2021 was a very different year for many people, uncertainty being the main trend for the year. Now that we have settled into the swing of things in 2022, I have had some time to reflect on 2021 and realise the lessons that I learned through all the adversity and uncertainty. Although times during 2021 have been uneasy, it has been my first year as a qualified guide at Londolozi and that in itself has made it one of my best years yet. Once qualified the real learning starts and the lessons learnt have been ones that will stick with me through life.
1. Play to your strengths
This is something that took me a long time to fully understand. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but until you are sure enough about yourself and what your strengths are in each situation, this can be a challenge. Realising this and learning to just be yourself and let your character come through. Fully understanding that you have something to offer and everyone is different was a huge turning point for me in 2021. Londolozi gets it so right by having truly diverse members of every single team that makes up this organisation bringing diversity into all teams. There is space for everyone with the recognition that everyone is different and contributing in their own unique way. Thus, pushing for your true character to shine through. It’s the people here, playing to their strengths that set us apart.
2. Maintain healthy Relationships
Relationships are vital, for your happiness and growth. Arriving at Londolozi, I was aware of how important relationships were. Through understanding the intricacies of Londolozi as a greater family, I have come to realise that relationships are at the forefront of everything that we know and do. Relationships don’t just happen because they are supposed to, they take time and effort and need to be worked on constantly. Two relationships from 2021 stand out far beyond any other, the first being the relationship we have with nature.
By this, I mean that we in turn are also a part of nature and that we cannot separate ourselves away from it, we are ultimately involved, whether directly or indirectly, in all that happens out here. Taking the time to be immersed in the nature that surrounds us, is the best form of medicine. We need nature, it doesn’t need us.
Londolozi has the most amazing array of nature to really immerse ourselves in that if you trust and give back to nature it will always provide us with amazing experiences.
The second relationship is the one I formed with my tracker and now good friend Dorence. My relationship with Dorence has been one of the best parts of 2021 not only due to the fact that we have formed a brotherhood but also because he has allowed me to have a brief look into the Shangaan culture which I believe is one of the most special in our beautiful country. It is understandable that this becomes more than a friendship, we have the extraordinary privilege of not only spending countless hours together but rather spending this time in such a phenomenal piece of the natural wilderness.
After the struggles of 2020, no one expected more of the same in 2021. We soon realised we were going to be following the same trend. This is where I began dedicating time and effort toward a sense of patience. It was this, that helped me grow the most in 2021 and I’m talking about patience in its truest form. Real patience can be learned when you take a step into nature. There is no rush in nature, whether it be a leopard waiting for an opportunity to pounce on an impala or a Southern-masked Weaver building its nest. Nothing ever seems to be rushed and no action is put to waste. When anything is done in nature it is done properly, there are no half measures. I truly believe that it all comes down to patience, the animals have nowhere else to be and nothing else to do, they live purely in the moment and focus all their attention on the task at hand.
As I reflect on my own personal life, this is something I know we could all work on daily. I don’t mean to be as patient as a leopard waiting for hours for the perfect moment to pounce on an impala, but rather just implementing a slight bit more patience into our lives and realising that everything will work out how it is supposed to in its own time.
Now that 2022 is in full swing I can certainly say that 2021 has made me grow like no other year, and the lessons learned will stick with me for life.
Here’s to an amazing 2022 everyone!
Filed under Wilderness teachings Wildlife
Wonderful pictures, Patrick, especially the one of the lioness getting a bit impatient with her cub.
And great reflections on patience.
I must own that last year, i.e. 2021, I finally got really impatient with all that corona stuff and I just had to leave and travel to Londolozi, where I was able to replenish my “batteries” in the beautiful surroundings and accept the situation much better when returning home.
What will this year bring? No-one knows…
Great introspective post Patrick.
Although we have visited several times, our 2021 visit was very special. We think it was because we truly appreciated how wonderful nature is as we were totally away from the impact of the pandemic and the news about it (except for the pre-departure testing).
Great lessons well learned. Thanks for sharing Patrick. Super picture of the snarling lioness with the cub on her back.
All 3 of these are very on point and relate to the major changes I am making to my life. Another outstanding Londolozi blog.
Patrick 2021 was a year everyone for testing your patience beyond limits. Relationships is certainly the best thing ever, now that you are a Ranger you have you friend Tracker Dorence to complete your career. I’ sure you have learnt a lot from and Dorence from you. Beautiful pics, loved the Lion pic, is it the Othawa male lion. We have taken retro of our lives, but the carina was getting on our nervous, as we know it is a lot of nonsense. Great story Patrick, keep up the good work.
One of your best blogs Patrick! Patience is a skill we don’t seem to be born with and one which is hardest to acquire but the payoffs are generally wonderful … with nature, people and especially loved-ones.
Thanks for sharing your introspective journey through 2021. I think of all lessons learned through 2020-21, patience topped the list for most everyone. The inability to work, travel and socialize for almost a year reinforced our need for some safe type of connection – nature was the antidote . One could walk through the trees, rocky paths, seashore and take some time to reflect on what’s really important for a happy and satisfying life. I was able to take a break from the pandemic last spring and spend time in South Africa, ending my trip with a week at Londolozi. It was the perfect gift to myself, to travel to my happy place, no television or newspapers harking bad news. You are so fortunate to work in such a peaceful environment.
Great article and photos! Yes, we must all learn and understand that we cannot micromanage ever single thing in our lives, and sometimes just go along with the flow…..but coming out to Africa or anywhere outdoors is a terrific tonic to much of the stress in our world!
Wonderful lessons Patrick, and equally wonderful pictorial examples associated with each lesson. Thanks for the reminder about patience. For me, it’s a daily practice!
Great life lessons Patrick, thanks for sharing. Love the pics.
So very true Barry, I can recall in my training many moons ago, that what seemed my most challenging year still remains perhaps the best year of my life. Patience, that nature teaches us every day, is certainly the most difficult one to overcome when you are young and enthusiastic. It seems that there is a common thread of feelings and thoughts that emerge from all of you rangers who have had the pleasure of joining the Londolozi Family. That the unity and strength you gain from each other is ten fold. Certainly the Varty family should be exceptional proud of not only creating a space for their wild life to grow but for everyone who happens to pass through their lives. Bravo 🙏🏻💕
A lovely perspective Patrick, thank you. Love the last photo of lioness and cub.