Staying at home 24/7 is the new normal. As an avid traveller (I am usually in 2-3
countries in a month) this has been particularly hard for me because, not only has it
disrupted my travels for pleasure, but also my work has been affected. I’ve had to cancel
both work and personal trips I had. Besides the monetary loss, what pains me is the feeling
of not being able to travel when I want to travel. The choice, options and freedom in
deciding where and when to go.
(Photo: Nice. France 2020)
I have realized how fortunate and lucky I have been to just be able to travel to some of the
places I have been to which include Nigeria, Egypt, Switzerland, UAE, Senegal, Tanzania,
Uganda, South Korea and Japan, to name a few. I have used the downtime to
research on places I would like to visit in the future, compare and bookmark airline deals,
continue to save regularly into my travel account, continue to keep in touch with my travel
buddies and retell stories to anyone willing to listen, because travellers love sharing tips
(storytelling is part of a travellers life especially when we are not travelling).
(Photo: Palma de Mallorca Spain 2020)