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).

Low tide

We were looking for a beach today. We found a creek at low tide which was so great it reminded me of Kenya.

The sand was soft and golden, the water was cool and the sun baked us warm from above.

Fish were exposed in the shallow water. We tried to catch them in a net and we were joined by a couple of dogs on their walk. It was a dog paradise.

South Africa lacks the tropical humidity and heat of Kenya, but today was close. Low tide was calm, hot and water flowed in as the tide changed.

Life slowed down for a while which is always good.

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.

Birthdays and surprises

I am a fan of surprises. My wife has booked us a trip away for my birthday tomorrow and I have no idea where we are going, but it’s in a plane so it ain’t close!

Some people hate surprises and moan about birthdays….I like em both.

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.