An ode to combis

My sister left a car for me in Australia. A classic VW combi van with sliding doors and acres of space. It was very cool. But very old.

She had travelled across the top of Australia in a bigger 4×4, hit a big kangaroo, and traded the wreck in for the combi. The first time i drove it the accelerator pedal fell off in the middle of freeway traffic. I was starting my undergraduate degree at the university of Western Australia, trying to find the place on busy roads in Perth.

I was able to drive it for a few glorious weeks. Combis have so much space you can pile a lot of students in. There’s nothing quite like driving one to the beach for a surf. It made me a few friends and helped to ease me into University life. But then the registration ran out on the car, and it was so old, they wouldn’t renew the road worthy certificate without a load of work done on the car. It made sense to buy another car instead. A boring old Mitsubishi with less space, and an accelerator pedal which worked.

At the tail end of 2019 I find myself wanting to buy another combi. A wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and sometimes the goldfish come with me everywhere i go. Soon they will all have friends (except maybe the goldfish).

Valentines day post

Or as my daughter puts it: “Ballet-tines day” – she wants to wear a leotard and tutu all day in honor of this special occasion. I’m sticking with my shirt and pants combo.

Valentines day is supposed to be romantic.

So is travel to a far away land. More so, when you travel to be with the person you love. Alas, it is not all sunsets and roses.

Tune in to the podcast tomorrow to see how Rachel has managed a massive move from Africa to Scandinavia.

Romanticising travel

By all accounts, my next guest on the podcast was smart about her move abroad – Even though she did it in part for love!

It is tempting to romanticise travel. The grass is always greener on the other side of the Pacific – so the saying goes.

Here’s the thing – travel and moving your life is TOUGH. The simple reality is that when you move, you necessarily are uncomfortable. The fact that you are no longer in a place of comfort hits you from all sides as soon as you touch down. Romanticising a move, and lying to yourself about why you are traveling only makes this worse. So what to do about it?

It helps to be as specific as possible about the reasons for your move. It helps to define this explicitly before you travel. This creates alignment.

If you don’t pay attention to your reasons and to your own desires for travel, you might fool yourself and end up not being true to yourself. This can bend your life in all sorts of ways.

Sounds dramatic – but Rachel got this right. In my opinion, She’s in Denmark for the long haul and for the right reasons.

Tune in to the podcast (now on iTunes and Spotify) this Friday to hear her Romantic story.

Denmark

I have never been to Denmark, but I have spoken to someone who moved there from sunny South Africa. The subject of Friday’s podcast is now freezing in Copenhagen, while we are sweltering in the Cape.

I went to Norway and Sweden once on a trip that culminated in a wedding near the arctic circle. Scandinavia is beautiful (in the summer) and I was curious on Rachel’s take after living through a couple of their winters.

Catch the chimpwithcans podcast on Friday to hear about Rachel’s story.

Moving is harder and more interesting than you think.

Bothy bagging

In the wilderness of Scotland are cabins free to use. Called bothies, the remote shelters are often abandoned old shepherd huts now maintained for hikers.

My next guest was so inspired by his “bothy-bagging” during his stay in Scotland, he decided to make his own version when he returned back home to South Africa.

It changed his life, and it’s a great story.

Tune in to the podcast on Friday to hear more.

Sun

After a rainy couple of days in the mountains we are on the beach.

The thick bush reminds me of the Kenyan coastline.

We have had scores of whales hanging around for the last few days.

Spouts of water rising up in the air and lazy gigantic tails flopping down onto the surface of the sea.

It’s absolutely beautiful.

Holiday

It’s nice to get away from real life every now and then.

We’re off to KZN to hit the beach, hike and generally stay away from computers as much as possible.

I’ll try and blog from the hotel but I can’t promise anything.😀

Be more Scandinavian

I recently went on a three week holiday to Scandinavia – Norway and Sweden to be precise. It was pretty incredible. Coming from South Africa – a place struggling with its economy, identity and environment – Norway and Sweden felt like a glimpse into the future.

The nature was pristine. I saw mountains, fjords, forests and moose. I went salmon and trout fishing in rivers that were so clean I could bend down and drink, straight from the flow of water at my feet if I got thirsty in between a cast of the line. The cities were incredibly well organised with museums, public transport and cycling lanes. There was also construction all around and there were Teslas everywhere with charging stations lining the streets. Recycling of rubbish is a given.

Patriotism and a sense of community was evident all around. People fly flags and live with no fences or security worries. The state is clearly rich and so are its people. Everybody (and I mean EVERYbody) spoke perfect English.

It was an inspiring trip. Now that I have recovered from the flight back with my pregnant wife and my 2 year old, I am on a mission to be more Scandinavian – to me this means more focus and simplicity, more organisation, more environmentally aware, more disciplined and secure in everything I am doing. That’s the idea anyways. So far it has translated into one blog post at 630am with a cup of tea for company.

But it’s a start, and anyways neither Stockholm, nor Oslo were built in a day.

Be more Scandinavian.

Long trip musing

A few things stand out in my mind after doing a long distance trip with multiple flights:

  • Almost without fail, airline customer service is terrible and often downright offensive. How did a whole industry stuff that up so badly?
  • Traveling with a 1 year old is infinitely harder than traveling without a 1 year old.
  • My stomach always thanks me when I get home. Travel food is artificial and/or full of caffeine and sugar.
  • It’s so very good to be home, 1 year old asleep, showered, fed, in bed. You need to travel to appreciate what you have at  home.

Back home

I’ll be heading home with the cub and mumma tomorrow after beautiful holidays in Europe. Home means many things but now it also means execution of my long term plan. I am excited and nervous. Excited because I know what I want to do after so many years not really knowing. Nervous because of all the inertia I have to overcome to execute my plan. It’s a change of direction and that impacts my whole family, not just me.

Regardless, I am determined and there is so much to do to become CFA qualified. Imagine a world where there was nothing left to do? Bring it on.

Now to get me started, a sleep and then I’m up for a 24 hour journey with a 1 year old. 

Fun times!!