Guluvaz Travel

Welcome to another edition of black girls’ travel brought to you by the lockdown. Meet Thenjiwe Mabope another insta find.

Introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Thenji. I have a travel insta page turned YouTube called Guluvaz Travel and I’m a 30 year old marketing exec from Johannesburg

Is your blog name inspired by Gulliver’s travels with a kasi twist?
The name as you can tell is a play on Gulliver’s Travels which I was enthralled with as a child. Anything that had the promise of adventure and new and faraway lands was always my jam. 
Tell us where you’ve been around the world?
I have been fortunate enough to have gone to 24 countries so far.
What was your favourite destination?
So far with my favourites being probably Italy, Ghana, Mozambique and Holland. It’s always difficult to choose just one destination as a favourite because every place is so different and has a context on how I was feeling or what I connected to at the time. I love Mozambique because of the food and peacefulness, I love Italy because I’m an epicurean and loved the cheese and wine in Tuscany; I love Ghana because the men there are so fine and ambitious; I love Holland because it’s vibrant cool kid epicentre. Every new place I go to has the potential to be the new favourite!
When did the travel bug bite?
 
I fell in love with travel before I ever saw the inside of the airport or even knew how it would be possible to get to faraway places. I used to watch Top Billing as a little girl and imagined myself as Ursula walking the streets of Paris. I used to jump over tables and pretend I was Sydney Fox on adventures in Relic Hunter. Relic Hunter was a show about an explorer who solved mysteries around the world. Or imagine myself as Lemuel Gulliver himself. I travelled through these characters using it to escape deep into my imagination where I’d create weird and wonderful worlds where anything was possible. Then that manifested into becoming this woman who is curious about the world around her and spends all her money travel. It’s become my passion, some women like bags and clothes or painting or beauty, mine is getting on a plane to find new and interesting experiences.
Which do you prefer travel agents or to do it yourself?
 
Booking your own travel can be daunting especially if you have never done it before so I always suggest first timers lean on travel agencies. I always suggest using travel agencies that allow you to pay through lay-bys and give discounts for people under 30 like STATravel, Flight Centre etc. to get value for money deals then once you feel comfortable with travelling you can start looking into booking your own travel. The trick also when making your own bookings is to ask tons questions, ask people how have gone to the destination before you, cross reference on travel sites and compare prices and read reviews. It’s lots of effort but it’s worth it because you get to know exactly what you’re paying for and what to expect when you get there. 
What are your favourite travel apps?
My go-to travel apps are Skyscanner so I can find the cheapest flights. Google Maps because it gives you local mode of transport and walking directions whichever country I’m in. Agoda so I can compare accommodation types and prices on one platform. And also  good old Excel because this is what I use to plan my trips so I know what I can afford and what I can’t before hand. 
We love your travel on a budget tips, what inspired this?
I have a few of tips on how to travel on a budget decided to share on YouTube. Go to my page to get tips for either first time travel or hacks and you might learn something new that will get you a step closer to that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Often because of a lack of exposure people believe travel is unattainable because we’re constantly bombarded by the nouveau riche social media glitzy influencers who only seem to show business class boarding passes and champagne glasses, that’s not all that travel is about. I have travelled more than most with the means that I have because I go out of my way to find the most affordable way of getting to where I want to be and I want others to know that they can too. Travel is for everyone and if I can share tips on how to do it within your budget then I’ve done a something good for the day. 
What do you never travel without?
I never travel without my earphones and face masks. I am a solo traveller meaning there can be a lot of time to kill on the plane or waiting on layovers so my earphones ensure I always have music to keep my company. The face masks a life line because flying is brutally dehydrating for my skin so I make sure that I put on hydrating masks to replenish the hours of air-con so I at least still look cute when I land. 
Money is no object, where in the world would you go?
 
Money is no object you would find me in the Caribbean Island hopping making my way from Trinidad through Dominica all the way to Jamaica through all the islands in that channel by boat.
Where can people find you on social media?
You can find me on Instagram: @Guluvaz_travels, Youtube: Guluvaz Travels. Email: Guluvaztravels@gmail.com

Solo Travel: My Experience

I’ll be the first to say I never understood traveling alone, I don’t even like the idea of going to the movies by myself. So to say I found the thought of going to another country all by my lonesome daunting would be the understatement of the year. When I was toying with the idea of going to Paris I tried to recruit everyone I knew.  It soon became evident that the universe had other plans for me.

I said in the beginning of the year that I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and what better way for an introvert such as myself to be thrust out than traveling alone. In all of the excitement that I would be going to my dream destination I kinda forgot how scary this actually was. Landing in Paris on a cloudy and chilly morning was however a quick reminder.  As I waited outside the airport for my late shuttle surrounded by chain smokers the voice inside my head was like “WTF Ofentse? What did you do? What were you thinking?” yo I was ready to get back on the plane and go home.

When my shuttle finally arrived I told that voice to shut up and suck it up because we’re here now. I tapped into my inner Shonda Rhimes on some “I can do this I’m badass“. Luckily I had a jolly and rather chatty shuttle driver and then we were joined by some nice and equally chatty old ladies suddenly things didn’t seem so bad.  I was like “hey this isn’t so bad I can do this” the next part could’ve been my imagination but I swear the sky cleared and the sun came out and Paris was magic again.

I went exploring, chatting to strangers, asking people for directions and asking them to take my picture. It was quite liberating to do things without overthinking everything. I also realize that I sound like a cliche but it was liberating and a growing experience. I only realized it when I came home and started telling people stories about my trip. I never thought I would ever take a solo trip let alone enjoy one, but I did and I highly recommend it.

Afterwards I had N*E*R*D’s ” She’s badass” playing in my head as a soundtrack because I felt like I could do anything if I managed to navigate my way in a country where I only knew a handful of phrases in their language and still managed to have a good time. Also traveling alone means not having to compromise on anything really; you do what you feel like, when you feel like it. Selfish as that may sound it felt nice not to have to negotiate on what activities to do and when to do them. That alone should be reason enough to want to try it out, that and meeting new people and honing your selfie taking skills.

 

I Love Paris

Ever since I could remember I have been drawn to Paris, but to be honest as time went by I fell in love with the idea of it more than anything else. I avoided going there over the years in fear that it would not live up to the dream, the idea I had created in my head. But since I am in the year of yes I figured oh well Ofentse its time to take Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT and boy am I glad I did.

What I did may have seemed crazy to some… going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language all by myself. Crazy or not I did it and loved every second of it.I would like to say for the record Paris lived up to my imagination, it was whimsical quirky and cool in other words the city version of me.

I went full blown tourist out there guys as you can see from my happy snaps:

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Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset                                                      Le Palais Royal

 

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset                                                                Paris Opera

thumb_SAM_1478_1024                                                                Louvre Museum

 

thumb_SAM_1485_1024thumb_SAM_1487_1024                                                      Tuileries Garden

thumb_SAM_1597_1024                                                            Arc de triomphe

And I fell madly in love with the Eiffel Tower day and night.

thumb_SAM_1564_1024thumb_SAM_1565_1024                                                           Sacré-Cœur

thumb_SAM_1533_1024           The stairs leading to the Sacré-Cœur

Montmartre was a workout for sure with all the stairs and everything being uphill but I did enjoy how busy and vibrant it was.

The streets were lined with artists sketching cheesy tourists like myself.

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Thank you Paris I will be back again that is for sure.20170924_135956

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