The Moment in South Africa that Changed My Life

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Freedom
No Wi-Fi. No Electricity. No TV…Now What?

In 2012, I traveled to South Africa for a mothers & daughters safari vacation at Kruger National Park. We stayed at the Hippo Hollow Estates, a beautiful hotel 10 minutes from the park featuring hut style lodges with No TV, very limited Wi-Fi and the electricity went out every night at around 8 pm. Oh and hippos freely roamed the property at around 9 pm, Crocodiles at 7 am—so while the rest of the world was enjoying their obsession with Facebook, Instagram and Candy Crush, we were forced to take it back to the good old days…with good ole fashion conversation.

Anywho, one day while sitting poolside I was flipping through the Oprah Magazine and decided we should play a game of “truths.” (Of course, because there’s no better person than “Momma Oprah,” to get you to confess your deepest secrets and desires.) So I pulled some phrases from the magazine about regrets, fears, dreams and lessons learned—and challenged each person to respond within 30-45 seconds with the first response that comes to mind.

That day, I learned some things about my mom, sister, and friends—that was surprising yet healing for me. So my defining moment was “now”  and I was ready to tell them how unhappy I was with my life. Yes, I was traveling around the world with a six-figure salary, but I was miserable. Yes,I had a pension, health insurance, and the perks from working at a cushy world renowned consulting firm, but I was suffocating. I didn’t fit in at work. I didn’t want to live out of a suitcase any longer and I didn’t want to make this corporate marriage work any longer. So, I made the decision right by the pool at Hippo Hollow–I quit.

And guess what? I didn’t have a plan or goals, but I had a vision.

I simply wanted more for my life. I wanted to inspire and uplift people. I wanted to exist beyond my resume.

My mom looked at me and said, “I wouldn’t do it one more day.” Then my sister and friends reaffirmed their support. And just like that–my world changed. Let me be clear, the decision to quit the cubicle farm would have happened without their support. But for so many years I prolonged this decision because I was worried about what my family and friends would think.

Now let me admit, I don’t know if it was because we were in the middle of nowhere—with hippos and crocodiles lurking about and they figured this wasn’t the place to get into an argument over my life changing decision, so they just gave me their blessings. But needless to say, I ran with it. I returned from South Africa and gave my employer 3 weeks notice.

No Wifi

Fast-forward to 2015. Two things happened by the pool in SA that breathed life into Kandid Conversations. First off, I believe wholeheartedly, when you’re taken out of your natural environment, you open yourself up to being vulnerable. You’re more creative. And sometimes you become unapologetically curious about exploring things you normally wouldn’t consider. Secondly, when one woman shares her story—her challenges, setbacks, fears, etc. it heals another woman. This second belief has served as a principle for helping people turn their ideas into reality and finding incredible people to write about for Black Enterprise.

Every day I thank God for allowing me to lead an impactful life.

Have you ever discovered something about yourself while you were on vacation?

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