Looking back on 2018

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It’s been seven days since I’ve switched on my laptop. I haven’t taken such a long decent break from work in at least three years; the laptop or some e-mail or some document would always creep in and my work-mode-mind would always be on standby. But this time it is different. This time I didn’t just close my laptop, I actually clicked on ‘shut down’ and packed the laptop away, out of sight out of mind.

Update: I wrote the paragraph above about 4 days ago, but then I saw a Knysna Loerie at the door, grabbed my camera and the rest is history, I didn’t touch the laptop again. So actually, it’s been 10 or 11 days since I did (and wrote) more than one single paragraph.

The year is on its side, 2018 lived up to its full potential and ‘looking back’ at the end of each year is something I’ve been doing since the start of my blog, I guess it is time to reflect again on the travel highlights, the eye-opening moments, changes and challenges. And for some reason I always count the number of beds I’ve slept in every year, the number of flights and countries visited (2015 will always be the winner in this category); so here goes: 32 beds, 14 flights and 2 countries.

I think it is time to start counting kilometres as well.

(For someone who hated math in school I sure do like to count).

Goodbye 2018

2018 Highlights

Travel and other things of 2018 that made the year a good one.

Howdy neighbour!

I visited two neighbouring countries, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, and I’m hungry for more. While my plans are ever-changing and fluid, I’m hoping to say an “overland howdy” to some other neighbours in 2019.

The Zimbabwe post will follow in January, but in the mean time you can read about the Vulture Culture experience in Victoria Falls and if you feel like self-driving through Lesotho, read: Driving in Lesotho, info and tips.

mountains

I had some visitors and some strangers

I had the opportunity in 2018 to show a few friends some of my favourite spots in and around Port Elizabeth, the Karoo and the Garden Route and while some hailed from South Africa, two were from USA and Canada. Needless to say Addo Elephant National Park was a key ingredient in each trip (read: If you could show YOUR South Africa to the world…).

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And then there were some strangers…

For some time I’ve been dreaming about the concept of ‘Going Somewhere with a Stranger’ and in July the first trip happened were two strangers trusted me without knowing where they will be going (or sleeping) and what they will be doing. I am happy to announce that both returned with all their organs intact. Keep your eyes peeled for more trips like this in 2019 and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read: Going Somewhere with a Stranger, the Addo Edition.

I “camped” in freezing weather

I don’t know why I did it, but it was good. Watch the video of the (kind of) glamping experience in Somerset East.

Got schooled by Mossel Bay

If you told me this time last year that I’d have a crush on this coastal town and its surrounding areas I would not have believed you. Mossel Bay really has more and my preconceived ideas and previous experiences of this town were completely smashed, I even apologised to Mossel Bay (read here), and also read where the Stop, get out and explore, where to have coffee and visiting Albertinia.

I also had the chance to meet a few lovely ladies such as Jacqui, Gaynor, Antonia, Rose  and Stephanie (go read their blogs), as well as the masterminds, Riaan and Anneli, from Mossel Bay Tourism.

scrap metal art mossel bay

Saw a sign and ventured down a road

During my trip to Mossel Bay I saw the sign ‘Bonniedale 4×4’ and returned a week later to get a glimpse of the Attaquaskloof 4×4 trail. It was absolutely incredible and I hope to do the full Ox Wagon Trail in the near future. Read: Attaquaskloof, A 4×4 Adventure close to Mossel Bay.

Attaquaskloof

Off-road driving course with Isuzu

Definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2018 was doing an introduction to off-road driving at the Gerotek training facility with my father by my side. Going down a 31° descend, foot off brake and relying on the Hill Descend Control, is the automotive version of a trust fall. Read: Take the Diff out of Difficult.

Isuzu Driving Academy

The mu-X joined the South African Isuzu clan

As Isuzu Motors South Africa officially became a company in the beginning of 2018, a few exciting things happened such as the launch of the Isuzu mu-X and the name change of the KB bakkie that became the D-MAX bakkie. The Isuzu mu-X also carried me through Lesotho, and most recently, Baviaanskloof.

I drove through Baviaanskloof

A few days ago I visited Baviaanskloof with the mu-X and what a place. I’ve visited before but sometimes you just need a reminder of the beauty on your doorstep. And thanks to the abovementioned driving course, my father had peace of mind to chill in the back while I escorted them in low range from one side to the other.

I got tired

I spent a few days without social media and realised something. Read: Hello. I am tired.

Bullshit Bucket

I did a variety of copywriting work this year and as one project landed in my inbox with a deadline of ‘now’ I didn’t necessarily struggle to find the words to write, but struggled to find the will to do the project. As the hours ticked by and the timeframe to finish the project in time got smaller and smaller, I realised that no work or money was worth the emotions felt to just get myself ‘there’ to type the first word. That’s when the idea of the bullshit-bucket was born, I realised the importance of having a bullshit bucket – i.e work that puts food on the table but not necessarily food into your soul – acknowledging when the bucket is full and also when it is time to empty the bucket.

Said bucket can also be applied to gatherings, people and situations. In the end it’s about learning and knowing the fine line between tolerating and crushing your soul.

It’s okay to NOT work

Being self-employed means long hours and often no shut down after 5pm or on weekends and I’ve had this silly feeling of guilt whenever I took a break. Clearly, as you can read from the first paragraph of this post, the guilt went out of the window. I was tired. I rested. I am still chilling. And I have no idea how I will get back into the swing of things. But I will figure it out.

I moved into the sun

I like winter, but my apartment was a very dark place that only got a sliver of afternoon sun for an hour a day, and my cat (who was once an illegal citizen there) couldn’t actually go outside, and even though she is an inside cat and went on little catcations and holidays to my parents’ house, I really wanted to move. So I did. And it has sun. And I have an outside area. And I now grow plants. And my cat is happy. 

And then I made one more big change

I made a big change about two and a half months ago but I’ll share more about that in the new year.

My wish for you for 2019

Thank you for reading, the support, and comments in the last year! Here’s to 2019!

May your 2019 be a year filled with peace but brimming with excitement at the same time, may your road be full of interesting twists and turns, may you put your phone away more often and make time for more coffee and catch up dates with friends and family, outside dates with nature and belly tickles with your pets (or anyone else’s pets because who can resist it?). May you keep an eye on your bullshit bucket, find time for  your hobbies (or find new ones), drink good coffee, plant a tree or just grow some herbs. May you learn some valuable lessons, teach and transfer your skills and do things that make you happy. May you feel loved and spread love. May the health of your body and our planet be a priority and a goal. May you find the beauty in your backyard and surrounding towns. May there be less comparison and more compassion. And may you look back on 2019 with a heart happy and content.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, remember to be safe when celebrating. Drinking and driving is stupid, fireworks are unnecessary, fighting is pointless.