How to take a sabbatical

When I tell people I'm taking a sabbatical for the first quarter of 2017, the most common response is, 'I wish I could do that!'. I don't work in academia; I'm a digital content producer working in an industry that is constantly evolving and innovating. It is very scary to step off my particular merry-go-round (pure FOMO, if you want to know), but what keeps most people from taking the sabbatical they secretly long for isn't about means or opportunity; it's simply a fear of the unknown. The best defence against that kind of fear is knowledge. A few days after making the decision, I sat down and read around 37 blogs and articles covering every topic from planning a sabbatical to what to do while having one, to re-entering the workplace and explaining the gap in your CV. Here's what I found helpful. What is a sabbatical? Sabbatical comes from the Latin, Greek and Hebrew words for Sabbath. It refers to a rest...
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Winning at #FoW15

Last week, I spent 20-odd hours catching planes, planes and automobiles to attend the Festival of Writing 2015 at University of York. I entered four writing competitions and had the unexpected thrill of winning two. Win #1 Friday Night Live I submitted 500 words from my manuscript, made the short list of seven writers, and read my words out to an audience of around 450 writers, agents and editors... and I was declared the winner, much to my exhausted brain's utter shock.   Win #2 Perfect Pitch Super agents Jo Unwin and Sam Copeland were looking for the best elevator pitch of 2015. "If a book doesn't have a strong, convincing and intriguing concept, your book will not be taken on by an agent." Jo and Sam judged my one paragraph pitch the winner. Lucky, lucky, lucky me!   After an whirly gig weekend of life-changing moments, powerful affirmation of my creative voice and generous insights shared by agents, editors and writers, I found myself back on trains, planes and automobiles for 20 hours. Sitting in traffic on...
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Johannesburg, 2015

Joburg is a strange city. Built on rich gold fields by ruthless men who nevertheless opened up the interior for trade and development. They made obscene fortunes - generations upon generations of wealth - off their ingenuity, tenacity and cheap, unregulated labour of migrant workers whose blood and sweat turned cattle land into the richest stretch of land in Africa. It's a hard city for Capetonians to love but it has its own beauty, a thriving arts culture and some of the most important socio-political memorials in modern South African history.                     ...
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Australia 2014

My 2014 trip to Australia was the furthest East I've ever travelled. I paid a long overdue visit to friends and family who live on both sides of this enormous country, and discovered a city I could easily fall in love with #SydneyYouBeauty. I attended the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day, which was very moving and got to some famous surf spots.  ...
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Private Travel in Africa

If you’ve been on more than one long haul vacation, you know there’s travel, and then there’s Travel. That capital ‘T’ is all about smooth logistics and feeling at ease throughout your journey. It's almost always the direct effect of working with an expert who has firsthand knowledge of where you're going; someone who can place you behind the scenes and beyond brochure-ordinary for unique encounters that most travellers never even hear about. Private travel is about having hotel-standard accommodation in an independent residence, it's about private transfers, charters and guides, it's about a tailor-made holiday that's filled with moments and experiences that you'll still be talking about years later. That's my kind of travel - it's luxury that is worth every penny. For me, luxury has nothing to do with the number of stars in my hotel's rating and everything to do with how much of my vacation unfolds at my pace around my tastes and preferences versus days spent fitting...
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Top 3 Restaurants in Cape Town

Every year the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards a handful of superb eateries around the globe. The list is dominated by the biggies - Europe, North America and Australia - but every year I just about burst with pride to see restaurants located in my home city - Africa's gourmet capital - Cape Town, make it onto this prestigious list. But neither the World's 50 Best nor its off-shoot the Academy's Global List are my definitive guides to good eating in Africa. That honour belongs to good old Trip Advisor, where you'll find cumulative ratings given by real people after eating real meals. Drawn from these illustrious sources and my own adventures, here are my Top 3 Restaurants in Cape Town. 1. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is currently ranked 28th on the 50 Best list. His restaurant is a focused, industrial space in Cape Town's uber groovy Woodstock. Trip Advisor travellers said: “Art on a plate and tasted divine” and “adventurous without being over the top" and 92% recommend it....
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My Top 8 Africa Travel Trends 2015

Africa's travel industry has had a tough year. We felt the impact of Kenya's troubles with Somalia, Air Malaysia's air disasters and the violent unrest in Gaza and Ukraine, and then ebola combined with electioneering in the US to sucker-punch the safari industry. But Africa is nothing if not resilient, and travel will recover because this continent speaks to human beings on a level that nowhere else quite matches. My Top 8 Africa travel trends are based on industry predictions, market developments, and insights real travellers have shared with me. Trend #1 Breathing Space Work stress, city smog, global recession, and information overload… It’s no surprise that the number one trend for 2015 is taking time out where there is space to breathe in the quiet beauty of nature and soak up endless views in places where personal technology fades into an afterthought. My favourite destinations for a digital detox are places where the sky arches grandly over the landscape and you see no...
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#adventureafrica Video Series

It's been a proper whirlwind since I started shooting the adventure series for Go2Africa: there were the easy rides on Harleys and mountain bikes, the graceful flight of paragliders off Lions Head, the hardcore aerial work of kite surfing at Langebaan and the total charm of an open ocean swim with seals... Last action shoot: a thorough challenge of my personal limits in a mountaineering segment and then the promo segment for our Congo adventure to wrap Part 1 of the adventure series... There's something bitter sweet about the last days of a shoot. I'm limping, battered and bruised from our adventures, and the crew has become a second family. We've shared all those heady, scream-worthy moments of filming outdoors on a tight budget and have adapted to a meal plan of Bar Ones and sandwiches. Back at the office, my editing work is piling up like a spoilt sport, I've got a feature script deadline looming large on 17th Feb...
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Harley shoot in the can!

What a great group of people to work with @HarleyDavidson and @SkarisTouring in Cape Town. The Dealer Principal at Harley let us play in his shop and workshop, interview his guys and rearrange his man cave of a workshop - his crew, Julian, Sean and Nick, stepped up and did their brand proud. The weather was perfect for a shoot and Cape Town delivered a spectacular sunset with light that just got better and better and better... we shot until dark, running from one gorgeous spot along Chapmans Peak to another. Terence was on top form - riding like a life-long hogster instead of the motocross nut he really is... and George Skaris pulled it all together on behalf of Skaris Touring's epic Harley expeditions up #Route62. Great day + awesome crew = beautiful footage for our first episode of @Go2Africa's action adventure travel series... Next!  ...
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