It’s been a good month since I’ve been able to buckle down with my photography. I’ve been involved with the catering of a big community event and after many hours of chopping onions, making lists and chopping more onions, it’s done and dusted for another year! I feel like a school kid on the first day of holidays! And the first thing I do is ‘pick up my camera!’ After many long days and late nights, the thought of missing another ‘sunrise’ was simply not negotiable! Regardless of my black-raccoon looking eyes being held open by invisible match sticks, I hop into my vehicle and speed down to one of my favourite places on the farm to catch the sunrise.
It doesn’t escape my mind that I am lucky. That I get to spend much of my time doing what I love to do; photography and being in the outdoors. I think back to our final year of school and of the friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives from the very start! And how I had no clue! So I chose to study marketing simply because I had to choose something! I spent most of my year bunking lessons and dreaming of ‘travelling’ and it soon became apparent that ‘marketing’ was not my calling! After a year of marketing I decided to take a gap year while I figure out what it is that I really want to do with my life! I hopped on a plane and flew to London. I’d find my answers there. I ended up living in the UK on and off for the next 10 years. It was a humble start and my travel motto was to gain experience of all kinds! I even did a stint of potato grading and street sweeping (but was fired the same day)and after work, my friend and I would return to ‘home’ which was the ‘housemaid living quarters’ in a millionaire’s mansion in Hyde Park! There we lived on cheap wine, toast and baked beans while being surrounded by opulence and antiques!
Soon after I decided to try the ‘hospitality industry,’ and was fortunate enough to work for some great establishments, providing me a with a solid grounding for a future in hospitality. I returned home and went on to study to be a chef, thinking that that would be the end of it.
But a few years on, I got married and moved to Zimbabwe and then to Mozambique! Suddenly being a chef in a Michelin Star restaurant was completely irrelevant and so I put down my chef knives and picked up a pen and camera instead.
Now I am back here in South Africa. It’s been a year and a half already! I’m standing on the dam bank contemplating life; of what has been and what is still to come. 20 years on from not knowing what to do, I think of the marketing, the hospitality, the cheffing and in recent years, the photography and writing. I know now that I never needed to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! So long as I enjoyed doing what I was doing at the time, that if I was focused and moving forward in a direction – I’d get ‘there’, to that ‘somewhere,’ whatever that ‘somewhere’ may be.
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is the right time.” – Asha Tyson
Quickly, as the sun rises – I adjust my focus and aim my camera as shards of fiery light burn smoky holes into the morning mist. Just then, an otter swirls and dives into the depths of the dam, sending golden ripples across the water. A fish eagle calls and monkeys clamber up trees. Crowned cranes dance to their own tune and spider webs adorned with dew droplets sway with the breeze.
While standing on the bank – raccoon-eyed and exhausted- as nature’s spectacular clog turns, I had a moment of clarity: that wherever I’m going, my camera is coming too!
“I see my path, but I dont know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Joseph Goldstein
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Spence Johnson
“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.” – Imam Shafi’ee
“If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either, white hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – Roald Dahl, My uncle Oswald