As we get older, life seems to fill up with more and more tasks that form part of our juggling act. Then, just as we feel we have finally perfected our performance, a hundred more balls fly in through the window and side wind us, leaving us wondering if we will ever see a day when our “to-do list” is empty.
The last few years have been an absolute blur for me with life being so full of work, studies, creating businesses of our own, learning negotiation tactics with a strong-willed and independent preschooler, school commitments, community events, fundraising committees – all while trying to maintain healthy relationships with those around me. To say life is full is far more than an understatement.
Over the last two years I have been on a journey of self-discovery and self-love that has opened my mind to a calmer approach to dealing with life, in all it’s busyness. I have listened to and learned from amazing people around me who are on journey’s of their own and together those thoughts and ideas have transformed my mindset drastically on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Recently, we went on holiday to Mozambique with a group of friends. Whilst there, we realized how little quality time we actually spend together as a family, and with friends. Our time is filled up so much with our juggling act of work, school and everything in between that we never really just switch off and be together as a family. Here, we had no phone signal so were forced to just switch off from the outside world. We were in paradise with friends, with our only concerns being should we take a dip in the pool, read a book, eat again or go down the staircase to the beach again. Our kids (seven in total!) had the opportunity to experience life in a different culture – and a rural one at that! It was incredible. They even stumbled upon a baby sea turtle that was trying to find it’s way to the ocean and got to cheer him on in his efforts. How many kids these days get to experience that?
Not everything was sunshine and tanning though – we had a very miserable two days of holiday, and cabin fever gets hectic with eight adults and seven kids stuck inside for two days! At some stage we decided to venture out and explore the area. We ended up in Ponta de Ouro, a nearby town, and stopped in for another R&R at one of the local restaurants, while the kids playing games and running around in the rain. We took a stroll down the market street and in that moment, whilst walking barefoot down the muddy streets (no tarred roads here) of Mozambique, I realized that this was what life was about. These moments of taking in our surroundings and soaking up the culture and lives of those around us, seeing my kid running in the mud with his friends while we all walked to the shops. This was life at it’s best! The simple life!
Unfortunately, all good holidays have to end and this ending came far quicker than we were ready for. The sadness sunk in as we drove through the beautiful countryside towards the border. As we crossed over back into South Africa and our phones were bombarded with all the messaged from the last six days, I realized how much we need to simplify our lives and spend more time on what really matters. Surely six days should not be filled with 300 Whatsapp messages, 200 emails, 50 sms’s and a million Facebook and Instagram notifications. Surely life should be simpler than this…
It’s taken us a long time to settle back into normal life again. Our hearts are yearning to go back to the country that has stolen our hearts. I am grateful, however, for the awakening inside of me that is happening and causing a mindset shift that can only be beneficial to us as a family. A good refocus to the things we really want to do and what we need to do to work towards getting ourselves to the exact place that we desire for our future is something that we can only be grateful for.
Here’s to a year of simplifying and prioritizing….and learning to say no to the things that distract and detract us from our dreams!
Recommended things to do in the area:
Deep-sea fishing with Gozo Azul in Ponta do Ouro – our hubby’s had an amazing time with the team, which even included a visit from the Spinner dolphins! And they came home yielding freshly caught fish!
Swim with the dolphins with the fantastic team at Dolphin Encounters & Research Centre. We did this for our ladies’ morning and it was an incredible experience! Very informative chat beforehand and very ethical conservation approach to their work!
Breakfast or lunch at Ponta Beach Bar right on the beach in Ponta do Ouro – fantastic food and this place is super kid friendly too! For those up to the challenge – try the toasted cheese burger! Two toasted cheese sandwiches with a burger in between!
Go snorkelling at Frederico’s Bay at low tide – park at the campsite and walk down to the beach for around ZAR15 per person. The water is crystal clear and the kids can snorkel too! On your way out, grab an R&R at Julian’s bar – really friendly service and a little photo op with the building shaped like a boat.
For a quiet night in – I highly recommend Alex’s Pizza Place in Ponta Malongane! I even took my own gluten-free pizza bases along and he happily used them – and they tasted AMAZING!!!
You cannot leave without taking a stroll through the local market and getting yourself a souvenir or two! (Side note: Try not to buy anything made from shells, as they are not ethically sourced – animals that live in them are killed for their shells to be used in jewellery, decor, etc.)
We tried on two occasions to buy some fresh coconut ice-cream from the market, but they were all out when we got there. This is on our list for next time!
Lastly, don’t forget to grab some freshly-baked Pau’s from the local bakery in either Ponta Malongane or Ponta do Ouro!
Watch the video of our trip: