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Zion

 

A few months ago, myself and a very good friend of mine went on an adventure. We decided to go on a hike, and not just any hike, a 16km canyoneering hike into the Zion Canyon in Utah, USA. We weren’t really prepared for it physically, but we’re both strong, independent women who can take on any challenge just as well as any man can! We had to do a bit of a crash course on abseiling and canyoneering as there were a couple obstacles along the route. So we went on a 4 hour course with a very interesting guy called Jeff that lives in a town with only 547 other people. As we were driving along to the outskirts of town in his big black pick-up truck, we asked Jeff why he wasn’t married. Shortly before answering us, he rolled down his window and spat out a spit ball of chewing tobacco… Let’s just say, my friend and I didn’t really need an answer after that! The next day we got up early, packed our survival backpacks, ropes, shoes, helmets and GoPro and set off on our long day of canyoneering. The weather was perfect and we were in awe of the amazing landscape around us. There’s very little signage on the route, so we had to rely on my diving watch compass and the map that I downloaded onto my iPhone. The directions went something like this: “Go east for a very long time until you see this tree.” So naturally we thought we were lost a couple of times, but managed to follow cairns that previous hikers left behind. Eventually we entered the canyon. This was the part where we had to abseil and climb through tiny holes and swim through icy cold water and look out for signs that a flash flood might be on its way. We were at times so cold and showing signs of hypothermia and even thought of giving up. The only thing that kept us going was the fact that we didn’t want to sleep in the canyon, because the rescue teams only come for you the next day. Eventually we saw the Subway part of the canyon, which was beautiful and so worth it! After exiting the canyon we still had a couple of hours hiking left to make it back to the Left Fork Trailhead. We eventually found the sign with the trailhead written on it, and an arrow pointing to the right. There was one little detail that the map on my iPhone forgot to share with us. To the right was a steep mountain that we had to climb! We started at 8am in the morning and this was around 4:30pm, so we were gatvol. Even my friend who rarely stays quiet unless you pay her to wasn’t even making a peep. After climbing and panting and thinking we were on the verge of a heart attack, we eventually made it back to the car. We couldn’t walk, sit down or get up properly for 3 days, but we felt invincible! People couldn’t believe that we did the trail alone, and no-one believed that we swam through that cold water without a wetsuit…to our discovery afterwards. We just pretended that we didn’t want to take wetsuits with (meanwhile most people say it’s a requirement on that route). But we came out alive and in turn have an awesome story to tell!

Abseiling

This is what these last couple of weeks is starting to feel like. Every day there’s a new challenge that I have to face before I can move home. My “To Do” list is just getting longer and time is running out. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I want to be home before the sun sets. Just like when we did the hike. Find one motivation and just keep going one day, one step at a time. And it will all be worth it in the end:) Thank you to all my friends and family for your support so far! I will be forever thankful. I will soon be updating my Adventure portfolio with all my GoPro footage of the hike!

"The Subway"

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946B5225 copyHi everyone, thank you so much for your support so far! I’m counting down the days and I can’t believe there’s only one month left before I get on the plane to Cape Town (as a passenger for a change), and start a whole new journey. I’ve found an apartment so I will be based in Somerset West in Cape Town. It’s been quite a challenge on this end to organise everything for when I arrive. It’s not easy packing up 5 and a half years, never-mind moving continents and starting a whole new career all at once! At least I know it’s the right decision, but that doesn’t make it easier to leave my current job, friends and family that I’ve built up in Dubai. As I’m flying to different countries and staying in 5 star hotels for my last few flights as a flight attendant I realise the parts of the job that I’ll miss and at the same time realising that photography is what I want to do more.

I have been doing some photography part -time in Dubai to broaden my portfolio and to keep myself sane. I became frustrated because I couldn’t devote all my time to my photography, so I only had a few select clients. One of my clients recently released her blog and website and you should definitely have a look here: www.iamcaptivated.com  She looks for rare finds all over and I got to go with her exploring to photograph a few of them. I will definitely miss these little adventures! Hopefully I’ll get to do one more adventure with her before I leave Dubai:)

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When I was a teenager, I LOVED magazines and books. I had clippings from beautiful images and photos and couldn’t throw away a magazine without making sure that I tore out all the pages that I liked or “might use someday”(#hoarder). With books, I mainly bought/rented the book only if it had a creative cover or design (with the exception of Goosebumps and Sweet Valley High;). I made my own collages using the old school way of scrapbooking (Glue stick, scissors and glitter;). I then realised that it would be so awesome if I could actually create these images myself.

After being laughed off by my family for making the following statement at the dinner table one night : “I want to be a photographer”, without ever having taken a picture or played around with a camera, I saw it as a challenge and then adopted my parents’ old Olympus film camera. I must say, it is a lot easier these days to “play around” with a digital camera. I had no idea about aperture, shutter speed or film for that matter, so my first few films were all either under or over exposed and blurry. My mother didn’t appreciate this cost and I had to convince her otherwise by using my ‘youngest of four children’ and ‘only girl’ status or the famous negotiating phrase: “It can be my birthday and Christmas present”. But at that age, my sudden huge interest in becoming a photographer was mistaken as “just a phase”. My parents’ judgement was fair enough as I went from wanting to become a veterinarian to a ballerina to a flight attendant in 1 to 5 days.

Over the rest of my high school period, I showed interest over an array of creative arts. I took some outside of school lessons from a local photographer in my home town for a short period and started studying the ancient photography books of the library in my home town. I wandered into more and more creative arts and took outside of school art and craft lessons. My mother had a big influence on this. She always encouraged me to learn to make things with my hands. I did almost every kind of handcraft known to man (my mother tends to go overboard sometimes). These included Paper Quilling, Card Making, Knitting (not very successful), Sewing (not my favourite), Jewellery making, Beading, Painting, Paper Maché, Scrapbooking, Paper making and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. My mother sharing her creativeness with me throughout the years were priceless. I even had my own little stall at Market Days at school and won awards for the most creative stall and for making the most profit.

When the time came to apply to universities and choosing what to study after school, It was a really difficult decision. I finally found an academy where I could take graphic design and photography together. It was the most perfect combination. When I got the acceptance letter I couldn’t be more sure of who and what I wanted to be.

After 3 years of studying and majoring in photography, I still had that travel bug inside me and I just had to take off into that direction and spread my wings. I then applied for a well known middle eastern airline and when I got in, I packed my bags and moved to the United Arab Emirates to become a flight attendant with my Canon 350D as my travel buddy.

Moving to a whole new country and having the world at my finger tips was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sure it was hard adapting, but I soon made the most amazing friends that made my stay in Dubai for 5 and a half years unforgettable. The experiences that I’ve accumulated over the years traveling the world, nobody could ever take away from me. I learned about different cultures, religions and people that opened my eyes to a whole new me. I quickly progressed in the company and soon I was a Senior Flight Stewardess/Cabin Manager. I learned even more in this role as I had to do a 6 month course in leadership for this position.

When I had to renew my 3 year contract with this airline, I realised that I haven’t exactly saved any money as I was using the money to see the rest of the world on my time off and time was literally flying by. So I gave myself time to think exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be, because I needed to set some goals soon as I didn’t want to be that 70-year-old American Airlines flight attendant. This job has such a comfortable and addictive lifestyle as we don’t pay for accommodation, taxes or water and electricity. And you get to travel the world for next to nothing, so I get why some people do this as a career, but I just know that it won’t make me happy forever. You see the world, but you see it alone. The job isn’t always moonshine and roses and the lifestyle of living out of a suitcase finally got to me. I know that every job has its ups and downs, but I won’t be able to deal with this job’s downs for much longer. So if I decided to make a move into full-time photography, I would have to set my goals and just go for it.

So I decided that Photography is my ultimate job, but I needed to figure out in which direction of photography I wanted to go into. The skills that I’ve gathered throughout the past 9 years had to be a part of it somehow. After a lot of soul searching and a few trial and errors, I knew that I’d have to work with people as this has become my life. I believe that everything you learn in life becomes part of a greater picture. After I set my new goals, there was no turning back! I made my decision.

To follow my progress throughout the next couple months, read my blog! I’ll be posting my wins, losses and struggles and also give you a peek into the life of a flight attendant;)

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