Over the last few years, I’ve been curiously exploring all things wellness and wellbeing related. A fascinating journey which is introducing me to teachers and traditional healers from around the world. Trialling holistic therapies from aromatherapy to sound, acupuncture to shamanism, astrology to, well, you got it. Fascinating indeed, terrifying at times. Better connecting to myself as a person in the world.
How does this link to Journeys By Design? After spending a number of years in Africa, via schooling in South Africa, and via work, selling luxury safaris, I came to realise how important the African continent has been in bringing me back into balance throughout my life. Offering a place to retreat for reconnection and grounding experiences.
Throughout my research over the last three years, I’ve kept coming back to the question: why don’t people promote this side of Africa more? Wellness retreats as a form of travel are rapidly on the increase. The wellness tourism industry is now worth $563 million. And yet Africa rarely features on the wellness travel map. To me, it seems like the obvious place for a retreat. When we talk about connecting, where better place to connect to our ancestral roots than where we, homo sapiens, took our first steps.
Last weekend I returned to African soil for the first time in 3 years. The first evening a waiter welcomed me with, ‘you’re welcome to Africa’. A huge smile surfaced, my expression so marked that when he returned a few minutes later he said it again. That time it brought tears to my eyes. Wow, I mean really? How does a continent do that! I felt plugged in and on recharge.
The focus of the trip was a yoga and surfing retreat, to open my body and mind, and to have fun in the waves. I set the intention, it happened. Effortlessly connecting with locals and exploring on my own. Sharing creative ideas with an artist on the beach, playing card games, enjoying a ‘takeaway tagine’ and learning to drum Berber-style. Connecting through creativity and play; it transcends language, wealth, religion, race, gender and age. I’ve come home having reaffirmed my belief that we as individuals have the power to make a difference, that social media gives us all a platform to connect and spread messages globally.
And yet, it’s important that we spread our messages with hope, and from a place of authenticity. For me, finding that authenticity started with taking responsibility for my own wellbeing, getting back into balance. I’ve noticed that when I’m in balance, I’m able to connect with my authentic voice and once again have clarity in my life goals. Africa has that effect on me. It gives me the space and time to realign and reconnect. Do go: I highly recommend it.