Weylandts Furniture and Decor Store invited me to answer some questions about The Incidental Tourist in their Tastemakers Journal, about my travels, childhood memories, favourite places and things I never travel without. Also what I long for most when I’m gone. Read the full interview below. Such an honour as they truly are the most incredible store, an icon of classic style with a dream collection for any home.
What is your first memory travelling abroad?
I was just 18 years old and on an American Field Scholarship student exchange program, leaving my hometown Welkom in the Free State for the first time, to live in Jerusalem Israel for a year. I could not have been less prepared for the adventure that awaited me.
How often do you travel?
At the moment I’m travelling an average of 10 or more days each month.
Share a morning ritual that you believe contributes to a good start to a day’s traveling.
My mornings are precious at home and when away. I sleep till my schedule allows, make tea in the room, open windows and take in the views while laying out the things I will need for the day i.e. cameras, lenses, battery charger, phone, scarfs, GoPro; then a shower and dress. I’m pretty organised. I hardly ever go to breakfast, preferring to eat fruit in my room and have that extra time alone with my thoughts, before the day starts.
What are the challenges you face when travelling?
I seem to be most at home when travelling and discovering new places. The worst and most challenging part is that I really miss my dogs Tuscan and Sienna Storm and don’t work enough while mobile. Which means that work piles up.
Share 5 travel essentials you simply cannot travel without?
Always I take my MacBook, phone and cameras; lots of scarfs; a big floppy hat and very comprehensive first aid kit. Also a copy of my Passport kept with a separate credit card, just in case.
Which countries inspire you?
I find inspiration wherever that I travel but must mention Benin, Madagascar, Rwanda, Mauritius and Thailand where I found a change happened within.
Which destination should be on everyone’s bucket list?
Kenya for a Masai Mara Safari, the colours and density of game on the plains is magical.
What personality traits do you think contribute greatly to successful travelling?
It helps to have an open mind and willingness to learn from new experiences, a love for people and their cultures, no fear of the unknown and the longing to be regularly humbled. But most important of all is gratitude.
Who would you choose as a travelling partner in an ideal world?
Mostly I like to travel alone as if affords me the opportunity to talk to strangers, be introspective in the moments of discovery and be free to choose my daily path. That said I love a guide. Also, my friend Linda Markovina of Moving Sushi and I have shared many travel adventures from gorilla trekking in Uganda to walking 125km to raise awareness for the African Penguins. I’d always choose her.
Which country would you revisit in a heartbeat?
Every single one of them, as each travel experience has rewarded yet left me wanting for more. But if a ticket were offered, I’d go to Madagascar.
Nominate a travel experience everyone should try, at least once.
Eating gelato on the cobbled square that offers a perfect view of the Duomo in Florence.
What are your 5 favourite Weylandts products?
Everything about Weylandts is a stylish dream I could easily step into, favourites being the Iverson Sideboard from recycled timber for keeping all my photos and collectables safe. The Sack Sofa to snuggle up on whilst home and happy. The Mandela Dining Table, but not to eat at, rather to dream and write at it. I love the Zanskar trousers for travelling in and the Husky Scatter Cushions would bring a real visual touch to my home. Besides, I adore dogs.
What are you reading at the moment? What books have you read while travelling?
At the moment I am reading the latest Delayed Gratitude mag and a Somali based novel called Secrets. I’m a huge fan of autobiographies relevant to the destinations I visit, old American classics, African tales and Charles Bukoswki. But whilst travelling I don’t read much, I write to relive and protect the memories and details of my day.
A first-time traveller touches down in your favourite international city. What should he/she fit into 48 hours?
Cities inspire and fascinate me with their intricate lives of their own. I’m just back from Bangkok and would definitely say a guided cycle tour with Spice Roads through the city and Bang Kra Gao green zone. The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple as well as the Temple of Dawn, which would allow you to cross the Chao Phraya River.
I highly recommend a day trip to Ayutthaya to see the ruins of the first capital of Thailand and the Kings Summer Palace. Take a long boat trip down the river and if you’re lucky, be blessed by a monk.
Try a traditional Thai drink – a double shot of coffee, sweetened with a shot of condensed milk, over a glass of ice with frothed foam to top it off. It’s delicious. Also, you have to indulge in some shopping at the MBK shopping complex.