The Wild Woman Interviews is a series of Q&As with women who do interesting, brave and inspiring things. The name is inspired by the fact that the focus is largely on how nature, the outdoors, travel, the natural cycles of life etc. inspire and influence women in their passions and pursuits.
For the inaugural Wild Woman Interview, I’d like you to meet Rozanne de Jager aka Rambling Roz. She is a writer, poet, teacher and life coach from South Africa, living and working in Vietnam.
If you had to rewrite all your social media bios to capture who you are right at this very moment, what would it be?
Teacher by day. Heart-worker by night.
The lessons I have to learn are not the lesson I thought I had to learn.
Since you started sharing your poetry and musings on the Rambling Roz Facebook page back in 2015, I’ve admired the way in which you arrive so honestly and lay your soul bare to readers. Did you have to overcome any fears before being able to do this so freely? Has it gotten easier as you’ve kept at it?
I honestly didn’t realise that my writing was seen as “vulnerable” before friends started commenting on my work. I went through quite a big life change in 2015 and I started being really honest with myself about who I am as a person, about my insecurities and feelings and it started flowing into my writing.
About a year ago I wrote about my one lazy eye, how it made me self-conscious when I saw photos of myself, but also how I’ve learned to embrace my flaws and turn them into features. I received a message from a complete stranger, sharing a photo of her lazy eye, thanking me for making her feel comfortable with herself. It made my heart soar, knowing that I connected with someone on a personal level.
It motivated and inspired me to write with even more brutal honesty.
Vulnerability is such a beautiful trait, but one that we – especially as women – so easily smother under layers of pseudo indifference, self-deprecating humour, anger etc. Can you maybe share a bit about this journey you’ve been on to reclaim vulnerability and find your authentic voice in the process?
I often refer to vulnerability as my superpower. I think it’s so empowering when we embrace exactly who we are. It’s completely liberating.
I’ve never really known what it means to be authentic, until I read a poem 5 years ago that literally changed my life. It was written by Janne Robinson, an unknown poet at the time. It felt like reading something that was personally dedicated to me.
I became obsessed with her work, and eversince, she has been my biggest inspiration in finding my authentic voice and expressing that in my writing. I realised that being authentic means to spit truth-bombs about how I feel in a relationship, how I cope with the aftermath of a relationship, how I claim my spot on this earth and how to live an empowered life by finding my feminist voice.
I write first and foremost for myself but also for women who are scared, ashamed, smothered or unfulfilled. Men are becoming aware of this conscious feminine shift, yet some are retracting more into themselves, unable to communicate because they’ve always been taught not to let the heart rule the head. I’m inviting men to sit down and have one-on-one conversations with their emotions.
How has travel shaped you? Are there any specific places that have become markers of change in your life?
I owe everything that I am today to travel. The day I quit my job and sold all my belongings to move to Thailand, was the biggest turning point in my life.
Every country and every city that I called home has shaped me into becoming the most authentic me I could possibly be. My biggest core values in life are freedom and independence. When I am free to roam where I want and do things that I feel passionate about, I am being the best version of myself.
My first solo trip abroad was to Ireland in 2015 where I rented a car and went on a 2-week long road trip through the country. It was the biggest gift I could ever give myself and proof that I can be brave. Soon after that I pretty much knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.
More recently I visited Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and standing in an ancient temple, thousands of years old was nothing short of pure magic. I left feeling spiritually enriched not only by the striking temples but also the unassuming nature of the people. I learned more about the unimaginable time in this beautiful country’s past and it reminded me that travelling shouldn’t always be about the glitz and the glam. It is our duty to learn about the things we do not know or cannot even begin to comprehend.
Anthony Bourdain said it best: “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”
One of my personal favourite poems/musings from your collection is ‘Home’. I just love these lines:
Home will be a sunrise beach walk,
a second-hand bookshop,
a dog named Oliver,
a window where I’ll sip my coffee from,
Is this picture of ‘home’ very different to the one you had – say – five years ago? Would you say you find little pieces of home wherever you go these days? Finally, do you see yourself ever ‘settling’ somewhere or does the nomadic lifestyle continue to draw you?
I’ve actually had the same picture about ‘home’ for more than 5 years. I’ve written many snippets about home, and it’s always been the same picture in my mind. Somewhere quiet, by the sea, a house with a library and owning a small second-hand bookshop.
It’s always been pretty easy for me to adapt to my surroundings and I feel at home wherever I find myself.
Right now, I am living in a small hotel room in Vietnam and I’m already calling it home. I’ve had many homes and found comfort in each one of them. I always travel with a stack of photos and it’s the first thing that I put up when I unpack.
Home is the feeling I get when looking at the faces on the photos. When I visit Cape Town, home is my best friend’s house. When I’m in Pretoria, home is the bedroom where I grew up in.
I do love the nomadic lifestyle, but I also hold on to my “dream home”, where I can sip coffee from my window and wake up next to someone worth sharing this dream with.
Apart from being a writer, you are also a Life Empowerment Coach. Can you share a bit about this work and how you came to pursue it?
It was a very specific moment when I first thought about pursuing life coaching. It was 3 years ago and I was living in Thailand at the time. I was going for a walk with a friend and we talked about recovering from relationships and how tough it was to maintain new ones while living nomadic lifestyles.
My friend turned to me and said: “Roz you should be my life coach.”
I just laughed but when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said. I’ve always been interested in understanding a person’s ‘why’ rather than the ‘who’.
Why do we think and feel the way we do? How do we break out of those thinking patterns? Life coaching seemed like the perfect platform to help someone see the beautiful potential they possess.
We are all born disco balls, but some of us forgot how to shine. When we understand our choices, our beliefs our inner heart of hearts, we can make choices that will bring us in alignment of a fulfilled life. I am very passionate about living authentically, and because I am doing the work myself, I only lead others where I have already been.
What can people expect from an empowerment session with you? Do you run online as well as in-person sessions? How can they go about booking?
I will have purposeful, trusting conversations with you. I’m going to help you step out of your comfort zone. I am going to provide accountability. I will help you discover and understand your core values as well as your limiting beliefs. I will help you to stop focusing on instant happiness and shift to a life of fulfilment.
Each one-on-one coaching session will be moulded according to your unique goals. Each session is an hour long and it’s up to you how many sessions you would like to have, I don’t believe in time-stamping personal growth.
Because I have a nomadic lifestyle, the sessions will mostly be run online. However, if you are located near me at any given time, in-person sessions will be encouraged.
If you are interested in working with me, you can fill out the form on my website and I will get in contact with you. I also offer a 40-minute free mentoring session if you want to test the water first.
All images by Marleen Roode from Stroopsoet Photography.