Reflective thinking turns experience into insight. – John C. Maxwell.
I’ve always believed in the power of reflection. Reflection usually comes at specific milestones in your life or your career; the turn of the New Year, a birthday, or the anniversary of an important step in your life. So naturally, after reaching two years at Londolozi I sat down to reflect on what I’ve done, what I’ve learnt and to contemplate what lies ahead in this incredible wilderness I get to call home.
What I’ve done
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been. – T. D. Jakes.
Followed my passion
Pursuing a passion is something we’re all told at a young age is the epitome of a professional avenue to take. Working as a Ranger was always my dream and to have reached it will always be something I look back on with pride and joy. Londolozi is a reserve filled with endless possibilities of once in a lifetime wildlife encounters. The sheer size of the reserve combined with the incredible diversity of the landscape supports an almost implausible abundance of wildlife. Each morning I wake up before the sun peeks its head above the horizon and I am filled with optimism and excitement for what lies ahead on the morning game drive. Some of my favourite memories through the eye of my camera are featured below.
We have the unique opportunity to work and live with our colleagues and this allows us to build friendships that would normally take years and years to achieve. The camaraderie of the team at Londolozi is on display each and every day and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it.
Reconnected with nature
Walking in the bush is an experience that is totally different to any other. You become a participant and not just an observer. Spending hours upon hours with other rangers, trackers as well as guests where the soundlessness of nature engages your spirit and allows you to connect with nature on a totally different level is something I encourage every guest to experience.
What I’ve learnt
“Time and reflection change the sight little by little ’til we come to understand.” – Paul Cezanne.
What I didn’t realize when pointing my compass towards the African bush was what I was going to learn, not only about the fauna and flora that surround me but about myself and the Londolozi family.
When first arriving at Londolozi I was told about the Londolozi Effect, how it is not something you can put your finger on exactly, but it’s a feeling you get. Time in a place is necessary to get to know the ins and outs of it. I can safely say that two years in, I have for certain not only been able to understand it but also feel the effect this place has on a person. Energy is intangible; it’s a feeling that is sometimes hard to explain yet you know when the energy of a place and the people that occupy it align with the core aspects of your inner happiness. This is Londolozi and the Londolozi family.
Spending hours and hours in the bush with an exceptional tracker, Tshepo Dzemba, allows a ranger and tracker to build a bond that is unlike any other. The acuteness of their senses, to the tracks and signs the animals that inhabit our world leave behind, is a sight to behold and one that allows me the opportunity to be constantly learning and growing.
The friendliness of the Shangaan community is never wavering. Each and every single person you encounter will greet you with a smile that genuinely makes you feel the sense of ubuntu that the community is centred around. Life in Londolozi’s Futuristic African Village gives you a sense of belonging and allows you the opportunity to learn from people from all walks of life. You’re surrounded by exceptional storytellers that weave their words of wisdom around the glow of a campfire.
Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity”. It is sometimes translated as “I am because we are” (also “I am because you are”), or “humanity towards others”
What Lies Ahead
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Direction is important and allows us to stay focused in the present, to ensure our trajectory is correct for where we see ourselves in the future. As part of the journey to becoming a Ranger, we have to write a letter to our future selves one year on from the start of the course. It’s fascinating to read a letter written by you, to you. It takes you back to the moment and allows the perfect perspective of self-reflection, to assess where you are based on where you expected or hoped you’d be. So as I write this blog post I am also writing a new letter to myself. One year from today, I will open and reassess where I am, but I know that it will go somewhere along the lines of embracing all that this incredible place is and what it offers.
If you can find yourself in a situation where you are surrounded by people, guests and staff alike, that inspire you to learn and grow then you are where you should be.
Filed under Futuristic African Village General Nature Wildlife
Your reflections inspire me to do the same here, at home.
A great article, Barry.
I have always admired the way you guides and trackers work together. And only a few hours on your vehicle have shown me that both of you – Tshepo and yourself – are an admirable team.
Hi Barry, thanks for story on reflection of a Ranger. It certainly was a journey you embarked on and came out being more experienced in what you love most, that being this beautiful land, Londolozi and it’s animals and everyone that’s part of it. Reflecting is a good thing, because you can see how you have changed and learned so much in the process. Beautiful foto’s you took, having your guests share your enthusiasm and having your tracker with you each day, can just be a privilege.
Thank you so much Barry for sharing your reflections and insight upon reaching two years in the bush. I remember conversations with you on Founders Deck, hearing tales from your travels and what led you to pursue your dream of connecting with nature. Complacency in the work industry leads to so much frustration, I believe, in part to a worker’s fear to leave a solid and familiar job rather than pursue a passion. It’s once you put the dollar signs out of your mind and concentrate on what will bring fulfillment and happiness, coupled with new experiences and life lessons, that excitement and satisfaction can occur. I’ll look forward to your 3 year reflections next year.
Beautiful and inspiring post Barry! Reflection is as precious as it is underrated in our world, and your blog is a brilliant reminder to take a moment and reflect. Thank you!
The cheetah, the lion cubs and the adorable Nhlanguleni little cub are my Valentine! Happy Valentine
What a beautiful blog Barry, thank you for sharing your reflections with us. We both enjoyed it immensely. Taking time to reflect whether in the bush or at home in our daily lives creates a platform for gratitude and enjoyment of being in the moment but not losing sight of a longer term goal. Very best wishes to you and Tseps from us both.
Barry, thank you for sharing your thoughts on reflecting. I liked your phrase about pointing our compass and following in that direction. If we just allow experiences to happen our lives will be truly enriched, especially when we take time to reflect.
Barry, what a wonderful blog post. We so enjoyed hearing about the wonderful experience that you’ve had and how it is enhancing your life and helping you fulfill your dreams. We look forward to hearing how are you a year from now!
Written from the heart. Great post Barry.
A very inspiring post Barry. It has reminded me to reflect on all the wonderful things that surround me and diverts my attention from the scary things that are happening in the world today. Much needed, thank you!
Londolozi is a great tonic to all that is stressful in the human world. Love the photos and that little Nhlanguleni cub face is just precious! Say Hi to Tshepo!
Loved the quotes that preceded your view of where you were and where you are now within the Londolozi fold. I can certainly relate to the union as having spent 40 years in the yachting industry (of yesteryear when life was perhaps slower and more meaningful rather than a pure money making business it has become), we too had this wonderful feeling of comradely amongst crew members and what may have been just a few years spent together felt like a life time. Londolozi is a very special place which sadly I have not been able to visit for many years but I can certainly say that it has touched my heart and still remains a place I wish to return to, to reconnect with nature in an altogether different way..yet strangely connected to a life at sea ..away from the maddening crowd. Wishing you many many years to reflect on perhaps an annual letter to yourself Barry and just how wonderful your growth inwardly has been. 🙏🏻💕