Sunday, May 31, 2009


"The ground is the base for the physical, and the physical is the base for something else."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phenomenal Woman

"It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
And the joy in my feet,
I'm a woman,


"Being spiritual isn't about being comfortable all the time. You may be in transition, anxiously awaiting a new phase in your journey...."
DEEPAK CHOPRA, Life After Death

Thursday, May 28, 2009


"In a way it doesn't matter what the song is about. What's important is the fact that the singer means it in that moment."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Too Small?

"If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito."

Friday, May 22, 2009


"In the deep space of the sea I have found my moon."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sundowner Time

Sunset comes and the vehicle pulls up in a spot that sees the whole of the African bush roll out in front of us.

Obi unfolds a small table, spreads out the white tablecloth and starts to unpack the cool box. Gin and tonic, white wine, beer, soft drinks and some hefty canapes made by the chefs.

The kids are laughing and joking with their Dad in the background, running down the slope. He's a BBC wildlife film maker with a strong female energy and a passion for the natural world that has inspired a similarly acute enthusiasm in his children.

He slips into child-like behaviour so easily.

I love this way of being.

The setting sun is throwing shadows over the crests of little waves blown up in the sand.

The colour pink is so bright it seems to cloak everything with its touch.

I feel like I am getting another large, undeserved hug from this landscape.

I sit with Sam and discuss her new book and her commission for Conde Naste Traveller on 'Family Holidays in Namibia'.

Like her husband, she seems to have a childish wonder. She's creative, loves tenting it around Namibia and passes this happiness on to her children who are polite, questioning and bright-eyed.

Obi and Gudi are deep in conversation about something or other and tucking into the canapes.

So, another easy sundowner time passes.

It's a tradition in Africa you see.

Every day, just before 6ish, life pauses to take in the setting sun.

A time to reflect.

A time to reconnect with yourself through the strong vibration of nature.

Or a time for light conversation allowing a linking with others that only twilight facilitates. All the best conversations are had at sundowner time or later, around the roaring campfire.

I feel it is time to draw my Namibian adventures to a close. This country was just the silent and watchful backdrop that I needed.

It gave me a place to work, a place to live and a place to rest, all at the same time.

I can move on freely now, with no regret, from orange to blue, from desert to sea and from Namibia to MOZAMBIQUE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Being Gud in Namibia

Is it true that we manifest the people around us that we most need?

If this is the case, then I am very pleased to have manifested Gudi as my colleague and travelling companion for two out of the three weeks that I was travelling around Namibia.

Gudi is (perhaps) the only Namibian vegetarian on earth, maybe even the universe.

Gudi holds up the saying that the best things come in small packages (although I am bound to disagree, for obvious reasons..).

Gudi is hard as nails when it comes to driving on the endlessly long Namibian gravel roads. Peering over the steering wheel, Gudi negotiated flooded rivers, fork lightening and invisible dips in the dark roads at night.

In short, she kept us safe.

I knew immediately that we would get on.

She was feisty, she burst into laughter easily and often, and she was observant. She had lived a full life and had come out..... positive.

I had just had my bag stolen.

Laptop, car keys, house keys, mobile phone and a plethera of other things.

Being in an unfamiliar country I felt exposed and a little violated. I was trying not to let it bother me but it had. Gudi was the perfect remedy.

As we drove out of Windhoek, consolatory noises being made at my misfortune, (we manifest these things too don't we?) we found much in common.

Like me Gudi was into sticking a house onto her back and heading off into the unknown. Where my love was India and Nepal, hers was Europe. We exchanged stories of the world of backpacking and how it had changed us.

She had been a teacher - SNAP
Of Geography - SNAP
She loved rocks - SNAP
She was into photography - SNAP
And animals - SNAP

She was resilient and determind, but sensitive too.

Within an hour of meeting we were paddling in the flooded rivers that crossed our path, picking out the best of the multicoloured pebbles and chatting like old friends.

Sometimes I wonder how I get to be so lucky?

We jigsawed together well as work colleagues too. When I got bored of looking interested and asking questions, Gudi stepped in. When she found note taking too hard to bear, I was there in the background scribbling and taking snaps.

Gud memories.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unchartered Territory

"For the next four days we can do exactly what we like, when we like. We don't have to answer to anyone."

With that, Eric hung a sharp right off the gravel road and down into the bumpy dry river bed. With, what seemed to me, immense skill, he manoeuvred our 4x4 effortlessly up and down sand banks and over knobbly roots and dry wood. Like an army tank or a centipede creeping along, I felt safe, supported and glued to the ground. We moved freely with no obstable proving too much. There were no tracks to follow, we made our own route.

I noticed a clench in my tummy muscles when he said these words, "we can do exactly what we like".

Was I so conditioned into being told what to do that now I had been given the blank sheet I had always wanted, my mind was going to keep me trapped in the past? It was an interesting question.

I had only known this man for just 24 hours and here we were, set to spend the next week each others company. Three days would be alone in the remote bush. Damaraland, one of the wildest areas of Namibia, is home to the illusive Desert Elephant and Black Rhino. We’d be checking them out, surrounded by some of the largest scenery on the planet.

Why the nerves I asked myself?

It wasn't the fact that we would be sleeping more than 100km away from any form of civilisation (I love that sort of adventure), nor was it that I didn't trust Eric. He had that perfect balance between professionalism and friendliness.

That wasn't the issue. When I looked into it, I realised that it was a familiar, conditioned thought process that had led me to this feeling of vulnerability that I often push down.

I needn't have worried of course. As is so often the case, when we are able to put aside these imagined fears, the best time is had.

Eric and I soon discovered plenty to talk about and, more importantly, fell into that wonderful ease in silence. My mental commentary faded and started to mirror the huge, empty landscape passing by the window.

Often we would stop in a river bed or on the brow of a hill, jump out of the vehicle and wonder off, without a word, barefooted, in opposite directions. Me, with camera in hand, I loved to get involved in the detail of nature. The vibrant colours, the rough feel of the rock on the back of my legs, the soft sand underneath my feet and that dry, healing heat that seemed to silently encompass everything.

What Crocodile Dundee was to Australia's Outback, Eric was to Namibia's expansive bushland.

He knew which hill was good for mobile phone connection, enabling me to call my mother on her birthday. He knew where to find the best swimming spots where we could play in the mini waterfalls, pushing our lower backs up against the moving water. He knew where all the sheltered camping spots were.

In short, he was an ideal guide. Interesting, interested and always the perfect gentleman, he gauged sensitively just how much information to impart, according to my curiosity.

I loved hearing about the history of the Himba people, the original ways that the plants and animals have adapted to survive in this harsh environment and I laughed easily the stories of the weird and wonderful characters that he had led through his world.

Being guided by Eric was like having the green card to be a child again. Any worries and concerns harboured in my mind disappeared. Any offers of help were firmly turned down (like the corner of my duvet in the tent) as he kindly sent me off, pointing me in the direction of the best sunset views. He preferred to get on with the building of the camp alone.

He had his system.

Then I would return, just after sunset, to a burning fire, a beautifully set table and a glass of chilled white wine.

The back of the 4x4 was like Dr Who’s tardis and was well equipped with fridge, mobile kitchen and little extras like a tablecloth, candles and a cheese knife.

“I always believe in doing things properly, otherwise we may as well be monkeys,” he said, as we edged down into our Director’s chairs, bellies full, legs stretched out and necks rolled back to look at the stars.

I was impressed with the awareness that he brought in to his work and felt it was a privilege to observe. It was as if he was doing what he was born to do, free and in his talent. It was good to be on the receiving end - a tough job, but somebody had to do it...

As our time together drew to a close I realised how much I had let go of. I was beginning to recognise myself a little more and it felt wonderful. The suffering of discrepancy, between inside and out, was getting less.

I knew I was going to miss this dude, his quiet strength and sense of calm. I'd got used to sitting next to him in the vehicle, legs crossed or stretched out of the window, lazily watching empty moonscape change to one scattered with oryx and zebra.

It had been a brilliant few days. I had imagined distance and awkwardness only to be rewarded with companionship, fun and brotherly affection.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dassi Love

I opened the huge, heavy, swing door into what was possibly the biggest luxury suite that I had ever seen.

This beautifully decorated 'house' was to be my home for two blissful days. Nature was brought inside with textured organic cloth, mute colours and an occasional splash of mauve in the decor.

I felt immediately at home as I tried out one of the comfy chairs, tucked into the homemade biscuits and turned on the enormous shower head.

Set high on the edge of a rock kopje (hill) overlooking miles of bush, I felt like Repunzel up there.

The bed was a double and enormous.

As is often the case for me on one of these business trips, I felt an inkling of regret as I wondered where my Robert Redford was hiding? Perhaps if my hair was a bit longer and I dropped it over the balcony, who knows who might climb up...

As Winnie the Poo said to Piglet, "It's so much friendlier with two."

Still, reminding myself firmly that you can 'only be alone if you are in the mind' I decided to strip off and jump into the cold 'infinity-edged' plunge pool. It seemed like a good distraction!

From there, I sat on the pool side, naked and free, watching two elephants, a mother and baby, winding their trunks around each other at the edge of the waterhole. Pangs of the missing Robert Redford faded as I read my book, chilled to some music and occasionally looked up to watch the antics of these impressive beasts.

As the sun started to set, it was time to be sociable.

I filled the huge 'ball and claw' bath with bubbles and eased myself in, skin still a little tender from a day outside.

The bathroom was all glass so that the views of the bush could continue to be appreciated as I washed behind my ears and hummed to myself.

Suddenly, I got that feeling of being watched.

The sun was throwing a beautiful orange hue onto the rock face. I held my breath (a habit I have when I'm nervous) and my eyes scanned the area.

Then I noticed them.

There must have been 50 at least, huddled together for warmth, due to their notoriously poor temperature regulation.

The rock hyrax or 'dassi'.

About one third of the size of a Corgi, rotund, furry and comical, these inquisitive animals could well be mistaken for over-sized guinea pigs! They are found all over Africa and are well-known inhabitants of Table Mountain.

I slipped carefully out of the bath, still covered in bubbles, and slowly opened the glass door. Squatting down on my haunches, I stared at them. Two can play at that game...

It was such a still moment as we sat there watching each other. Still and happy. I chatted to them under my breath. They were like a moving carpet, quiet but sometimes heads would turn, a scratch would be had or a foot would be lifted.

Eventually, I stood up, made two claws with my hands, stuck my tongue out and roared at them! Simultaneously jerking their heads in surprise, they scattered like a shot, leaving me chuckling and thinking that they were not quite the company Repunzel was hoping for....

Incomplete Perception

"All this suffering - this feeling of guilt, unworthiness, self-hate, unhappiness, lack of being able to give and receive love all comes from an incomplete perception of who we really are.

It is an internal pressure because words like 'unworthy' or 'undeserving' really hurt. They hurt the body and mind.

When you really feel that you are not this bad, unworthy person you thought you were, you experience a healing sense of relief and then inner peace."


Friday, May 1, 2009


"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stong pull of what you truly love."