Anne is a 66-year old retired teacher from Canada. She’s also the mother of one of our famed tour leaders! Anne and her husband joined us on a number of tours. We got in touch with her to find out why she travels and what she experienced on tour with us.
I am always a bit nervous when I prepare for travel. One of my first travel experiences was as a teacher, when I escorted a grade 6 glass to Cologne in Germany. Naturally, it’s very stressful and you have to take extra care to make sure the children are safe and entertained at all stages of the tour. I also think it’s just natural to get nervous when you are doing new things. When you venture to uncertain terrain, there is uncertainty. Food you’ve never tasted, things you’ve never done, people you’ve never met. But when you get on a coach, it’s different. You see the landscapes, have the opportunity to relax and don’t have to worry about a thing. The organisation and worrisome little things are taken care of. That leaves me time to explore and enjoy more.
Our son is a tour leader for Expat Explore and we’ve been lucky enough to join him on tour In Europe and Africa. In 2016 we did the Northern Explorer tour and explore countries like Russia, the Baltic States, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. We were also lucky enough to join in on the first ever South Africa tour in February this year. The team was finalising the development of the new product. South Africa is amazingly beautiful in terms of landscape. It has all the wonderful animals you see in books, wandering around either in the wild or in Kruger Park. The people are also very hospitable and warm-hearted. The highlights for me were seeing the Big Five in Kruger Park and the joy everyone experienced as we traveled through the South African landscape. There are so many wonderful things to see. I particularly liked Cape Town and the Garden Route.
I even found my roots while travelling
I was born in the Netherlands and discovered my roots in South Africa. I knew about the Dutch settling in South Africa in the 16th century, but I did not expect Afrikaans to be so close to Dutch. As we travelled through South Africa, I often wondered what it was like for the Dutch explorers that settled in this area. Especially as we drove along the coast where the settlers first set foot in Africa. The Company Gardens was another highlight. These are the country’s oldest public gardens, where Governor van Riebeeck first instructed vegetables and fruit to be grown in the 1652. It’s beautiful and a must-see if you ever visit Cape Town.
I loved to hear the locals speak Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. I did, however, find Afrikaans a little difficult myself. I could read it well enough, but had some trouble following the spoken word. I consulted my old school books at home and discovered that Afrikaans is quite close to the Dutch of the 16th century.
I’ve come to realise that people are basically the same all over the world
We have traveled with people from all over the world and all walks of life. In the end, we all just all want to be valued as human beings and be treated kindly. When you travel, you have time to get to know the people with whom you are travelling. You don’t stay strangers for long. You become a “family” and soon make friends with whom you stay in contact for long after the trip has come to an end. We have met people whom we have visited or hosted when we got home.
Travel has become a passion of mine
Travel changes you. It makes me evaluate my own way of life and connects me to others all over the world. Travel changes one’s outlook on how others live. You learn so much from other people and you become tolerant of differences. You realise that humans all over the world hold the same core values: family, friendship, and an appreciation of their culture.
To anyone who’ve never travelled before, I’d say: Get out there and see the world! You will learn more than you ever thought possible.
If South Africa is on your travel bucket list for 2018, be sure to check out our Black Friday promotion on the 14-day South Africa Escape tour.