• Featured,  Personal

    A few thoughts on happiness

    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…

  • Culture,  Featured,  Personal

    Career advice from a Fab Academic

    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:

  • Culture,  Featured,  Personal,  Proudly South African

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

    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.

  • Culture,  Featured,  Personal

    Podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately

    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…

  • Featured,  Lifestyle,  Personal

    Learning to appreciate the process

    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.

  • Culture,  Featured,  Personal

    Wise Words: A Collection of Quotes from John Muir

    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…

  • Culture,  Featured,  Personal

    Playlist: Hazy Autumn Days

    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…

  • Featured,  Personal

    The Curiosity Curse

    I’ve always envied people who have a clear-cut purpose in life. Those blessed souls who know their calling and always have; who wistfully recall the moment of childhood enlightenment – how, at three-years-old, they swooshed a flimsy paintbrush around the watercolour pallet and instantly *knew* they’d be an artist. Those who set about pursuing their life’s purpose by achieving one quantifiable goal after another, well dang, I envy them even more. I, on the other hand, have always been somewhat erratic in my pursuits.