I got the idea for this month’s newsletter whilst walking alone in the Matroosberg Nature Reserve two weeks ago. It was the second time in a month that I felt the need to go away into the mountains by myself. Seems like the need gets stronger and stronger as the world falls apart more and more. For some reason I deal better with life when I’m completely alone. Still learning how to respect and celebrate this quality instead of beating myself up about it, but ja.
On the first of these 2 solo trips, I went through such a rollercoaster of emotions. It was so overwhelming, that I decided to take stock of my feelings every hour. It ended up looking like this: 10min – Relief, big breaths of “finally I’m free!”
30min – Worry, sadness (what is wrong with me?) 1 hour – Still sad
3 hours – Content, setting up my tent and reading
5 hours – Fear! There’s a storm and my tent is almost lifting off the ground
Next morning 10am – Loneliness (where to now?)
11am – Depression (This sucks, there’s def something wrong with me)
12pm – Sudden happiness (after stopping for coffee at the top of a beautiful pass)
1pm – So happy! (Listening to The Killers and driving through De Doorns)
3pm – Super content (settled into the next stop for the night).
Which got me thinking: how many times have I “given up” before pushing through these initial uncomfortable emotions in my life? How many sudden happinesses (see 12pm, day 2) am I missing out on because I didn’t get to “day 2” of just feeling my feelings?
What’s unique about a solo roadtrip is, when you feel something, you can’t really get away from it. It’s you, and the feeling, in the car, for hours on end.
What a relief it was to see the proof in front of my eyes! My intense feelings, which I’ve always thought were permanent, changing from one moment to the next! From intense sadness and hopelessness to euphoric singing in the car, and everything inbetween. Haha! It made me realise that just because I’m feeling down now, doesn’t mean I’m doomed to be this way for the rest of my life. Not even the rest of this hour! Lol.
Then I embarked on my second flight into the mountains a week later. This time it took exactly 1h30 to get to my happy place. But this time I knew what to expect. The first 1h30 still wasn’t comfortable. Thoughts of “This is stupid”, “Why am I doing this, what’s wrong with me”, “Who does this!” running through my head, whilst the most beautiful scenery was rushing past, unappreciated. Then, when I got into the big mountains of Ceres, I suddenly broke through that fog and felt instantly at home.
Thinking this lovely feeling would last, I headed for the Matroosberg Nature Reserve, parked my car, and ventured out to hike the Rock Pool trail of 2 hours. I was all alone, humming along (coming up with ideas for the newsletter, and making voice notes as I went), thinking this was gonna be an awesome day.
The rock pools were great, but on the way back I bumped into the biggest dog I’ve ever seen. I had seen its prints on the trail and been in a semi-scared state for the whole hike, but had pushed it out of my mind. Then suddenly, there it stood, 30m away on a rock. Just a massive bunch of muscle looking at me, in the middle of the deserted reserve. I have never seen a dog this big in my life. It looked like a mountain breed of bulldog crossed with horse. I instantly thought I was going to die – just like that. In a messy, horrible blood bath.
Long story short, it didn’t follow me and I got back to my car in one piece (physically). But I ran the last 30min with my tiny Swiss army knife clasped in my hand, looking over my shoulder every 5 seconds and wondering if it would help if I climbed a protea bush. Not fun.
My point is that not only do our emotions change frequently, but our environments as well. We think we have the power to control our feelings, to not feel them, and to feel only the good ones. And then we also think we have the power to control the world. We don’t even have the power to control the day! I mapped out this awesome, resorative day in my mind, and ended up sweaty, traumatized, exhausted, worried, and definitely not relaxed.
FYI, I asked about the dog and apparently he is very friendly and likes to visit the various guests on the reserve. I definitely need to schedule another trip to Matroosberg so that we can have a better introduction to each other ;)
The rock pool hike is wonderful – the water is basically melted snow, so extra cold!
Some really big news: Bastiaan and my song, “Heroines of Heaven”, made it onto a Spotify playlist with 92,000 followers! Not only that, but we’re sharing the playlist with Hans Zimmer and John Williams – whaaaaaat! Check it out here: Filmmusik – Movie soundtracks.
One of my “Symphony of Solidarity” songs (an album I composed during lockdown 2020) made it onto a German art video! They used the track “Dance of Peace” Check out the video, which features some really interesting artists from across the world: Space & Place // Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig
I’ve always been really inspired by small-business owners in South Africa. My soccer-friend David Rahbi owns The Traditional Barber, a barber shop that is ranked in the top 10 for Cape Town, but that doesn’t even have an Instagram page. He gets new clients via word of mouth, and keeps his business small enough so that he can take a day off whenever he wants. When you meet him you can’t help but get infected by his positive attitude towards life. I decided to try and capture his life philosophies in video format, to hopefully inspire others as well. Have a look at Inspiring stories #1 – The Traditional Barber.
“Vaporous” by Elsiane – a transporting, mellow electronic track with a mourning violin solo in the middle
Jay Shetty podcast episode about 8 Unrealistic expectations we have in our relationships – I know some of you might be silently vomiting in your sleeves at the thought of self-help material, but this hit home for me in a way that no book, conversation or therapy session could have. I loved the way he normalized the way we expect things to be perfect in our partner – in other words not shaming the listener, but laughing with them about how ridiculous it is ;) Really helps me.
“I am not an easy man” – A laugh-out-loud, fun, and sharp Netflix French film about what happens when women and men’s roles are reversed. If you’re a man, it will probably make you a bit uncomfortable, but it drives home a very important point.
And that’s all for August.
I hope you’re taking it easy on yourself out there. Remember these are unprecedented times. Getting up in the morning gets you a distinction already.
Much love till next time,