Bad to the Bone!

I have just come back from our “bad to the bone” 15 safari. We went to the Kruger National Park via Dullstroom and then on to Tofo in Mozambique. I had just been through a particularly hectic period. The hoops you have to jump through to run a fair business still never cease to amaze me. Literally 4 days before my flight I was convinced I would not go. Ingi thought I was gonna blow a valve and wisely insisted that I went. I did not even feel my flight take off as I slept the 3 hours to Durban. Totally exhausted I arrived and realized I had made the right decision. We had an awesome first night and I got to see my friends again. Times are tough in Southern Africa but everyone put on a brave face and we soon bonded like we had never been apart. This year was going to be slightly different as I had some of my good friends from Alberton joining. We were ready.

On our first night we stayed in Dullstroom. As we arrived our friends who live there set the tone for things to come. Big beaming faces welcomed us and we were all truly happy to see each other. The whiskey bar saw a few people humbled and one even thought his drink had been spiked (until we explained to him he had spiked it himself with whiskey – bwhaaaa). As I had worked for so many years in and around the Kruger I was worried things had taken a turn for the worse. However I am happy to report the Mopanie camp has never looked better. Even the elephant and buffalo sightings seemed larger and more frequent. The service was above par and everything was perfect. The 3 days we spent there were truly just what I needed. I was able to relax and spend some time alone in one of my favorite places. Unfortunately my Alberton friends had borrowed a car and it turned out to be a lemon. They made it as far as Palaborwa and left the tour.

Bone 5

I was truly heartsore as I was looking forward to their company. Some people just don’t seem to let things get them down. They are like that. Not to say they don’t have hurt in their lives but that gets left behind when there is a holiday. I have not lived in Alberton since I was 16 years old but I find myself being drawn back to my roots. My home is now Namibia but there is always time to see friends. So brace yourselves, lads, for more frequent visits.
We made our way through the new border into Moz. There has definitely been some investment in the country and it showed. Even the police road blocks were not interested and they actually just ignored us. It seems the powers that be have handed down a directive to leave tourists alone. Some other countries I know could learn from this.
We ended a long day at Mango Beach Lodge. Our hosts Stefan and Paula could not have been nicer. They are rebuilding the lodge and restaurant after a cyclone hit it last year. Hard work for them but great for us. Everything was new and the restaurant service was very efficient and friendly. Fish that was caught in the morning was served with the distinct taste of Mozambique peri-peri.

Bone 2

They have a beautiful view of the sunrise and i had a little furry friend join me each morning.

Bone 4
We were here in Tofo for a reason though. The whale sharks. As I am now a bit of a swimmer and quite comfortable doing a few km swim in the ocean I wanted to swim with the whale sharks. I had done it before in 2004 and knew if I could get my travel buddies, Len & Steve, to join, it would be a life altering experience for all of us.
My travel buds Len & Steve.

Bone 3

We did an ocean safari with a dive school named Liquid. (What is with people having one word companies? Liquid…..Diversity……restaurants called …..Salt or Pepper???? Why is “Liver” not such a popular name?) They had been taken over by a Finnish family and is very well run. As I stood in the waves holding the boat I realized how far I had come. Without laboring a point I have lost a lot of weight and replaced a certain amount of it with muscle. The 1 1/2 years of swimming has done me wonders. A few years ago I would have watched from under a palm tree as the others got to go have the fun. There was always a bottle of dry white wine to comfort me as I secretly wished I could go. Now here I was on the boat zooming down shark alley looking for signs of these gentle giants. Then there he was. We jumped off the boat right in front of him and out of the shadows came this incredible shark. This is a feeding ground and they were juveniles so between 6-9 m long. Amazingly these giants are plankton eaters so no need to fear. We swam with them for 2 hours as they glided along this magnificent coast line. We also saw 2 types of dolphin and we are pretty certain a manta ray. On all my walks I have found that when I am in nature my spirituality thrives. This was no different. The sun was shining on our backs, the salty sea water on our skin felt tight and we were overjoyed by the experience. I spoke with my people and thanked them. Comforted with the thought they were raising a God cocktail to me. Needless to say by the time we were sitting at Casa Barry for lunch the drinks seemed colder, the food tastier and the babes hotter.

Perfect swimming conditions.

Bone 1
As I sat there on the balcony watching the Finnish kids surfing with their friends I had an eppi-fanny. I decided I was going to buy into this way of life. The physical side that is. When I decided to change I did not really realize the gravitas of my decision. How it would affect every part of my being. I needed to let go of the past. No regrets. I have had an awesome life. I have done things in my life people don’t do in a lifetime. Seen things that would make a rock star quiver. Highs and lows you could pilot a cruise liner between. However 2 1/2 years on it is time for a new adventure. Time is not kind and the years slip away far to fast. I found myself totally absorbed by the meaning of it all. Ingi once mentioned to me that life is about choices. Every choice you make has a direct influence on your life. I have chosen to change. This means everything in my life will change. I was initially scared of the change but now I am comfortable with it. My Guru once told me about the 4 agreements

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

This sure has helped me and I am finding a more positive Chad. I don’t over react as much and am enjoying life again.

Bone 6
So more about me buying into a more physical way of life. As I said I now call Namibia home but most of my friends are in South Africa. I want to have an active social life here too. I am not the intellectual type and sport is my thing. Meeting people at the Scandinavian yak cheese making class could be interesting but I love adventure and the outdoors. So much so I make a living out of it. Sports people tend to be very positive. I like positive. Another friend of mine has a saying … “does this person add value to your life” but what happens if you don’t bring any value to theirs? How do you know? If I was to go to a lecture on the breeding habits of the Knysna sea-horse I guess I would not have any input or value. However as a sports person I believe I do! I have decided I am going to get as fit as I possibly can. Then I am going to do it all. My plan is to trim right down, do more swimming, achieve my goal of swimming from Robben Island to the mainland. I am going to do more walks in the desert and maybe for a worthy charity. I may even buy a bike. Bwhaaaaa. Why not? I enjoy these types of people and well it is my choice is it not?
Unfortunately I have had a setback with the swimming. All the cold water has caused the bones to grow closed around the eardrum, I have hearing loss and they are very painful. I have just come out from surgery to fix the right one. 3 months from now I will have the other done.
Note the Derek Zoolander pout……….blue steel!

Bone 7
This means I more than likely will only swim the Robben Island swim by the end of 2019.
This does mean I can do a walk in the New Year though, so watch this space. There is a plan for another adventure.
When I stopped my evil ways I threw myself into my business as a way of coping with the hurt. This has started to pay off. Why would it not be the same with any pursuit I chose???
Let’s see how winter goes with the training and the recovery from the surgery. I look forward to giving you an update soon about the walk and swimming.

Thanks for your interest in my story and may you find your calling, even if it is the bloody Knysna sea-horse 😉

Chadmanwalking out.

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