Category Archives: Birth Place

Dreams Do Come True

Going to start by saying dreams really do come true.

It has been a while since I posted here. In this post from January – Adventure Awaits – I set an intention for 2022, this year of my dreams. Here is what I wrote:

A little post to share some big plans for 2022. It is time to focus on my passion project – Pure Spaces Education. Launched a year ago, my goal this year is to begin the journey from passion project to purposeful career. For more on this please see my latest blog post on the Pure Spaces website – Anticipation. I hope to keep the Pure Spaces blog updated during the year as adventures planned and unplanned unfold. So there won’t be many posts here at this stage. However, I will still keep posting images that inspire me along the way on Instagram @dragonfly.travelling. So please do follow me there for a peek into my 2022 adventures. Adventure awaits and hope floats 💚

I am floored reading all this through again in the context of the last nine months! Let me bring you up to speed…..

The first few months of 2022 turned out incredibly stressful with all my best laid plans for adventuring back to my homeland faced some substantial obstacles. And unlike my usual behaviour I had no plan B. My resilience and sense of hope were certainly tested during this time. But I was following my Dreaming Practice. These dreams for the year and beyond were carefully written and safely stored in my Dream Tin…. And so I tried to keep the faith that I was on the right path.

I arrived back in South Africa at the start of May to an unexpectedly warm welcome from the immigration official that left me sobbing with gratitude and relief. I was welcome home.

Then I went to Durban to meet up with one of the most incredible humans I am honoured to call my friend – Carla Geyser. I am utterly grateful to the Universe for our paths crossing. So much of what has eventuated these past months as dreams come true is due to being part of Carla’s tribe.

We spent all of May on the Rise of the Matriarch expedition, what I am now calling my Magical Month of May. Lots of reflections on this magic on the Pure Spaces blog:

ROTM 2022 – Genuine Connection

ROTM 2022 – Nyalazi Magic

ROTM 2022 – Phinda & Pangolins

ROTM 2022 – Kosi Culture

ROTM 2022 – Tembe Time

ROTM 2022 – Bittersweet Pongola

ROTM 2022 – Bees, Trees & Ellies

ROTM 2022 – Lycaon pictus

ROTM 2022 – Grace of Education

ROTM 2022 – Tracks Less Travelled

ROTM 2022 – Magic Mapungubwe

ROTM 2022 – Limpopo Love

This phenomenal Journey with Purpose was followed by three months completing a wildlife conservation research internship based on Karongwe Private Game Reserve near my Hoedspruit Happy Place.

Much of my reflection about those months at the GVI Limpopo base goes around Coexistence. But there was more to it in the end. This is what I wrote in those last days of the internship in my family and friends update:

What a rollercoaster these past months have been. I was so ready going into this to keep my armour in place. To matter-of-factly get what I needed from this internship and experience. I knew I would struggle with the communal living. I knew I would struggle with constant noise and other people’s energy interfering with my equilibrium. This last bit landed up being even harder than I anticipated. But what I realise now sitting here and reflecting back on the past months is that this place broke me open in a way I have not been exposed, probably since childhood. The most real version of me made a very rare appearance in all its too-muchness, in all its weirdness. I have danced again, I have sung again. I have belly laughed and ugly cried. And, you know what? I am okay. Nobody rejected me, nobody hurt me in my vulnerability. In fact, quite the opposite. I have made soul connections here I certainly did not see coming. Because it seems this particular environment means true colours shine through and true humanity is based on kindness and compassion when we are most raw and most vulnerable. I have learned so much about myself, again. About further developing resilience at your most vulnerable. About genuine connection. A reminder that no matter how much along the path of personal growth and awareness you think you are, the journey is never done.

Not to mention all the absolutely mind-blowing wildlife encounters and pure wild space sojourns I was privileged to experience during this time in lovely Limpopo.

As if this year could not hold more adventure, I then got to spend September on two separate road trips with Anam Cara (soul friends).

The first with an unexpected kindred spirit…. One of those letting it happen moments. We both took a chance on sharing the road from north Kruger to KZN and it turned out to be exactly what each of us needed. Two old souls (and extreme birding nerds 😊) who have finally met in this life…. to be continued…

The second adventure was a long-expected reunion tour to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park fifteen years later….one of those making it happen moments. We had talked and planned this adventure so many times only to have some reason it could not work, even to the very last minute this time round. But we got there and it was magical and breath-taking in every way. We laughed and cried as we wandered down our memories. We laughed and cried as new memories were made. Our firm friendship established fifteen years ago, confirmed and strengthened by a return to where it all magically started.

Lots of highlights shared on Instagram for both these glorious September Wanderings.

My heart is full. My cup runneth over. All I have related in this post so far speak to Dream 2 – Wellness and Dream 3 – Belonging in my Dream Tin coming true.

I am writing this story in a reflection moment forced on me by those challenges that life throws your way from time to time. But I am grateful to have this time in a peaceful spot in my hometown surrounded by precious family. Remember that whole thing about the balance between making things happen and letting them happen?

And so to Dream 1 – Home. So much of the detail of this dream goes around what I wrote about in my Pure Spaces blog post – Anticipation.

“2022 is about starting the journey of progressing Pure Spaces from passion project to purposeful career. So no more day job for me. Throwing this Big Dream out to the universe.”

That purposeful career I was dreaming of is taking shape right here in Mzansi. From October I will be working for an organisation at the forefront of wildlife conservation in Africa. An organisation I have long admired and fan-girled over. I am beyond thrilled at this opportunity. It means I am directly contributing to the Conservation Collective I have been on the periphery of for so long. It means I get to resettle here in my homeland at the coalface of the boots-on-the-ground wildlife conservation work I have been so passionate about since childhood. It means I get to be close to my tribe of free spirits and Anam Cara so further adventuring can occur. It means my soul soars and my heart sings.

Dreams do come true.

But is it all rosy and easy, this dreaming lark? Most definitely not. There are some things you have to understand going into this practice. I wrote a bit about it in the first blog on Pure Spaces

“In the Okavango I learned about paradox. I learned about unconditional love. I learned that the sweet always comes with the bitter and vice versa. I learned that we cannot have it any other way or we would never grow. It is the Nature of existence.”

I wrote about it again in a recent Instagram post for Heritage Day –

Happy Heritage Day, Mzansi 🖤 Looking through recent pics to choose one for this post I catch my breath and tears well…. I have always felt a deep connection to this land where I was born. My incredibly privileged life’s journey has taken me many places around the world, but to have returned and reconnected with the pure wild spaces of my natural heritage these past months is a gift beyond expression…. the open roads that go ever on, the big skies, the light and colour that shift mood and magic each moment of the day, the unfathomable night sky, the hum of life everywhere you go, abundant birds, bugs and beasties – wild energy prickles all around, beautiful people with open hearts and generous spirits…. the bitterness of the struggle that is living here awakes your soul to the sweetness of what it means to be living in the spirit of Ubuntu…. my free spirit soars here like nowhere else 🖤

I think the Big Dreams we have come with a price. The price is letting go of all you think you can control. The price is vulnerability. The price is being willing to be broken open and your raw humanity exposed. The price is trust in a benevolent universe. All of these only Ego will see as a price. Your heart and soul will see it differently….. growth and connection and freedom…. So if you’re willing to risk it…. Dream 🖤

Heritage

I have been reflecting on Heritage a lot this month. Heritage can be defined as something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor, something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth or simply, tradition.

As yet another Covid-19 lockdown forces me and mine into this weird isolation and I think about how to fill my time, I have baked and cooked and begun traditional prep of Christmas a lot earlier than I normally would. This is me falling back on family heritage, tapping into inherited ritual and tradition to help me feel anchored at this time of ongoing uncertainty.

Granny Sybil’s famous Christmas Mince.

I have been teaching online for the past 6 weeks or so. When I think about the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and its affect on this generation I worry about what they’ve inherited. Is it okay to spend this much time “online” to learn, to work, to socialise? While I can see how under these current circumstances it is better to have the technology than not, I do wonder what the long term outcomes of this will be on the emotional wellbeing of this generation.

Probably the biggest regret I have is that I am part of a generation who has left future generations a weary and depleted planet. Not completely broken, I hope, but thinking about heritage in this way keeps me highly motivated to make a change for sustainability in whatever ways I can.

24 September is an annual celebration of South African heritage. As a South African I have been profoundly influenced by my country’s natural and cultural heritage, for good and growth.

In a hopeful step, short term and long term, I have begun preparations to return to South Africa in 2022. I am thrilled to be joining the Rise of the Matriarch Expedition – an all-female adventure across South Africa to raise awareness and funds for the plight of Mama Africa’s wildlife. The ROTM crew will engage with local communities especially children on the human-wildlife issue and distribute Wonderful Wildlife Booklets (that I developed content for). We will connect with anti-poaching groups, visit conservation groups and schools, and meet with incredible women who are doing remarkable things at a grassroots level to assist in conservation efforts.

Ecowarrior and founder of the Blue Sky Society Trust, Carla Geyser, is the expedition leader of the 2022 Rise of the Matriarch Expedition .

In 2016, she led South Africa’s first all-female conservation expedition from Southern Africa to Kenya. They drove 15 787km over 100 days through 10 countries to help stem the tide of poaching. The crew of 13 “she-roes” raised nearly R300 000 for various conservation projects, drew widespread continental attention to elephant poaching crisis, distributed 20 000 conservation educational booklets to children and provided support to 37 wildlife organisations along the way.

In September 2018 she headed out again and lead another all-female crew. This time  across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to raise awareness about the contentious human-wildlife conflict. Another very successful Rise of the Matriarch expedition.

I joined Carla on a Journey with Purpose expedition in 2019 for a boots-on-the-ground experience with Elephants Alive. I can’t wait to get back on the road with Carla in her Landy, Dora, next year. #LadyinaLandy

And so, I introduce Pelo Tales. – my Heart Art fundraiser for this expedition.

“Pelo” is heart in Setswana.

My art is an expression of the deeply creative connection I have to pure spaces, to beauty and most especially to Nature. Each painting represents a Heart Moment and so a little Pelo Tale to accompany it.

This is a series of canvases I painted during Covid-19 related lockdowns in 2020. Having to make do with what I had to hand and in the spirit of sustainability, each canvas has been recycled. Perfect in their imperfections and certainly one of a kind.

All the proceeds from the sale of my Heart Art goes towards the Rise of the Matriarch expeditions 2022. More details on the fundraising side of things coming soon.

In the meantime, I will be sharing some Pelo Tales here over the coming weeks in anticipation of wonderful adventures to come and in the spirit of sharing the heritage I am so inexpressibly grateful for 🖤

Wild October

Mid-October. I am a couple of weeks into my strange sabbatical. Lots of taking stock and reflection.

It seems someone decided it was wild-for-nature October too, which I appreciate. This was my #wildoctoberart contribution. The art prompt that inspired this sketch and colour was misunderstood 😀

So this wild heart has an #inktober story to share. The meaning behind the new ink on my arm and how Dragonfly Travelling come to be…

I was probably about 14 or 15 years old. It was one of our family wanderings around South Africa. This time into the Drakensberg Mountains and a place called Injisuthi.

There are no words that really capture the grandeur of this place. It is truly wild and the magic of Mama Africa sparkles across the fast flowing streams and flits through the dells and gullys, then soars up and over the grass covered hills, along the cliffs and into the caves. Here the evidence of early human wanderers lingers.

Dad and I intended to try a 4 to 5 hour hike up into the mountains. A couple of hours in we lost the trail completely. Even retracing our steps didn’t work and we were soon well and truly lost. As the afternoon drew in so did the black storm clouds. We could see the river in the valley below that we would have to get down to and cross to find the road that would take us back to camp. Contouring along the ridges trying to find a path down to the river proved challenging as most the dells were thick with thorny brambles. We pushed through and eventually came to a shallow enough spot to cross the river. As we were crossing the heavens opened and the storm broke over us, thunder and lightning lending even more drama to our predicament. I had removed my hiking boots to cross barefoot. Once across I sat on a large flat granite rock to put my boots back on. The boots were new and had given me blisters. I was so tired by this point and pretty wobbly from feeling the concern of being lost in the mountains. We had been away from camp 6 or 7 hours by now and I knew my Mom would be worrying. So I sat on the rock trying to put those boots back on my broken feet. The rain stopped in those few minutes and the sun shone through a small break in the cloud. It shone down on my rock and in that moment two crimson dragonflies alighted onto the rock beside me. They weren’t there more than a few seconds and they were gone, the sun disappeared and the rain came back. We hiked to the road as the storm continued and a passing vehicle offered us a ride back to camp. We accepted gratefully, returning 8 hours after our departure to the relief of everyone.

That moment on the rock with those two dragonflies has left an indelible imprint on my soul. It has taken me years to find ways to express and articulate its significance. The fact I was with my Dad. The fact it was a challenging situation. The fact that it was in those magical mountains of my homeland. The fact it was dragonflies. So much symbolism…. I am an Enneagram Type 4 and we love us some symbolism 😀

It might seem strange to say but the dragonfly moment has become the expression of my sense of place in this world – my deep connection with Nature, with my family, with my roots, with my purpose. It turns out there is an African proverb that expresses this idea too. Ubuntu – I am because we are. For me we includes all of Nature. This has been grounding, particularly in the past couple of years as I have moved towards living my purpose.

And so I began to articulate the significance of this moment. It started with an email address, then a simple tattoo on my wrist. Now in the completed ink story on my wrist including all the colour possible with the African daisies! And this blog…. which still freaks me out every time I am compelled to post! Like I say in my little bio – an act of vulnerability for this wandering introvert. But as a lovely kindred spirit of mine says “growth through discomfort”.

Do you have a significant moment with Nature you can draw on? A moment that grounds you in who you are in the grand scheme of things and how you want to live on this Earth? What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children and their children?

As the incomparable Sir David Attenborough says in his latest doco (a must watch!), we need “to move from being apart from nature to become a part of nature once again”.

I encourage you to find your Nature moment 🖤

Wanderings Day 30

We have arrived at the last day of this challenge to self – wander travel memory lane all through April 2020. A way of travelling virtually while in my lockdown bubble. Dreams of travelling again when this too has passed. An exercise in gratitude for all I have been given in this life already.

Going to finish with Kruger memories part two.

No more stories…. Just some Johnny Clegg wisdom… from the Johnny Clegg & Savuka song Great Heart

There’s a highway of stars across the heavens
There’s a whispering song of the wind in the grass
There’s the rolling thunder across the savanna
A hope and dream at the edge of the sky
And your life is a story like the wind
Your life is a story like the wind
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart
To hold and stand me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart
Under African sky

Guka ‘mzimba (body grow old)

Sala ‘nhliziyo (but heart remain behind)

Wanderings Day 29

Only two more posts to go for this virtual wander down my travel memory lane.

Two days of Kruger National Park memories… this is part one.

I was just looking down the list of rest camps in Kruger. It turns out over the many adventures there since childhood I have stayed at all but two.

My favourite area to wander would be from Satara northwards.

Pafuri is particularly magical with all those fever trees and glimpses of nyala in the shadows by the Luvuvhu River. That brings to mind the Nyala Walking Trail – sublime!

Actually any of Kruger’s walking trails are a fabulous experience. Lucky enough to have walked a few of these over the years too.

Kruger visits were so formative for me. I learned so much about ecology and how ecosystems work simply from soaking up all the info I could get my hands on. Here is where I fell in love with birds and took up birding under my wonderful Dad’s guidance.

Kruger has a distinct spirit of place. The air crackles with its magic as you arrive at the gate (any of the gates). I thought this might change over the years, grow dim somehow as I aged. But no. I got to visit again last year briefly and the magic is still there.

Now I probably need to say at this point that I am fully aware of Kruger’s history. Not all decisions made in regard to its management both for wildlife and for the surrounding communities have been sound or just over the years.

All I want to focus on right at this moment in time is the gratitude I feel for having had so many opportunities to pass through Kruger’s gates and get swallowed up in that bushveld magic.