For a city as gritty as Johannesburg, you might be surprised to find out just how many fab hiking spots there are in and around it. My friend, American expat Becci Monge has kindly written a guest post with her top local hiking picks.
Becci got hooked on hiking last year when she decided (and by the way successfully succeeded – enormous kudos to you Becci and the rest of the Jo’burg based She-Trek team) to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. In preparation for Kili, the She-Trekkers explored (and continue to explore) the best hiking spots on offer in our local area.
There’s always a bit of a brouhaha when it comes to labelling or describing expat partners. A few of the titles used include Expat Spouse, Expat Wife, Trailing Spouse, Trailblazing Spouse, Lady of Leisure, Lady that Lunches, Guy that Golfs, Excess Baggage or as my husband endearingly calls me Expensive Habit. None of the terms is perfect and some are deeply loathed by the expat community.
So, I’ve come up with yet another alternative for you. It’s an analogy that first occurred to me when I wrote about the industrious dung beetle after we saw hundreds of them on safari. They are completely fascinating little creatures and the comparison between expat partners and dung beetles has been scratching about in the back of my mind ever since. Yes, I am comparing the Trailing Spouse to the Dung Beetle.
Confused? Here are 6 ways that expat partners are like dung beetles:
The Princess and The Fish is what I’ve always called this photograph. I took it almost 11 years ago on a slim spit of beach wedged between the quiet creek and the wide Atlantic Ocean just a short boat ride along the coast from Lagos, Nigeria one lazy Sunday afternoon.
This girl was seemingly the leader of her ‘gang’ of beach roaming children. She was older than the others and was insistent that I photographed her and her friends. As I snapped the first picture, the one of her alone, she unexpectedly blew into the fishes’ mouth to make it puff up. She was pleased to show me her party trick and laughed gleefully at my surprise.
It can be tough being the Trailing Spouse on an expat posting, there are times when you feel like you are the excess baggage. The life and career you had built before is almost certainly on hold or possibly gone forever, particularly if you are not permitted to work in your host country and the goal posts move even further apart if you decide to start a family while you are overseas. There are two choices – bemoan the doors that have closed to you or go out and unlock some new ones. There are many inspiring expats who have used their time to do something new and go in unexpected directions.
Fellow expat Debi Beaumont is one of them. She had a busy and successful career in London and when she landed in Johannesburg as a shiny new expat, suddenly career-less and also pregnant she slowly realised that her hobby was becoming a passion that opened new avenues up to her…
“When I arrived in Johannesburg for the first time (we’ve been back and forth a lot!) I was new to the expat thing, I knew nobody in the city and I was so extremely nauseous with my first pregnancy that it could take hours to drag myself out of the flat each morning. How on earth was I going to meet anybody and make friends, I wondered. Continue reading →
Life is rarely dull in Johannesburg, but some weeks are definitely more eventful and weirder than others, the week before last was a case in point.
MONDAY: I nearly got washed off the road during a massive storm. Water was streaming over the central reservation forming a downhill torrent. Instead of going shopping, I went and sat in the school carpark. Grateful to be dry and pleased to have avoided the subsequent traffic, I waited it out. As the school bell rang, the rain stopped and by the time we got back in the car, the road surface was mainly dry.
Here in Africa we have an Iron Rule. It’s nothing to do with government control or military states. It’s to do with the state of electrical appliances, irons in particular. The Iron Rule is as follows: