Guest Post: My travel, my truth (tips for traveling with and without friends)

Travel
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

I have been privileged enough to travel overseas twice on someone else’s budget. My first overseas trip was to the USA in 2014 and my second trip took me all the way to Portugal in Europe.

On my first trip, I had 9 other companions and we were all friends so there was no doubt that it was going to be fun. All of us were heavily involved and committed to making the process perfect. Upon arrival, we were mandated to be in Boston for 4 days for a Young Leader’s Summit, but hey! We were finally in ‘Merica and we absolutely could not let this opportunity pass us by without some kind of exploration.

We had a grand ol’ time in Boston but as fate and “the spirit of YOLO” would have it, we made a pit stop in NEW YORK, (yes NEW YORK CITY the big apple) and boy was it magical!

Friends
Trip to ‘Merica with my friends

TRAVELLING WITH FRIENDS

There is something special in travelling with friends. A dynamic you can’t really attain when you travel with family or work acquaintances. Here are some of the elements I found most enjoyable when travelling with people who are your friends:

  • Flexible itinerary– having the freedom to change the itinerary depending on how everyone feels that day with no hard feelings.
  • Prior planning– we knew how much it would cost if we were to go to every tourist attraction in NY and Boston.
  • Work hard play harder– we made time for work and time for fun. We also made time for people to rest when they needed to.
  • Friends bring familiarity and some sort of security– traveling to a different country can be overwhelming but having people you can call “friends” brings a sense of calmness and adventure.
  • Shared interests– Prior conversations around the trip ensured that expectations were laid out. We all knew what each of us wanted out of the experience and it was so comforting when the boys made time for the girls to do some shopping ☺
  • Picture perfect– We all wanted to share every moment so we became each other’s professional photographers.

I do not believe that these benefits would have been as prominent had I travelled with individuals with whom I did not share a common interest. So this trip really set the bar high in terms of how I would like to experience traveling in the future.

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Musings in Portugal

My second travelling experience was pretty interesting… I had an opportunity to travel again, but this time it was to Europe for a work conference.  I was tasked with hosting 4 delegates who would also be attending the same conference I was going to and had little to no time to plan my itinerary. So here I was with 4 complete strangers and a colleague in Portugal. FUN. To make matters worse, unlike with the USA trip, I didn’t know much about Portugal except that Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous football star was born there. Despite all of this the extrovert in me remained optimistic and hoped for the experience to turn into another perfect opportunity to make lifelong friends (Boy could I have been more wrong…. haha).

TRAVELLING WITH ACQUAINTANCES

The city was beautiful and there was so much to do and explore but because the sense of “shared interest” and of familiarity which I spoke about earlier was kinda missing, the trip was a complete dud. Looking back on my experience I would say there are definitely some key learnings and take outs. It is possible to have fun travelling with acquaintances and here is what you can look out for in order to ensure the greatest time:

  • Preparation is KING– but also leave some room for spontaneity. Have a plan in place but also allow yourself to be moved by adventure. The last thing you want to experience when traveling is the monster called frustration.
  • Understand the most optimal means of transportation in your destination AND ENSURE YOU ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE ABOUT THE DECISION- you know why? So you avoid that thing again, frustration :).
  • Have a budget and communicate this with others around you so you all can participate in things that will leave you breathless ☺.
  • Pre travel drinks– If you will be traveling with people who are not your friends, make some time for a quick hangout over drinks so you get familiar and understand expectations.
  • Have fun– try to make the most out of any situation; after all you’re stuck together in that country, truly be open-minded.

Traveling is priceless it enables you to take a pause from your normal life and experience how other people live. The benefit truly outweighs the cost. After all, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” So it’s okay to go beyond how you regulate your life on a daily basis but travel with people who will make the experience unforgettable.

Girl traveling

                                                                                           Guest Post Author: Faith Tembe

Faith Tembe is a vibrant young professional with a passion for purpose driven work.

She holds an honours degree in Industrial Psychology and currently doing a Masters of Management in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation.

She draws her experience from the corporate environment with specific focus on Innovation and Transformation management.

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The future of work from a millennial’s perspective

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Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

It’s no doubt that organizations have started considering and taking shape in order to be future fit. Some organizations could be progressing more rapidly that others due to a geographical influence but what matters is that the pivot in business complements the environment these organizations are working in.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of sitting in on one of South Africa’s most renowned business trends expert and from this engagement I was exposed to quite a few insights around where are businesses going which I would like to share with you.

Business disruption is occurring across all industries.

PART 1

We are moving to an age where organisations are obsessed with company culture:

  • Being collaborative and not silo-driven, employers will hire employees who basically push beyond boundaries. We will begin to see a rise in people who are driven by achieving a greater purpose rather than a monomaniacal focus on profits.

Death of the legacy companies!!! Agile companies have a lifespan of 15 years and not because they exit the business lifecycle at the end of the 15 years but because they pivot frequently. (Because this is the future of the business and business- owner mind-set corporates will be serving/ servicing, the big question here is “what steps do corporates in South Africa need to take in order to become relevant for their future client?”

Collapse of the value chain. The space between the product and customer is getting narrower (E.g. Beyoncé and Tidal). Business owners are cutting the middle man and the need to quantify value for money/services rendered increases

The lengthening Omni-channel. It is becoming crucial for corporates to find out where customer are experiencing their brand and whether all the channels are “saying the same” thing.

Digitization pawns, the essential business pivot (Biggest disruptions globally being seen in the automotive industry: ride sharing and driverless cars, and healthcare: Augmented Reality learning techniques)

Mechanization, robotics and the erosion of jobs (Google: Relay Robot).

PART 2

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Photo by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

So in the midst of the tech hurricane, what’s going to happen to our jobs?

Critical thinking, leadership, communication and problem solving ability is key!!! The ability to display the skill of Lateral Thinking in a role will be crucial. Punt this and evolve in this.

New economies enabling new industries. People find themselves in industries they would have never imagined because of this new need of different thinking. (E.g. the partnership between the digital music guy who was hired by LVMH to help build them an ecommerce website….)

The on demand economy/ The sharing economy (Hyatt pairing with Airbnb to create “unhotel” experiences)/ The gig economy (This is forcing companies to rethink labour laws!!!).

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Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

The need for unconventional thinking will force educational institutions to ready students in a different way for the workplace.

Effect on education: The need for education disruption

  • What is your degree worth because there really isn’t any scarcity?
  • Already in EY UK no degrees are needed for employment

The biggest challenge and commodity will be the skills gap: critical thinking, problem solving, communication, leadership and ownership will be highly valued

So how do we bridge the gap?

What’s wrong with the way we learn? The education system isn’t geared for the knowledge economy….

Vocational training schools need to get mixed in with high tech. (No degree, actual training using holograms for surgeons (Google: HoloLens))

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

The future of work

It’s no longer linear. There are a lot of stop- starts and career changes

Hybrid skills will be needed

Organisations will hire for attitude, and retrain for skills (this will fix the millennial churn)

Nomadic work swarms. You don’t have to watch an employee working to know that they are getting work done. (reskill yourself to do what you want to do, get your work life flexibility by doing what pays the bills while leaving time for passion projects)

Remote flexi-working options and productivity impact

The impact of the female century will see an increases profitability in companies

Millennials see mentors as people they can take advice from and give advice to.

Jobs of the future- what will they look like?

Things related to drones, coding, virtual reality, UX (We will see skill and career combos that have never existed before such as Life Coaches with an IT background etc.)

Rwanda; the South Korea of the technology realm… delivering blood samples to hard to reach hospitals via drone technology

Ultimately, organizations and their staff must understand the movements of their industries in order to stay relevant in their environment and careers respectively. Nothing can be taken for granted anymore.

I am especially excited though to see how resourceful individuals will become with their toolkit of skills and how they will couple what they know in order to excel in the digital age where their customers are just as, if not more aware of what they need, how they want it and what their service providers must do in order to ensure excellent delivery in a radical and client- centric way.

Book Review: Americanah (My thoughts so far)

So I have been the biggest fan of Chimamanda since we all first heard her speech in Beyonce’s music video “Flawless”.

However, being the fussy reader that I am, I have been putting off buying her books, despite the raving comments I heard. To be honest, when I think about why it took me so long, it wasn’t because I did not think she was a fantastic writer. I was just so intimidated (read: lazy) by the African names and context.

As an African blogger and avid reader from South Africa, my biggest fear was that I would pick up one of her books and just simply NOT RELATE. I thought I’d try and give Americanah a try and close it bitterly after trying to drill the character names into my head and relate to the storyline and the characters experiences. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be black or African enough to get it and the last thing I wanted was to read about the people of my land from a foreign context, I did not want to feel like and imposter. I was so terrified of just disliking liking it.

But alas! After an hour of research and debate in the bookstore I walked out (with a little reservation and confidence) on my new purchase and addition which was Americanah. Why was I never told Ifemelu was a blogger who had monitozed her blog!? People. I would have long been within this book if I knew this!

Needless to say, I cannot express how estatic I am to have one of Chimamanda’s pieces of literature on my bedside table. It is so surreal, and my love for her writing and storyline in the current book I am reading just make the novel that much dreamier. If I could compare Chimamanda’s writing style to food I’d say it smells like French vanilla and melts in your mouth like rich dark cocoa. Her storylines are extensive, and as deep as a freshly brewed pot of coffeee on a Monday morning. I’m in love! My second African author and I am simply in love!

I’m left with 1/3 of the book to go and I just cannot bring myself to finishing it. Do you have any recommendations of a book just as lovely, either written by her or other female African authors? Please swing your recommendations to me via the comments box 🙂

I cannot wait to share my final thoughts and my deconstructed version of a book review with you!

<<<<<<<

5 things Americanah taught me about being African

When one gets their wisdom teeth removed, very many things can happen, one of these things, naturally as a bookworm, is having time to read. In between the moments of fatigue and pain I devoured the last few pages I had been savoring of Americanah and finally today I read the final page of an incredible journey found in a book.

As you may have read in my previous blog post (Americanah: My thoughts so far), I was initially apprehensive about reading African literature, but Chimamanda writes in such an incredible way that allows for “cop- outs” as I have alluded to before. She leaves the reader feeling included, catered for and understood in their thought process throughout the journey of reading the book irrespective of the readers background.

Having now completed Americanah, and excitingly attracted some African bloggers to my post, I can certainly say for sure that this experience has taught me the following:

1. Africa as big and diverse as it is, shares a common thread of understanding amongst its people. We all share similar perspectives of what struggle, hope, triumph and success look like.

2. Show me an African who doesn’t like America or London and I will prove to your that person is not from Africa. There’s just something about these places man haha!

3. Interracial relationships… as diverse as the world has now become, society is still very backwards. I have so much to add to this section but for now I will just say this- Chimamanda laid it down in this book! I have never felt like anyone truly understood this dynamic as much as she did when she wrote about it in the Curt chapters. I felt like I was having a DMC with a bff who finally GETS IT.

4. Blesser/blessee life is everywhere and it’s universal. It’s not a black thing.

5. African stories and story writers are out of this world. It doesn’t matter which country you’re from in Africa, we all share similar narratives. There is no better place to gain inspiration from than from an African context. There is just something that hit home when I read this book, a feeling of reading something familiar, as much as it was fictional and influenced by a Nigerian context. I truly felt at home between its modern threads as a South African.

Americanah has been such a joy. One of the realest and most relatable books I’ve read this year. It felt more like a DMC session with a good friend than it felt like reading. At the same time that I was going through this journey with Ifemelu, I felt my own mind and soul detoxing and releasing all these memories and questions I had bottled and buried far within my soul.

Final Verdict: What a joy! I cannot wait to add another one of these gems in my collection!

*If you have any recommendations for female African authors I should look out for and the titles of their books, please swing them my way in the comments section!