20 Questions with Mzanzi Girl
- How do you make an income while you are traveling? I try to have multiple income sources – freelance writing, blogging, social media consulting, and influencer marketing campaigns with travel and lifestyle brands.
- What do you do to stay healthy when you travel? This is not easy for me! I try to eat healthy when I can but it’s not always easy when you’re travelling. I also try and do outdoor activities like hiking. When I’m home I enjoy sweating in a spin class at my gym.
- How can you learn about a culture and meet locals without speaking their language? You need to get out of your comfort zone and connect with people. I Try and learn a few words of the local language, read up on the history and culture and visit local museums. A good local guide can really help you get a nuanced understanding of a place. Walking tours are my favorite way to explore a city. I also like learning about local music.
- How do you calculate the money you can spend daily during your trip? My strength isn’t budgeting, but keeping receipts helps and making a tally of expenses at the end of the day. There are also apps you can use.
- How do you get around staying in a country longer than a tourist visa allows? I wouldn’t recommend this unless you can get a visa extension. Don’t overstay your visa! Another option is to do a border run – visit a neighboring country for a little while and try to enter on a new visa – this doesn’t always work though – border authorities are getting pretty smart!
- What songs/type of music do you listen to whilst traveling or that which inspires you to travel? My music taste is eclectic to say the least. I listen to a range of music from rock, hip hop, jazz & world music to reggae, funk, soul, indie and electronic music. When I travel I try to listen to local music – especially local classics. It helps to get music recommendations from locals or just turn on the local radio station.
- After all your years of travel, what still scares you on the road? I think I’m most scared of bugs and tropical diseases! I would hate to get malaria or some other strange parasite.
- As our Mzansi girl, where exactly in Mzansi is your favourite place and why? I’m so lucky to live in the most beautiful country! I travel Mzansi a lot, but still get surprised every day. I have a soft spot for the off the beaten track destinations like the Eastern Cape. I love the rugged landscapes of the Wild Coasts, its rich culture and wild beaches.
- What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to live the travelling lifestyle? My bank account! I still don’t earn as well as I did when I worked in a traditional job, but my lifestyle is super fun!
- What are the first few things you always do when arriving in a new place? I try to learn a few words of the local language – just the basics like hello, thank you, and how much. I buy a local SIM card to keep connected.
- What is the most valuable or profound lesson you’ve learned on the road? Trust your instincts. Travel is the best teacher!
- What advice do you have for people who want to travel but feel financially stuck? Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t recommend travelling on debt, but you can definitely travel on a small budget. Try to cut down on other discretionary spend in order to save to travel. It might mean driving a smaller car, not upgrading to the latest phone, flat-sharing, eating out less, or only shopping for essentials. You’d be surprised how much you can save if you prioritize travel. Taking local weekend trips or visiting neighboring countries are a great way to travel on a budget.
- What is your favorite thing about traveling? Meeting people! And discovering new foods!
- What culture did you find the most interesting? This is a difficult one. I think that all cultures have interesting aspects, however I’m particularly drawn to cultures as that have a connection to nature and spirituality.
- In all your travels what’s the one memory that stands out for you and why? Sjoe, this is super difficult but I guess it would have to be my first independent travel solo trip. It was in Malawi and I paddled out from the shore of Lake Malawi a few hundred meters on a lilo with 2 friends. It was beautiful watching the sunset from the middle of the lake, mountains on one side, beach on the other. I felt so happy and free!
- Random question, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Pistachio
- Do you have any pets? No. I used to have dogs but I gave them up to my ex as my lifestyle didn’t allow for it.
- Do you ever feel home sick because of your travelling around Mzansi? The first time I got home sick was on my first long trip overseas which was to Australia. I spent 6 months on that trip which is the longest I’d been away from home. I realized then that I was homesick for Mzansi. I’ve never felt homesick on my Mzansi travels, South Africa is home and I’m never on a local trip for more than a few weeks.
- Whiles you were travelling, what cultural food did you enjoy the most that you discovered? I loved the food in Italy. Food is different in each region, not too complicated with only the freshest local ingredients used. Good cheese, olive oil and cured meats, yum! My ex was Italian to we spent a lot of time with his friends and family having home cooked meals, which were all exceptional!
- If you weren’t Mzansi girl who travels, what would you be doing right now? I’d work in another part of the tourism industry – either in tourism marketing and strategy or tourism policy and development (this is the area I worked in previously).
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