It was a Wednesday like any other, I needed a new hairstyle so I went to my favourite salon. The plan was not to treat my hair but Tony was not going to allow that, so I ended up agreeing to the treatment. While I was sitting under the big drier, I saw a 2015 Marie Claire Magazine with some exciting topics. The one that caught my eye was the one on Black Millennial Travelers. However the article mainly focused on the sophisticated style that these travelers have taken up when travelling. The pieces were very stylish and well made and the people wearing them looked very beautiful and comfortable in their own skin too. I spotted a few pieces that I would love to have made for me so I asked my hair dresser if I could keep the copy and he said “yah, sure”. I took it home with but not even once did I bother to look at the article itself.
The accidental read
On Saturday, I decided to go back and look at the pictures again to decided which pieces to make first. Only this time around I decided to also read the article. That is when I had my Ah-haa moment. The article was not just about the fashion, it was about Black Travel Movements that had taken the world by storm, the two that were featured were the Nomadness Tribe and Travel Noire. For some odd reason I had never come across any of these, which then raised my curiosity to read it. Even before I could finish the article I was so inspired that I was already playing around with a concept for a South African audience. I was so inspired because I was also looking into living a purposeful life at that very same point. Beyonce’s ‘I was here’ had been my soundtrack for many years so it all made sense. I had to create a travel movement that will change the way people see travelling and come up with strategies that will enhance their travel experiences. Because I had also been let down by Friends when it comes to making travel plans and I also wanted to inspire people to travel more, starting the movement became inevitable.
The Five year plan
I am one of those people that always have a 5 year plan. I set goals for myself to change my life and I am pleased to say I have always managed to follow up on them. This has been the only constant in my life when is comes to career advancement. Previously I have had to make a decision to leave the work force and go back to school full time because I had been unable to change my situation for 7 years. However, I got a position I had always wanted a month before resigning. So before I stumbled upon the article I had started looking at ways to turn my life around and one thing for sure was that it had to be digital. So I liked to idea of starting a blog and establishing a travel movement because I love travelling and I also write a lot.
There and then I started with my research, I knew a few people knew that I loved travelling and have made it a lifestyle (every birthday was a weekend away) but still a lot of South Africans had no clue who Noxolo Kapela was. So I realized that I needed to start documenting my travels and being more active on Social Media to create awareness. So Summer 2016 was the busiest, as I had to travel to a lot of places to create content for the blog. I approached a service provider to make my website and by 05 March 2017 the blog was launched. A new life was born.
Like any other journey to success there are ups and downs, when I started there were a lot of glitches. Apart from being dissapointed by the editor, I could not update the website. The service provided decided on a very complicated way of developing it which made me depend entirely on him to do anything. I could not deal with that because I needed to be able to update the blog as I go when I am travelling. Cutting the long story short, that relationship had to come to an end. Fortunately for me, while attending one of the networking sessions I met a young Man who runs ‘crazinerd’ who helped me redesign the website form scratch and made it easy for me to update it whenever I wanted. The website was then re-launched in November 2017.
Since then, I have had a lot of great opportunities. I also received a lot of airplay because I got invited to big radio stations and was featured in online Newspapers. I have also contributed to an American Express Essentials article about South Africa. The Mzansi Travel Movement started with a hike up the Lion’s heard, kids camp weekend in Morgan Bay, 5 day Outeniqua hike in Knysna and a 2 day hike in Lesotho. 2019 is looking even better as we open the year with a 3 day hike in the Drakensberg, 3 day wild coast hike, 5 day hiking the Swiss Alps and Island hopping in Thailand. We will also be attending 2 African concerts to learn more about our fellow brothers and sisters through music and how we can collaborate going forward. The movement is gaining momentum and we have been receiving new members almost daily.
What does the future hold
No one really knows but from where I am standing it looks very promising as there are a lot of potential campaigns, collaborations and opportunities in general to look forward to. As we continue to spread the word about this travel movement and its benefits, join the conversation and let’s take travelling to even the poorest of the poor communities. Let’s create affordable ways of travelling, make it fashionable and inspire others to travel too.
#khenkethamzansi #wetraveltohike #comeletshikesa