Travel

5 Ways to cope with travel anxiety

Planes booked. Hotels booked. Sightseeing list prepared. Cash passport read! Everything is ready and you just cannot shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen? I get that feeling too almost every time I have long trips. Sometimes you even find yourself creating Final Destinations scenes on the many things that could go wrong and eventually leading to your death. I do that too!

During most of my travels I was fortunate enough to have my partner help with a lot of my travel anxiety such as checking delays, tracking where I am to make sure I don’t miss my connecting flights, local transport and all. I do however think that if you will be traveling alone, it can be so stressful to even get on that ride to the airport especially when you think you are carrying something that might be confiscated at customs like wine bottles (which it usually is not a problem).

If you are planning a trip soon anywhere within the country- a girls’ getaway to a resort or a “baecation” or maybe you are brave enough for a solocation, here are a few things I have tried to keep me feeling calm and like I have everything under control:

  • Find your calm technique: I knew watching a lot of movies was gonna help me somehow one day. I learned my breathing technique from Ninja Assassin (which reminds me, I need to watch it again tonight), on breathing from the low point of your stomach. That way, you get to take deep breaths and it works for me whenever I am feeling like everything is getting too wild for me to control.
  • Know your pulse: Just like fitness, when I need to practice the first technique and I know I am way deep in within anxiety, I check my pulse and start doing my breathing exercise. Sometimes travel anxiety is not cause by a fear of flying, it is caused by being too excited because you are so overwhelmed that finally you are going somewhere and you don’t know what to expect but it is a good thing because you have been dying to leave.
  • Never panic: Panicking will NEVER solve any issue, it just escalates the situation from bad to worse. There have been a few time I nearly missed my flights and throughout, I tried with so much difficulty to stay calm and when I made it, I realised that if I panicked, everything would have just been a sh*t storm. Just don’t over think things.
  • Healthy eating: Always make sure that you are hydrated and not eating junk food that might even cause bloating. Temporarily stay away from the sweet stuff because they can be very bad for you.
  • Keep to your fitness routine: If you are a yogi, dedicate some of your time during your vacation doing anything and everything that has to do with fitness at least for 30 minutes a day- even if it is just walking. I made the mistake of not committing to any sort of fitness movements and it was a bad idea- not only did I become lazy, I lost track of time doing nothing and felt tired 80% of the time.

I hope that these 5 easy tips help with your anxiety or any type of stress you might be going through over your next trip. Everyone has their own techniques from categorizing the items they need or luxury to help with packing, meditation and other methods. We all function differently and what works for one person might not work for the other.

Please share your techniques and hopefully I might learn a thing or two.

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Travel

!kwa ttu: A day in San culture.

The San, the first people in South Africa

The earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were the San people. The San were also known as ‘Bushmen’, a term used by the European Colonists that is now considered derogatory. The San populated South Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

Source: South African History Online

It is always exciting to use a travel opportunity to learn about cultures and tribes in your country and this past weekend that is what I did. My friend and travel buddy Bee from Bee Du Jour invited me on a day tour at the !kwa ttu education center in the west coast. !kwa ttu famously written as Khwa ttu, is an organisation that offers education and training for San people to deal with tourism and hot to showcase San culture to the world.

At first I was a little reluctant to go because I thought the heat was going to make it very difficult to do anything and plus I have nothing that interests me there, little did I know that it was going to be so worth it! Bee picked me up at my place and we drove about an hour out of Cape Town to what seemed like “the middle of nowhere”. When we arrived, there’s a certain cool breeze that is blown from the beach onto the hot plain land and there it was, !kwa ttu.

What you will need:

  • You are only required to pay a fee of R50 and little bit extra which can be found on their site for all the extra special tours.
  • A hat if it is hot like the day we went, the sun was at 30d/c, plus some sunscreen. They offer you water.
  • A camera because you will learn a lot and you definitely want to capture the moment to probably show your kids one day about the cultures of South Africa.
  • Comfortable shoes and clothing. In this case, shorts and a t-shit plus sunglasses will do. Luckily, ThisGuysZA gifted me with a pair.
  • An open mind and excitement to learn.

What I learned:

  • There is a difference between the San and the Khoi. The San are hunter-gatherers while the Khoi are more like farmers.
  • When a girl comes out of age (start her period), she is taken to a hut to stay with the elder women and for seven days, they will be teaching her how to be a woman. She then returns to her people and she will find a hut already made for her by her father.
  • Courting is something interesting: a boy will have a “love bow” which when he finds a girl he likes, he will follow her and her friends to a river or field and he will hide and try to shoot the bow on the bum of a girl he likes. She will then pick up the bow and ask him if it is his. He will then try to apologise and if she gives back the bow, she is not interested, but if she keeps it close to her heart then it is all systems go and their parents will start planning for their wedding.
  • A San village has huts facing the middle where there must be a bonfire all day everyday all year round. The reason for this is to keep them warm during the winter and to ward wild animals off especially lions because they hate the smell of fire. The huts are placed that way so they can be able to spot danger from all corners, it is a community effort.

We ended the day with a drive to Yzerfontein beach. Please watch video below and enjoy:

Africa, Travel

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Imagine going on an amazing holiday only to find out that the airline providing the a connecting flight sold you dreams and then find yourself stuck in the middle of home and nowhere. On Monday I left Europe with the hopes that I will be home in time for a one man brunch and my bed. Instead I found myself with others stuck in Zambia courtesy of Kenya Airways (the story will be told another time).

Sometimes getting lost can lead to unexpected adventures. 

I met a group of people who were coming back from different corners of the world and we decided to use the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls.

Flowing from the Zambezi River over a cliff and into the Boiling Pot before flowing through a series of gorges is Victoria Falls, located in the western area of Zimbabwe. This is where you will find the Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool, is on the edge of a sheer drop. Spanning the river is 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is home to white rhinos and elephants.

Myself and other companions entered Victoria Falls from the Livingstone side in Zambia where you can see a quarter of the waterfall and even though it is not everything, it is worth visiting!

What you will need:

  • We had to find transport which picked us up from the hotel and drop off back and also entrance fee fee into the park which totaled to 280 Zambian Kwacha.
  • Due to the intensity of the waterfall, the water hits the ground and there’s mist and little showers by the waterfalls, you will need a raincoat.
  • Because the ground is wet, make sure you were good shoes because it gets slippery.
  • For those scared of heights, you will need to cross a bridge that is high up to get to a different side to see more of the falls.
  • Take your time and just breathe in the freshness of the waters and surrounding.
  • There are monkeys everywhere, get your camera out.
  • Make sure you have cash, it is easier than finding a card machine.

What you need to know:

  • Zambia is hot! People who are like me, buckle up because you are going to be sweating your tits off.
  • Visit the falls super early when there are less people around then you get to really enjoy it. They open at 6am and close at 6pm.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Zambia is great because even the gravel roads have names, something you don’t see in South Africa.
  • There are lots of lodges, it should be easy to find accommodation close to the airport.
  • Livingstone is 5km away from the Zimbabwe boarder and 200km from the Namibia boarder.
  • It is not expensive but the Kwacha is stronger than both the Rand and Dollar.
  • Zambians are beautiful people- I mean of course, you are in Africa anyway!
  • You will most likely fly with Kenya Airways, prepare yourself.
  • I had beer from there and it was really good for someone who does not enjoy beer, I think you will love this one.
  • 52% of Zambians speak Bemba and some words are similar to those in other South African languages (e.g: There is a street called ‘Mosi-oa-tunya’ translated to “the smoke that thunders” which happens to be another name for Victoria Falls.

I would like to thank the people I was with who put the idea to visit the falls in action. I never thought I would one day visit Zambia- even though it was not planned, I loved it.

Travel

The cash passport.

You have booked your flight. Got your visa. Bags packed. Now what?

At this stage you are probably thinking of calling your bank to notify them of “irregularities” that will be taking place in your account because you will be swiping your life away and living your best life. Well, not exactly! In most cases, banks block your card if they see unusual activity on your account even if you notify them prior to your travel. Great banks will even inform you of what to do in order to avoid that but hey.

A cash passport is a method of banking almost anywhere around the world without using your official bank card but rather transferring your monies from your bank account to a temporary card which can be used anywhere in the world. You have access to a maximum of 4 currencies on your card which are transferable as you travel and as you shop- NICE RIGHT!

I am with FNB and they somehow offer the quickest process for the cash passport, however, I could not apply for mine in time. Did you know FNB charges you R70 a transaction outside the country? That is a lot of money! That is a cheap burger and drink.

travelex-group-lineimages

You are required to have a minimum of $100 which is about R1,500 to start using your card. You can also reload it anytime you want, online. This card is valid for 5 years and the currencies can be changed every time you travel so which means you don’t have to apply for another in order to have a different currency loaded.

Service providers to apply for your cash passport:

  • FNB
  • Standard Bank
  • Western Union
  • Educonnect
  • Travelex
  • ABSA

Ever used a cash passport card before? How did it go? How were the charges?

You may ask how this is different to any credit card like American Express-

Please comment with your thoughts in the comment section.

Beauty and Travel

Hair and make-up tips while traveling

In less than a 24 hours, I will be traveling from Cape Town to the Europe for the holidays and I am pretty much excited about it because instead of just visiting the Netherlands, my babe and I will be doing a couple of trips cross country vibes. Plane tickets booked, accommodation booked, dinners booked and we are well ready for it all.

One thing that always graze me off though is looking beautiful without wasting time when getting ready and also being ready for anything that might happen during the course of a day touring places and meeting friends for dinner. My first concern is always my hair! I would rather not have to deal with my fro during the festive season, I honestly do not have time to be brushing and detangling.

Keeping the skin clear and clean while looking amazing is essential and here are a few tips on how to not burden yourself with all that and still feel great:

For hair:

  • Be versatile about your hair. It’s always great to get it box braided and you just switch up the look every time. Or have simple but funky cornrows which can be covered with a wig to make your look even more interesting.
  • Get a beret or a hat that can help with looking different everyday.
  • Always carry an essential oil for your scalp to help with any climate changes but keep it at a 100ml.
  • If it is cold, it is always best to wear a wig so not to stress out your hair.
  • Visit a local salon for a nice braid wash if possible to keep the scalp clean. I have realised it is difficult washing braids than anything else.

 

For skin:

  • Exfoliate!!
  • Drink water.
  • Stay away from make-up when flying. It is not good for you. Like, who the hell are you trying to look good for? the flight attendants?!!
  • Always have some wet wipes with you to wipe your face during transfers or every 5 hours to help your skin breathe especially during long flights.
  • Drink more water. This is very important.
  • Apply a night cream oil to help getting rid of bags or signs of tiredness.

For nails: 

  • Always have your hands dry (obviously)
  • Moisturise
  • Keep a hygienic habit when it comes to hands and face
  • It helps carrying a hand sanitiser
  • Trim your nails all the time. This helps with breaking and polish chirping
  • Base coat is important to protect your nails from nail polish stain. You can also add a layer of base after every coat for lasting shine and protection.
  • Give your nails a break. The way you give your face a break from make up. Let your nails breathe for a moment. So a week before you travel, just have clear, clean nails before bedazzling them.

I guess the point here is that, try keep your hair and skin routine as natural as possible. Only apply make-up when you know you won’t be sleeping on the road- overnight to help your skin breathe and get used to new climates. Your hair should not be a priority but taking care of it is important- which means, keep it minimal while giving it what it needs.

I hope this helps. What do you do to keep your skin and hair clean during the holidays?

Beauty and Travel

Cape Town Mobile Massages Experience

Can you believe that I just had my first ever massage experience thanks to Cape Town Mobile Massages . I have been privileged enough to have been contacted by them to partner on the things to do before and after the holidays to prepare your body for the festive activities and to calm your body after the festive season and this is all about the massages.

Cape Town Mobile Massages offers both Swedish and Sensual massages to its clients and they each cost R300 person. What is great about them you may ask. What makes them different to all the other spas? THEY DO HOUSE CALLS! The only thing you have to pay for is the service. Swedish and sensual massages differ in that Swedish massages are more intense and focus on muscle relief from tension rather than the touch (best way I could describe it) and the other focuses on the soft touches to relieve stress and to get your body into a relaxation state.

The reason why I was excited to get a massage before the holidays is because in my family, the holidays mean we will be doing a lot of traveling, cooking, cleaning and hosting different family members from all walks of like- this means I will be making tea every 2 hours everyday. I have to then get my body prepared for all the work, get it calm and relaxed with no muscle tension otherwise I will be having a tough time.

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There after upon my return, I will need a massage to get my blood flowing and preparing mind and body for what will be the busiest year of my life with my business launching and going strong, being a full time employee, traveling and writing about all this, I am going to need all the massages Cape Town Mobile Massages has to offer!

The benefits of massages:

  • Reduce Stress
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Reduces pain either from working out, bad sitting habits, etc
  • Eliminate toxins
  • Improves sleep because your body is relaxed
  • Enhances immunity
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Alleviates depression and anxiety
  • Reduces post-injury swelling for all the clumsy hikers like myself.

There are however so many things you can do by yourself that will not need money to cleanse your body and get it to relax such as 10 min yoga poses which you can get off YouTube or asking your little sibling to walk on your back softly to release tension from your back muscles- I know 2018 has been tough for almost all of us! Treat yourself to a massage and check out Cape Town Mobile Massages so they come to you- you can do a girls date day and just call up your friends, have some wine and ask the CPMM to come to you.

I would like to thank Sean from CPMM for his professionalism and constantly asking me if I was comfortable considering it was my first massage.

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Travel

Applying for a Schengen Visa- for South Africans

First rule of wanting to travel and not knowing how to start: NEVER feel embarrassed, shamed or sorry about things you don’t know. Traveling is about discovering things and you learn as you go. Countries are different, travel reasons are different and so documents needed for your Visa application are always different.

The only Visa I have done so far is a Schengen Visa under the friends and family visit category which I have no idea what number or visa type is formally know as in code. As long as you know what you are going to do wherever you are going, then you are on the right track! Before I discovered Visas and all this, I used to think a Visa looks like a card, like the kind of card we have now as a form of new card ID system. I would always wonder “Where do they stamp on the visa anyway?”. It never made sense but eventually you start the process and understand how it goes. So, take your time- it will feel overwhelming but it’s okay, just follow the rules and you will be fine. It will be over soon.

Schengen refers to the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. It’s the largest free travel area in the world.

A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

Visa terms

It is nice right! Just remember that, if you are planning to stay more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa which has its own code and name. There is a third party institution that assists people with visa applications. Then there are people who assist other people in getting docs to apply for instance, people who don’t have time to search what needs to be submitted. So someone will do all that for you and tell you what you need to have. They schedule and appointment on your behalf and tell you when you need to go there and time. I however choose to do it by myself because there is no money for that and I do it through VFS Global South Africa

 

They take care of all the process and you pay them and they take care of everything. Remember you always need to schedule an appointment (you don’t just rock up) Schedule here and track your application online Track visa application. I am about to go for my Schengen Visa to visit my boyfriend in Europe and these are the documents I had to get:

  • Copy of ID
  • Passport (they will take this for your application so don’t freak out).
  • An invitation letter which the person you are visiting must fill up and get it stamped by his government and courier it if they are not with you. They can also do it in your country at their consulate (A fee applies) Invitation letter
  • If you are paying for your stay, a bank statement must accompany the docs.
  • A letter of employment in this case too.
  • Copy of flight reservation and medical insurance (these will show your travel dates and duration of stay).
  • A fee of R1065 at this moment will be charged (last time I paid R1400 and before that R700) It changes with country and other factors.

A lot of docs are needed but once you are done, it will take 5 days to process your visa and can choose to collect it at VFS Global or have it couriered to you at an extra charge. If you are struggling, just comment below and we can have a chat on your application. I am only familiar with Europe short stay visas by the way.

Whatever you do after your visa has been approved and you are living your best life in a different country, DO NOT OVERSTAY! You can get banned for a number of years, maybe 10.

schengen-visa-overstaying