Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Zen of the Solo Road Trip


A car on a long journey is quite a zen space. You’re moving, but you’re also cocooned in stillness. I was reminded of this at about 3.30 yesterday afternoon as I headed to Dullstroom and Walkersons. The sun slanting through the window was warm on my jeans. The car is purring along the bumpy road, rising and falling with the camber as I head to the wide horizon.

A solo road trip is very different from one where you’re with another person.  The advantages of traveling with someone are obvious: you have a co-driver so you’re able to rest, and you have somebody to talk to

I only discovered the joys of the solo roadtrip recently.  Until then, I was intimidated by the idea of driving long distances without a co-driver. Then I travelled alone to Zinkwazi and managed fine, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

There are advantages to travelling alone:

  • All that luggage space is yours and yours alone. Stuff is like gas molecules: it will always expand to fill the available space. The bigger the space, the more stuff.(This is the boot of a Citroen C4 Aircross, which is a substantial vehicle. I still managed to fill it. )The boot
  • You get to listen to the music you want. On this trip: Coldplay, Sigur Ros, The Editors, Elbow. And, weirdly, the Godzilla soundtrack which I found at the bottom of a box and brought along with me.
  • You can be spontaneous. I woke up yesterday without planning to stop in Dullstroom, but I have a respiratory infection and I couldn’t face a 6 hour drive alone. I was outside Witbank when I decided to stay at Walkersons.
  • At Walkersons
  • You get to do all the things you like. Going to the spa. Emailing (I have loads of work on my plate). Horseriding (I cantered and although I panicked a little I didn’t fall off.)
  • Horseback
  • You don’t have to talk. At the moment, I can barely speak (I’ve lost my voice), so not having to talk is wonderful.

I’ve sorted a lot of my work for the moment – Dullstroom gets a serious cash injection because of my need for wifi – and now the Aircross and I will head back onto the open road, up through the Abel Erasmus pass and the Strijdom Tunnel, down into the Lowveld and on to Hoedspruit to stock up on tonic water and boerewors before I get to Timbavati.

I’m looking forward to it.


The Story of the Chicken and the Egg

This is the text of my TEDxJohannesburg talk from August 15.

A Story of A Chicken

This is a story of a chicken and an egg. The chicken was a gift for my 33rd birthday from my husband. He is now my ex-husband. When I have told you my story, I hope this will all make sense.

The egg is a perfect analogy for the theme of this session, because it’s both a repository of genetic material and a powerful symbol. Before they are fertilized, eggs contain half the chromosomes for new life. They contain the developing embryo. The vast majority of animal species on earth hatch from eggs.


Continue reading