With all the Bok-related patriotism in the air, it’s hard not to think about being South African. I’ve caught myself softly singing our national anthem a good few times since Saturday and, without fail, feel my eyes well up when reaching those last two lines.

Earlier this year, I wanted out. I wanted to pack my bags and move somewhere safe. I wanted to escape the violence and the tension and the feeling of always looking over my shoulder.

But what good would that do? In the name of safety, I’d lose so much.

I’d lose living in a country where:

Continue Reading "On being South African"

I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately and how each of us seems to have a blueprint for how it should manifest in our lives.

We collect moments and images and places and carefully constructed ideas of perfect people to create a bright and colourful collage against which we constantly compare our own lived experiences.

Of course, it rarely measures up. Yet, still, we wonder why.

My thoughts on this topic were sparked when a much younger friend – who at a glance seems to be living his best life, travelling, exploring, meeting new people, the whole shebang – expressed concern that he was not doing enough to fill his time with true happiness. That, somehow, despite his best efforts, happiness continued to elude him.

I sensed the anguish in his words and felt like I was having a conversation with my own 18- or 22- or 27-year-old-self. That wild-eyed girl for whom nothing was ever enough.

Although she still surfaces every once in a while, I dare say I’ve gotten better with age. Like crossing over into my 30s has allowed me to loosen my grip. To hold my ideas of happiness – everything, really – a little more loosely.

While I certainly wouldn’t lend myself out as a guru on the topic and – at 33 – still have a lot to (un)learn, I do believe I’ve come to understand a few things about happiness that I might as well share:

Continue Reading "A few thoughts on happiness"

I recently had the opportunity to cover an event at the University of Cape Town, where Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng (aka Fab Academic on Twitter and Instagram) shared some career advice with postgraduate students.

While I long ago closed the chapter on pursuing any kind of academic career, I found a wealth of wisdom in the VC’s address, which can be applied to any professional path you choose to follow.

Here are my top five takeaways:

Continue Reading "Career advice from a Fab Academic"

Every so often, when my schedule allows and deadlines aren’t coming at me as thick and fast as they normally do, I spend an hour or two volunteering at an urban farm close to my home in Cape Town.

Sometimes, I help place tiny seeds in polystyrene planting trays and other times I clear weeds from the veggie beds. It’s nothing fancy and I love it precisely because of this. A couple of hours away from my laptop, feeling the sun on my shoulders and inhaling the scent of earth and soil.

Continue Reading "Random Thought: Of Our National Anthem and the Ones Who Love It Most"

Since I first started listening to podcasts in – I don’t know – probably 2015, they’ve become an integral part of my daily life.

Need to relax after a long, stressful day? Switch on an episode of Modern Love or The Moth and let the ‘stranger-than-fiction’ real-life stories soothe my soul.

Know I have a long solo drive/trip lying ahead? Save up the latest episodes of all my favourite podcasts to savour word for word as the road ahead unfurls.

Bored and need some inspiration? Re-listen to some of the stories that made an impression on me before.

Basically, podcasts are my go-to form of entertainment.

They have also become one of the ways in which I practice self-care on a daily basis, as they feed my mind, uplift my spirits and inspire me to become a better interviewer/storyteller/writer.

In recent weeks, I have found much solace, food-for-thought and amusement in the following four podcasts:

Continue Reading "Podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately"

Here’s a little confession I bet many of you might find surprising: I’m a perfectionist.

I know it doesn’t seem that way. By all accounts, I’m pretty laid-back and quick to let things go when they don’t work out according to plan.

But I have a sneaky suspicion that these are the methods I’ve developed over time to protect myself from disappointment and constantly feeling like a failure. That’s a post for another day, however.

The point is: I think there are two kinds of perfectionists in this world.

Continue Reading "Learning to appreciate the process"

I recently read a luminous travelogue/memoir/work of philosophical genius called My First Summer in the Sierra that really struck an almost uncanny chord with me.

Penned by Scottish-American naturalist, John Muir in 1869, the book is basically a personal diary of his experience joining a crew of shepherds on their humble search for good grazing in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

He was a young man of 31 at the time and intent on finding meaning beyond the mundanities of daily life. And, well, (spoiler alert): he found loads of it in the wilds of North America.

It’s been quite a while since a book resonated as deeply with me. Its pages are properly dog-eared now, stuck full of place-holder post-its and almost entirely covered in pencil marginalia and underlined paragraphs.

So, I decided to jot down some of my favourite quotes right here:

Continue Reading "Wise Words: A Collection of Quotes from John Muir"

Looking back into the Peregrina playlist archives, it’s evident that – for me – any change of season calls for a soundtrack.

So, it’s hardly surprising that I found myself collecting songs again recently to match the mellow golden glow of Autumn. A season after my own heart.

I guess the reason I love it so much is simply because of its subtlety. The way it inhabits the in-between with such splendour. How it arrives without fanfare and leaves without wasting time on goodbyes.

I love it for its romance – the soft twirling of leaves and the dramatic sunrise pink streaks, special gifts for anyone with eyes to see.

It’s also the season that lends itself best to soothing melodies, sultry love songs and slow jams… and who doesn’t love those?

Continue Reading "Playlist: Hazy Autumn Days"