Confessions from the Heart
It has now been over 3 months since we finished our beloved event, Expedition Africa, which took place along the Garden Route. We spent 1 week per month, prior to our event, in and around this area in preparation.
I have been sitting with this “post-race” write up for a while and just cannot find the words to express what is happening in my heart… it is a mix of emotions.
It was truly a wonderful journey to put something of this scale together and to spend a few months in this wonderful part of South Africa. The moment that will never be forgotten was when all our teams spread out in front of us on the Knysna Lagoon, as we were standing on the pier in front of the Cruise Café. There was lots of excitement with photographers pushing each other to get the best shot and some of them were even on the boats to follow the teams. The horn blew and off they went. The wheel was rolling and you could not stop it.
While it is a non-stop race for our teams, it is a non-stop race for us, until the last team crosses that finish line. It is a year’s work culminating in the final stretch and afterwards the only memories you have left are the images and the videos. Sadly, this year I walked away empty. You know when a tap runs dry……. my tap ran out this year.
I function on love and I give love unconditionally. That is my thing. It is like adventure racing, its non-stop, and my river of love can never dry up (that is what I thought). Nevertheless, this year I walked home after prize-giving, looking at my husband and my heart was broken. We packed in silence, said our goodbye’s, farewells and thank-you’s, collected CP points. We were still sleep deprived, but tackled the 15-hour trip back to JHB, most of which was done again in silence and I can just remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not stop thinking, why am I doing this? Why am I giving my soul to this? Why am I putting myself out there?
I had no words, nothing. I was just in turmoil with my thoughts and myself.
Now as I sit and open the photo galleries and the videos; my heart swells up with emotion… emotions of happiness, of sadness, of pride and utmost respect of the team of people who went out of their way and worked through-out the night with us to create and capture this “masterpiece”. The most amazing people who just gave it their all!
I mean where in the world do you find people working throughout the night? In the cold, fighting the sleep monsters, trying to keep it all together. Letting us know when the truck leaves, when it arrives, what boxes are short, which teams are close, how far the truck is along. They get worried… the gear does not arrive, the cups run out; we need more milk, then toilet paper. What next??
How can we help? the logistics car has broken down, how can we make plans? We need wood here, we need a marshal there, and we need a gate unlocked but cannot find the farmer, and then most important of all, WE ALL NEED SLEEP… How, just how, can I ever explain this world of intensity, responsibility, problem and crisis management to any person? You cannot prepare for it. You cannot just go and sleep and leave it to someone else to sort out. Once that wheel is rolling you cannot stop it!!
It is the one week in your life where you cannot think of anything else. Its 200% focused energy. Once you have all the balls in the air, you have to remember when was the last post made about this sponsor and a tweet about that sponsor? Did this happen and then that? When last did Stephan sleep? Or eat? Or does anyone know where he is? And where is Ian? And Jose? And there it goes again...
Finally, I move to the finish and our teams start pouring in… I wait for them, all of them. In the beginning, there is lots of excitement as the first teams arrive, with lots of supporters. Then the night becomes lonely and I stand mostly alone with one brave volunteer who is standing half asleep with me. Standing under the stars with a blanket wrapped around my body looking into the silence of the night. How beautiful is this?
I can hear the strokes of the blades as a team is nearing the finish line and then I can see them … Hopefully I am standing with the right country’s flag in hand, music pumping in the background and it is tears of achievement, of greatness, of proudness and just LOVE. Love for people and love for the incredible sport that pushes every person further than the body can do… it pushes your mind and shapes you as a person. It makes you think about yourself, your life, and the things that are really important in life.
I look at every person and I see their pain and smiles, I see, for that few minutes, emotions which not a lot of people have ever seen. I see and understand what they feel and I can see the “change” … it is a pure raw emotion and my privilege to share those first moments.
It is a humbling experience to know that we created an event/experience and that I know will be part of someone’s life forever. We create memories. What is life without memories?
I knew we had to get away after this magnificent event…
Time heals most things. Only time and as our event was on the one hand a massive success and we had massive reach and ratings, it was sadly overshadowed by things we had to address that were out of our control. We had to enforce penalties, upset friends and handle conflict which I Hate!! You can only learn from it. In the end, you still walk away with an empty soul. I was instead of celebrating sad. So sad, emotionally drained and tired.
Our event touched lives. We got so many emails afterwards from volunteers, participants and marshals who told us how expedition had changed their lives and enriched their soul.
I came to the conclusion after some “time out”…. I have put a year of love into this event and my heart walked out empty. Nevertheless, I have a lifetime of memories, memories that nobody can take away from me. Memories filled with time with my children on the beach, kayaking with Stephan on the rivers and hiking along the most beautiful coastline ever. Memories of challenges to get approvals and then amazing memories of discussing our Community Project where we made the Mosaic Landmark and donated the money to the Masithandane Bursary Fund. I gave an afternoon to the young girls at the Kranskop community showing them the finer things in life and helped to build their confidence. We raised money for children who do not have food or transport to go to school. Nobody can take any of those memories away from me. I gave it my all.
A mom who is a friend of mine on Facebook (our children used to be in the same school), came to me and said: “Wow I saw your event and had a look into it and now I see why you are always so busy….”
“It must be so amazing to be the creator of something so special and amazing!” she said.
I closed my eyes ... it hit me… Thank you! Thank you God! Thank you for putting me in a position where I can create something where people can go and “explore”, find themselves, push themselves and feel FREE!! Her words are humbling; sometimes a few words like this from a stranger can change your whole perspective of how you look at things.
I started reading the race reports, and it was a healing process for me. We went away, I switched my phone off, laptop off, I started dancing again, laughing, and running in the rain… I found my “Mojo” again… I looked at my husband with a heart full of admiration and love! I am so proud of him and the man he is and that we can share this love together.
I look back and only see the beautiful things… we made special friends and had the most amazing crew around us who worked their asses off to get the best images, video moments, transport boxes/boats etc. They worked through the day and night not for money but – for us Heidi and Stephan Muller. No money will ever be enough to pay them. They do it from the heart and that is what Expedition Africa is all about. It is more than only a race… its Love!
To every person who was part of the event it does not matter how big or small, you gave in time and in love, we do see it and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!! Thank you for giving your time and for working so hard at an event where most of you hardly know me and Stephan. Thank you for sharing our love and for the sacrifices you have made for Expedition Africa!! May this event be in your life and heart for all the years to come and hope to see you again at the Start of Expedition Africa 2017? I extend this Thank you to every sponsor, venue and institution who were involved and supported us. Thank you for believing in us and making our event just better and better!! Lastly the thank you to our family who is our greatest supporters in love and time where our whole family was there this year to come and help us. Isn't that just so amazing to have this support system!! I am truly the luckiest girl!!
Yes, soon we will announce the Host venue for 2017. If we inspired you this year, book your dates for 12 May – 21 May 2017 and we will meet again! I am excited as my heart is filled with love and energy. To go out and to put together another World Class event that will give you memories for Life!
I am in the business where I give love unconditionally, I will always believe in love and I will always organise our business with love #itsallaboutlove “loving life with abundance”
Otherwise, we waste each other’s time…
As nothing else matters to me…
(I tried to get a photo of most of the people who were involved this year but could not get from all, but just know that I love all of you. See more pictures in the "confessions from the heart" photo album)
until we meet again..
The majority of the Expedition Africa pack have completed the first 120km of the 544km course, with multiple teams currently cycling through the heart of the Knysna Forest and onto the world famous pioneering Harkerville single track. Athletes will venture from the heights of the forest and cycle down towards the coastline for 84km reaching transition six in Plettenberg Bay.
Leading the pack this year; team Featherbed Painted Wolf have maintained their lead throughout day two, however teammate Jeanie Bomford is suffering from a swollen ankle after she rolled it earlier today. "Bomford is hurting and looking tired along with the rest of her team. I'm sure they are beginning to feel the pressure" shares photographer Bruce Viaene after capturing the team along the course.
Local team, the Merrell Adventure Addicts are currently fighting for second place along with team Sweco Adventure (SWD). The team and looking to catch Featherbed Painted Wolf within the next 24hours, however were not expecting to race such a fast first half of the 544km. "A couple of us are having a rough time with the speed, and its proving to be quite taxing on the team" shares Grant Ross of the Merrell Adventure Addicts.
Teams will venture through the picturesque Robberg coastal Corridor collecting checkpoints along route before reaching transition seven. This section of land is a pristine 18km eco corridor within the Cape Floral Kingdom that connects the Robberg Nature Reserve with the Garden Route National Park in Harkerville. It's preservation has been secured by local landowners whose objective is to conserve the botanical, marine and human treasure this unique stretch of coastline hosts" shares Marcelo Rangel Valenzuela.
With just over 30 hours into this gruelling, yet stunning adventure race, excitement has hyped up the Garden Route extensively. "Productivity in Knysna has ground to a halt as people remain glued to their computers dot watching. WhatsApp groups are a hive of activity with comments flying back and forth between those following the race, and those who do not have access to the internet. Speculation is rife on what the strategies are for each team, paired with predictions on routes taken and whether these choices will pay off are flowing from arm chair experts. The bottom line is we are all hooked" shares Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners.
Amongst all the excitement of day 2, local team Head of Hills have unfortunately pulled out of the World Series adventure race after completing 128km of the route due to two team mates suffering from severe diarrhoea and another team mate injuring his shoulder. "By the early hours of the morning things had started deteriorating. Neill's shoulder had gone downhill after the earlier paddle and sea swim. He couldn't lift it. Andrew had lost all control of his stomach, unable to keep anything down, including water" shares Head over Hills spokesperson Carmen Froneman
Over 50 teams are adventuring through the Garden Route in pursuit of reaching their next transition. Athletes are beginning to look tired as sleep deprivation begins to creep in, awaking the sleepmonsters.
Image: Bruce Viaene
Over 200 Expedition Africa athletes cycled along South Africa's National Road; The N2 towards the Sedgefield Mosaic & Outdoor Market, waving their countries flags with pride. Each team taking part in this year's gruelling 544km Adventure Race was paired with children from the Masithandane Bursary Fun for Children to create a unique element of a Mosaic Masterpiece that will live in the market for years and years to come.
The Knynsa Lourie, Seahorse and local fynbos including the respective teams country flags were mosaic'd in the market earlier this afternoon. Each team's name and sponsor of the mosaic'd piece will be featured in the 'masterpiece' at the Sedgefield Mosaic & Outdoor Market in appreciation for their support. Funds raised from this community project will go towards the Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children.
This registered local NPO has been working in the Sedgefield area for 10 years, where the fund is utilized to assist families in need with transport costs to school, school fees and uniforms.
According to Jacky Weaver of the Masithandane Fund, "there are no High Schools in the area, and no public transport systems in place for children living in Sedgefield and its outlying rural area."
The majority of the Greater Sedgefield Area's population is located in formal and informal settlements away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities. "The Bursary fund is a preventive measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking" shares Weaver.
"Today was such a lovely day, teams were able to create something beautiful for a worthy cause, and we are so appreciative of Chris Elion for hosting our massive group this afternoon" shares co-race organiser; Heidi Muller.
The market was buzzing this afternoon as teams enjoyed the 'giving back' element of this race. "It was fun to step out of race mode and appreciate where you are, the people and the community, especially when this where we will be racing for the next 6 days" shares Australian athlete, Samantha Gash from DASH x RSS Expedition Africa after this afternoons community project experience.
According to Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners, the organisation is encouraged that the event includes the Garden Route as a whole. "This experience was awesome! It was lekker to leave something behind in a place where we will be for the next couple of days" excitedly expresses Jesse Ternent of the duo Team Atlas.
Although the project was a great success, organisers Heidi and Stephan Muller would like to invite supports (local and abroad), members of the public and family members to support the initiative by donating to the Masithandane Bursary Fund before Friday, 20 May 2016. All those who financially contribute towards the cause before this date will have their names incorporated into the Mosaic'd Masterpiece in appreciation.
Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children - Banking Details:
Absa’s SWIFT code: ABSAZAJJ
Branch/clearing code: 632005
Branch Name: Knysna
Account Name: Masithandane
Account Number: 4067253575
Bank address: ABSA, Corner of Grey and Main Street Knysna RSA 6571
Beneficiary address: Masithandane Wellness Centre, Milkwood Road, Sedgefield RSA 6573
Reference: ExpAfrica/contributor name
(The Contributor/sponsors name will be engraved into the Expedition Africa Mosaic Landmark)
Please email proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org. RSA Companies will receive a BBBEE Tax benefit certificate for their contributions.)
Expedition Africa will officially start at the Cruise Cafe in Knysna at 08h00 tomorrow morning, where teams will take on their first wet leg towards the Knysna Heads. Track your teams progress throughout the 544km adventure race via www.expafrica.live
The final countdown for Africa's biggest adventure race; Expedition Africa, has begun. Athletes from all over the world are arriving in the Garden Route to accept the challenge of the gruelling and exciting 500km adventure race. The race starts this Sunday: 15th May 2016.
Over 50 teams will arrive at Pine Lake Marina, host venue to this year's multi-disciplined international event that will play out in the Garden Route, recently labelled; 'the Home of Adventure’.
"We are excited to welcome teams taking part in Expedition Africa 2016", shares Greg Vogt; CEO of Knysna & Partners who approached Kinetic Events to hold the event in the Garden Route.
Members of the Australian team Dash x RSS Expedition Africa, and team That's Cray explored the beautiful wanders the Garden Route has to offer by exploring the mystical West Head of the Knysna lagoon Mouth; Featherbed Nature Reserve, a rich and stunning piece of land offering the most magnificent views and experiences just before pre-race excitement hits.
The organisers, Stephan & Heidi Muller have once again kept the start and all other locations a secret. Media, supporters and athletes will only receive communication regarding the route, disciplines and transitions incorporated in this year's race at the opening ceremony taking place at Pine Lake Marina on Friday evening, 13 May 2016.
Expedition Africa has always kept the local communities at heart and the 2016 edition is no different. Leading up to the race, teams will be partnering with the local Knysna & Partners Tourism office, Sedgefield and Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children to leave a legacy of a creative mosaic masterpiece, a Sedgefield trademark.
Members of the public, supporters and media are welcome to attend the community project which will take place at the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market on the Saturday at 12h00. “The Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market is proud to host the Expedition Africa 2016 participants. We are honoured to be chosen to provide the backdrop for the mosaic masterpiece that will be crafted as a memory for the community project” shares Cliff Elion.
Once this daunting yet exciting adventure race kicks off this Sunday, families and supporters can cheer on their teams via the live tracking feed which will feature a leader board, transitions and checkpoints along the route. Witness your favourite teams progress on www.expafrica.live as they endure a race of a lifetime.
As Teams gear up for their final preparation, messages from all over the world are pouring in with encouragement from their supporters. This race will not only be a physical struggle, but a mental one, so have your positive messages heard and cheer on your team by utilizing the official #expafrica2016 hash tags and message board posts featured on www.expafrica.live
We look every year for what is most needed in the area closest to our Host Town and found this wonderful organisation who is so desperately in need of Funding. Our whole idea is to get the teams participating with a local child which will benefit from our contributions and make a Mosaic Creation which will be a Landmark in the Town of Sedgefield. All sponsors names will be engraved into this landmark and while teams are racing the Masithandane group of tilers will finish the Landmark. After the event teams can go back and take their Team photo's of this Landmark of which they were part of. Contact me if you want to assist me with this Dream!! #loveyouexpeditionafrica
We had the most amazing morning spending time with some of the local children as they were showing my Werner and Isabella all about Mosaic. You can also see the spot where we are going to make this Landmark!! See photo's below.
PRESS RELEASE: Expedition Africa Mosaics for Change Community Project
The Garden Route, known locally as the "Home of Adventure" will host Expedition Africa 2016. Teams from all over the world will arrive in less than six weeks to take on this team challenge of mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, kloofing, kayaking and abseiling in the picturesque Garden Route.
Organisers; Heidi and Stephan Muller have always ensured the local community benefits from their Expedition Africa events, and this year the Bursary Fund for Children of the local Non-Profit Organisation Masithandane has been chosen. Masithandane is a registered Non-Profit Organisation No. 052-253 & Public Benefit Organisation No. 930025275 and has been working in the area for 10 years. The Bursary Fund is used to assist families in need with transport costs to school, school fees and uniforms.
According to Jacky Weaver of the Masithandane Fund, "there are no High Schools in the area, and no public transport systems in place for children living in Sedgefield and its outlying rural area." The majority of the Greater Sedgefield Area's population is located in formal and informal settlements away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities.
"The Bursary fund is a preventative measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking" shares Weaver.
"Expedition Africa is more than just an adventure race; it's about changing lives!! This type of event will change the lives of not only the competitor; but also affect every person who is part of this event and ultimately give back to the Community. It's about making amazing memories and leaving a legacy behind" expresses Heidi Muller of Kinetic Events. Kinetic Events have aligned this year’s Expedition Africa with the Masithandane organisation to create a Mosaic Landmark showcasing this year's exciting event.
“Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market is proud to host the Expedition Africa 2016 participants. We are honoured to be chosen to provide the backdrop for the mosaic masterpiece that will be crafted as a memory for the community project” shares Cliff Elion, owner of the Mosaic Village and Outdoor Market.
According to Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners, "one of the goals of hosting the event in the Garden Route was to establish and cement the claim that this region is the Home of Adventure within the Western Cape. "
The 53 participating teams will unite the day before their Expedition Africa adventure begins; creating a master piece that will feature the legacy of each individual taking part in this year's Expedition Africa and their representing countries. Teams will be given the necessary tools and equipment to develop a mosaic creation on a tile that will feature for years to come at the famous Sedgefield market, celebrating Expedition Africa 2016.
"We are delighted that the local community will benefit from this international event taking place within the true home of adventure, and look forward to witnessing the organisations success in reaching their fundraising objectives" shares Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners.
The contribution towards the project required is a minimum of R1500.00 per tile. Local children and artists will be part of the interactive team experience on the 14th May 2016 creating 53 unique tiles that will form this master piece. Moreover this project will contribute to the Masithandane Bursary Fund for children and help generate income for ten local mosaic'ists and their families, and further support economic opportunities for local business.
Teams participating in this year's Expedition Africa are encouraged to spread the word to families, supporters and sponsors to support this worthy cause. Contributors will have their names engraved into the mosaic master piece, meaning their names will also live forever in Sedgefield, Western Cape, South Africa for years and years to come; celebrating 2016's Expedition Africa's Adventure Race.
The Garden Route is rich with resources when it comes to the natural beauty of the Knysna Heads, the tranquil forests and still lakes and rivers leading to the rolling ocean. This is the perfect opportunity to appreciate and uplift the local communities of this beautiful land by investing in their education, culture, fellowship and upliftment.
Help change lives with this year's Expedition Africa, make your contribution, make your change!
Expedition Africa Mosaic for Change Community Project 2016:
Expedition Africa teams will cycle from their Host Venue; Pine Lake Marina to the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield. Family and friends are welcome to witness and experience this project at the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market.
Date: Saturday, 14 May 2016
Venue: Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield
Beneficiary: Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children
Contact: Heidi Muller (email@example.com) if you would like to get more involved with this event, eg: sponsoring toward Branded T Shirts, food packs etc.
Contact: Jacky Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org) for banking details. As a contributor/sponsor, your name will be engraved into the Expedition Africa Mosaic Landmark. Certificate to RSA Businesses will be given for Tax benefit.
Expedition Africa 500km Adventure Race 2016
Date: Sunday, 15 May 2016
Start Time: 08h00
Venue: To be announced at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, 13 May 2016
Live Tracking: www.expafrica.live
Host Venue: Pine Lake Marina www.pinelakemarina.co.za
Note: All local families and supporters are welcome to attend the start of the event.
We returned a day earlier from our Scouting week in the Garden Route as this event was not finalized and we were under pressure. After so many years of organizing these races you became particular about how you want your events to look and feel. We can sit for hours and discuss each leg of the event, the logistics, the start set-up, the program, the bike boards, race book, passport, where the photographer can get close to the racers to get photo's and the list go on and on... it never stops and most of the time it feels to me like the 1 event is just running into the next and I cant find the brakes..
So we had a hectic week to finalize all the details and as we get closer to Thursday (our departure day to go and set-up) we realize that our Truck which is responsible to transport our race kayaks is not going to be fixed in time. As the Technician is promising us that it will work and as he is fixing this problem the next one pops up. Luckily for us this event is only 1 hour drive from JHB. As many of our teams arrive early Friday night and enjoying a social braai around the Boma we travel back and forth from JHB with our 2 cars and trailers to get all the boats to the Registration venue. Keep in mind that we still need to get the boats to the boat put-in and from the take out back to the Registration venue and back to our office in JHB.
All I can say is that is what makes my heart tick!!! fun and games as its never easy!!
As always we have amazing friends and people who is supporting us out of Love!!! and they volunteer to manage our transitions while myself and Stephan manage the logistics between the transitions.
Let me put a bit more power to the word they "volunteer" meaning they out of free will and no payment come to help us through the night with our event. They stay awake for the whole night assisting teams in and out of transitions, making teams coffee and listen to all their stories, they cheer, they take photo's, they update the leader-board, update Facebook posts, make coffee, serve teams with hot-dogs and give them love as they pass over the finishing line. They put on smiles as they can hardly keep their eyes open and then we all start giggling in the morning hours about silly things as we wait for the next team to finish! How can words as Thankful be enough? a hug? a kiss? a t-shirt? I will never have enough things to give but I can only give me love to all of you who is walking this "life of adventure" with us...
Congratulations to all the teams who finished this event. It was SO SO SO hot and you all pushed through as we had very few pull-outs! When you have a moment you can go to our Kinetic Events Africa Facebook page and look at the Full Moon Harties folder to see more photo's of this race.
Last note: How I got the car and trailer home on the Sunday afternoon after we packed up, collected Control points, visited some Farmers to go and say Thank you that we could travel over their properties... is an absolute miracle and I will NOT do that again!!! Either I have to get someone else as a Driver or I will have to stay at the venue and sleep for a few hours as its the most irresponsible thing to do!! but we wanted to get home to our Children...
Worth the mention of the cover photo: these guys raced through the night and arrived around 8am the next morning at the finish (thus the reason for my glamorous look) they were all smiles and had many war stories as this was for most of them the first time ever doing something grazy as this.. But as I said to them remember #itsallaboutlove they gave me this "heart" for the photo and had me close to tears. It was yet another special moment making it all worth it!!
Until the next one... see below a few more photo's of the event!
Life just seems to have run away with me last year. I just could not get away for a few moments to update the blog and as a result I am a few “chapters” behind.
We have a full life and sitting back thinking about all it is very overwhelming and I am sure for most people a bit much… but for those of you following the Muller’s life of adventure you may know that a life of adventure is so fulfilling. Enjoy a few writings of our adventures still in 2016 as I am playing “catch up” before the big travels of 2017 start.
Thailand “always my favourite”
When in doubt where to travel to, just go to Thailand.
This is what I have decided early in 2016, when I suddenly received an amount of money from a long forgotten photoshoot.
What a pleasant surprise when my agent called me and said we are going to pay your money into your account … A few things run through your head when something like this happens:
Then the tantalising thoughts ran through my head:
No – don’t fix the pipe at home, or the leaking roof, or the bumper of your car, and this list of what one should do will always be endless.
It took me a few hours to make up my mind (ok let’s be honest it took me a few seconds) and I started to search the Internet for flight tickets:
I did not share this “little” trip with my husband; I only asked if I could take us away for 10 days. He must have thought I was joking at that time. Actually, I don’t think he gave it another thought.
I thought that this would be part of our 40th and 50th Birthdays, which were also in July.
Firstly I had to sort out the dates so that we could escape between our events. Then I had to figure out the cheapest options to get there. We have been to Thailand several times before, so I wanted to combine the travel to Thailand with at least 2 other destinations which would be new to us.
Khaolak and Phi Phi were my selection, as all travellers know the best part of a trip is in the Planning. Hours spent on the internet, hunting for specials and reading reviews. This part of the job I love!
Before I knew it we were on our way back from Expedition Africa and as we were driving back. I thought that NOW is a good time to share this little bit of information with him! At first he did not believe me, but of course this was the best thing that I could have done for us, especially after this draining event!!
We needed a getaway Holiday and that is what it was. The kids were so excited as they would be flying overseas!! They could watch movies through the night and sleep when tired. They were the perfect age to manage the long flights as we went via Dubai. We landed late in Phuket and got a transfer to the Centara Seaview Resort Khaolak.
It took me a few minutes to negotiate a private car as it was another hour’s travel and it was already past 8pm. I was so busy before we left that I could not manage to book a transfer before departure but in Thailand everything is easy to get as long as you can negotiate and take your time.
As we arrived at this magnificent Hotel, I knew that this was the best thing I could have done with my money. At the end #itsallaboutthememories
We arrived at our hotel at 10:00pm and they kept the beach front restaurant open for us to have a meal. Sitting on the beach with my feet in the sand, a slight breeze running through my hair and my children running around overjoyed, it felt surreal. My heart was filled with words of love and contentment. I love travelling. I love diversity. I love Thailand.
Our time clock was out and we woke up at 11am the next morning, missing breakfast. When I called reception to find out about, they said don’t worry they would keep breakfast open for us as long as we are there in the next 5 min. Again sitting on the beachfront, seeing in day-time the beauty of this magnificent hotel and the setting of this spot, filled us with amazement. Another fantastic thing of Thailand is that the water is warm. Luke warm for people like myself. It’s the only place I can actually stay in the pool and sea for hours as I don’t feel like freezing after 5 min. We spent the whole day either in the pool or on the beach, playing or sleeping, as we only then realized how tired we were.
I think we slept for the first 2 days as we were trying to re-charge our batteries after our Expedition Africa event. Another great thing of Thailand is that you can get a wonderful oil massage around every corner. You can drink a fresh squeezed fruit juice with ice at every corner. My children love fresh fruit, especially watermelon and mango - this was the best daily treat for all of us.
We included an Elephant trek and the bamboo rafting down the river. We walked the streets, ate the local food and tried everything new to us. The weather was good, it was out of season and quiet, so we loved it. It felt like the place belonged to us. This side of Phuket is absolutely lovely and I will definitely go back to explore more of the northern parts of KhoaLak. We could not fit in more and sadly had to move on to our next destination.
We took a transfer back to Phuket and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Patong beach. We loved the shopping, street markets and energy of the streets. Poor Stephan had to carry Isabella most of the times as we decided to leave the pram at home and she could not manage all the walking. We left our bags at our Patong Hotel and only packed an overnight bag to travel to Phi Phi. Just the ferry trip to Phi Phi was an adventure with lots of tourists and excited kids running around. Arriving at the port on Phi Phi was chaos, everyone was just scrambling to get off the ferries with big suitcases and no one knew where to go. But in Thailand you never need to worry. You just stand for a bit and soon someone will come with a signboard and take you to your hotel. I booked 1 night at the PP Princess Resort which is 50 m from Lo Da Lam Beach and in the centre of town. It was wonderful trip and kids could explore everywhere. We loved the food, the night life, the warm water, ice juices, Singa beer, shopping, humidity and the carefree feeling!! We climbed to the view point, hiked over the mountain down a magnificent single track down to one of the secluded beaches. It was island style as you cannot ask for anything better than that. By then Isabella was sleeping on Stephan’s back, we put her down under the trees while we ate another wonderful Thai meal and mommy had time for a little tanning.. need I say more!
We decided to stay for 1 more night and explore another part of the Island. We booked at the Phi Phi Natural Resort, Long Beach. It was magnificent and you can see by our photo’s that it was another day of bliss on a white sandy beach.
10 days was good just to get our minds ready for work and to revive our energy!
Will do this again and again and again… If only a surprise cheque will jump out of the closet every year!!
Travel light as you don’t need much in Thailand and can buy anything easily. If you want to visit Islands, go on smaller boats but travel with a soft bag/backpack and not a big hard suitcase. You can’t pull little wheels over sand. Travelling with children is very easy and highly recommended. Just do it.
The only things I could not manage to fit into this trip was a Thai Cooking class and Thai Boxing session. Reasons for going back!!!
To organise an International Adventure Race in Thailand…imagine that!!
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