I’m back in Africa, my happy place!
I’m currently in beautiful Zanzibar with my friend Brenna who took the lovely photo above as we were walking along the beach today. She’s at the end of a 6 week trip through East Africa and I’m just at the beginning of mine.
Itâ€™s been 4 months since I left my old job and created my new one. Nothing much has really happened in that time, yet EVERYTHING is different. My life is different. Iâ€™m different.
Turns out that I switched the nine to five, for the nine to midnight (or later). But then no-one ever said starting your own business was easy. Running a blog and a tour company single-handedly is a lot of work!
There are days when I face obstacle after obstacle and Iâ€™m like â€˜Why am I doing this?â€
And I definitely feel like Iâ€™ve aged a little over the last few months. Well, in body at least, definitely not in spirit, if the photo above (taken at Glastonbury Festival a couple of weeks ago – thanks to Jen at for this pic) is anything to go by.
But you know what? I’m back in Tanzania and Iâ€™m happier than ever. I love helping people to travel â€“ especially to Africa and thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ve ever really wanted from this blog. So all of this hard work and stress is 100% worth it.
This is the start of a new chapter for me.
I have no more daily commute, I work to my own schedule and I get to do what I love. Every bloody day. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.
As I was flying over Somalia earlier today (not every day you can say that, right?), I thought about all the various jobs Iâ€™d done over the years: event manager, receptionist, mentor recruiter for social entrepreneurs, barmaid, project manager, experiential marketing manager, youth worker, tour leader & actor.
I loved all of those jobs (for the most part). But they were all very different, with much of the same skill set needed, but I never really knew where I was going with any of those jobs. I wasn’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder and most of the time there was no progression, without sacrificing the parts of the job I truly enjoyed doing.
I’ve also done a lot of jobs I didnâ€™t like too; crisp packer in a factory (lasted 2 weeks), door to door sales woman (lasted a day), waitress (lasted half a day) and customer services & sales (lasted 5 years – although I liked this most of the time, it just wasn’t very exciting).
Iâ€™d never really pieced it together before, but today it hit me.
All of those jobs, have given me the skills and knowledge to do what I do now. Running my own travel company. They all contributed to who I am now, even though I couldn’t see their significance at the time.
If Iâ€™d have loved the job I was doing in 2009, or Iâ€™d moved to Manchester like I wanted to and not had a 3-hour daily commute, I may never have gotten so fed up that I decided to leave work and explore the world.
If I hadn’t done those all of those things first,Â I may never have discovered my love for Africa or travel.
My life could be very different right now.
“Here I am, where I ought to be.” (Karen Blixen)
I always thought I was behind everyone else (in blogging, in careers, in life in general), but I was just following my own path. It just wasnâ€™t my â€˜timeâ€™. Maybe it still isnâ€™t. I know I have a long, long, looooonnng way to go.
So what Iâ€™m trying to say, is donâ€™t worry what everyone else is doing or if things arenâ€™t going your way right now. Some people find their dreams at an early age. Some zig zag their way through life.
Work hard (but not too hard) and be patient. Do what you enjoy and if you donâ€™t enjoy it or stop enjoying it, make changes. Youâ€™ll learn from it either way and in the end it will all start to make sense. And hopefully, one day, it will all lead you to where you should be.
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting peopleÂ I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.Â Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.” (Mary Schmich)
So what about the big changes? Some of you may have noticed (although I didnâ€™t announce it) that I have changed the name of Helen in Wonderlust Tours to Rock My Adventure.
Rock My Adventure is the name Iâ€™ve had in my head for years. I thought it up not long after I started my blog and I did, at one point consider changing my blog name, but for some reason, I decided against it.
But I still loved the name and always had it in the back of my mind. Then I decided that I wan’t happy with the name Helen in Wonerlust Tours. The tours aren’t about me. They’re about you and what I can do to to make your adventure amazing and experiential and authentic.Â And soâ€¦
â€¦ was born!
Iâ€™ll have a new Rock My Adventure website coming soon (hopefully â€“ if I can find a spare minute) which will have all upcoming trips on! And yes, there will be more in 2018! Lots more! If you want to be the first to know when new tours are announced, you can sign up here!
Next week I start my first Rock My Adventure tour of 2017. To say I am excited would be a massive understatement!
I pick up my group in Kigali, Rwanda and from there weâ€™ll spend 2 weeks exploring Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
After that, Iâ€™m running 3 more trips to Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar and then back to Kenya again.
Then Iâ€™ll have a break for 3 weeks and then itâ€™s back to Africa for another Rock My Adventure tour in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
The itineraries I have planned are IN-CREDIBLE!!!! Even if I do say so myself!
On the trips this year, we have a real mix of nationalities: British, Norwegian, American, Swedish, German, Spanish, Albanian, Malaysian, Irish and Singaporean.Â I can’t wait to meet everyone and show them (and you) the Africa I know and love!Â I even have one of the girls from last yearsâ€™ Kenya trip coming back for round 2!
Iâ€™ll be posting onÂ Instagram, on Facebook and of course, on my blog! So be sure to follow along over the next couple of months, and who knows, maybe youâ€™ll join me on a future Rock My Adventure tour?
Want to come on an incredible African adventure in 2018 or 2019?
If you want to go backpacking with an awesome group of likeminded travellers, then join one of my 2018 or 2019Â Rock My AdventureÂ small group tours toÂ Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda & the DRC, Zambia, Botswana & MalawiÂ andÂ Morocco!Â
I will show you a different side of Africa. Not the Africa you see in the media, but the colourful, adventurous, wild and real Africa I know and love.
Rock My Adventure tours are experiential and culturally immersive adventures, but without the hassle of having to find accommodation, working out how to get from A to B and booking all your own activities.
They areÂ laid-back and fun, a bit like an independent backpacking trip (so it doesnâ€™t feel like a tour) but with a group of friends built in â€“ the best of both worlds! Plus you get comprehensive pre-departure support and advice from me!