A mix of all our India trips in 2017 as we create our first ever Expedition India adventure race. It was most probably the craziest thing to do but a great success!
Confessions from the Heart
Island of Rodrigues..who have ever guessed?
Tonight I am packing my bags as we fly to Rodrigues tomorrow morning another "I cant believe it"
Just for those of you who is not sure where this island is: Rodrigues is a very small island off the coast of Mauritius. We fly first to Mauritius and then connect to Rodrigues and it looks apparently like the picture in this post...so lets see for ourselves!
If we pull this off it deserves its own writing of how we came about it, but for now we were invited by their Tourism to come and explore, discuss and see if we can host a future Expedition Africa on the island and surrounding islands. This might just be our venue for 2019?? soon we will know if we can do it!
Its easy to pack this bag as it contains mostly a few bikini's, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes and Expedition Africa branded T shirts! and a few hot numbers for sunsets! I am way passed my bed-time thus the saying "getting my beauty sleep" is not taken into consideration.
Its only a few days but lots of excitement as our video and camera crew will be with us to capture the action.
Follow us from tomorrow as we will share our travels with you on all our social media platforms and hopefully entice you to join us in the future:
Instagram: @ heidikinetic and @expafrica
Twitter: @kineticeventsZA and @KineticHeidi
For the love of adventure, travel and all things beautiful I say goodnight and farewell!
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!!
#itsallaboutlove #travelleratheart #fortheloveoftravelling #adventure
The Garden Route truly offers a the perfect playground for this year's Expedition Africa. Over 50 teams we graciously welcomed by the beautiful sunrise whilst they got ready for their wet start of the 544km adventure race.
Day one of the self supported and navigated challenge proved to be an exciting one with a kayak start at the Knysna Waterfront. Teams paddled towards Thesen Island hastily, taking on their orienteering leg, in order to collected their next map and plot their next route. The Merrell Adventure Addicts took the lead upon the water, with Sweco Adventure (SWD) in tow followed by Naturex (FR).
Within the first hour of the race, it was evident that the Merrell Adventure Addicts (RSA) were on their way to defend their winning title. However supporters cheered on another local (come-back) team; Featherbed Painted Wolf (RSA) as they stole the lead from the reigning champs during the trekking leg to Brenton-on-Sea.
This year's day one featured multiple legs; a 10km kayak, a 13km trek within the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a 17km Kayak incorporating a sea paddle. A 30km cycle followed suit through to T4, where teams took off on the 58km trekking leg into the Outeniqua Forest.
The sea paddle was later cancelled due to high seas and heavy waves which rolled in resulting in complete carnage as almost every team swam to shore; paddles in hand when trying to navigate the channel through to the Goukamma river. "We took a sneak through Buffles Point and got slammed by a massive wave. That was nearly our race over!" shares Mark Collins of Featherbed Painted Wolf (RSA).
Local knowledge proved to not be so advantagous, however the heavy swell did not stop their determination to lead day one. Moreover the adventurous day ensured not only the leaders ran into trouble, but team Gungho (USA) lost their passport during the coastal trek in Leg 4 as they were slammed by a rogue wave. Due to some quick thinking a team member hastily retrieved the passport ensuring their race would continue.
The majority of the teams pack will race throughout the night in pursuit of reaching Transition Five before the end of day two. Featherbed Painted Wolf still hold the lead for the moment However, numerous routes and the bitter cold might catch them or chasing teams off guard resulting in an even more interesting day two.
Expedition Africa 2018 Taking shape
Namaqua West Coast will not disappoint. This beautiful and different destination only 4 hours away from the city of Cape Town is an ideal adventure racing destination. Its rugged, remote and with vast variety it gives us the opportunity to create a route not to be forgotten.
Epic legs will surely ensure that every person will have moments they will treasure forever.
We are now on our 3rd week and travel extensive kilometres to go find these remote spots. Today we off on another Trekking leg and if its close to the last Trekking leg we are surely in for many hours in the mountains and I better get my gear sorted. If this means another night under the stars I wont complain as the previous hike is still fresh in my memory.
It was beautiful, slow moving forward as most of it was either jumping over rocks or crawling through the bushes to find an animal path. We were trekking in severe heat and luckily found several pools. I did not care at that moment how clean the water was I jumped into the pools like it will be my last swim and drank the water as it was a cocktail. We had to crawl under a tree midday to escape the heat. At that moment we knew we will not make our end destination and will just push through and see how far we will get. Around 9pm we decided to camp out and found a soft sand spot. The stars and the moon was shining so bright I had to put a cloth on my face as it was like a spotlight. It was magical. It was as close as you can get to God and I had a wonderful time having conversations with myself, God and the universe..while Stephan was softy snoring next to me.
How blessed am I... thankful for my wonderful life. A life filled with adventure, glam and all things beautiful. A life with trail running shoes, Mountain biking shoes, slip slops, high heels and my favourite: bare foot! My heart is overflowing and my only wish is to be saved a few more years to be there for my children! Nothing else matters.
I hear my name and have to go...
Off we go on another Trekking leg and I will come and give you feedback on our return.
Go make memories my friends and you will NOT make it by sitting at home.
This event is our first event after your 500km Expedition Africa event in Swaziland and is our Start of the New season. Normally we can get a cold front and as our South Africans aren't really geared for Winter conditions I normally just pray for a warm weekend! The Vaaldam kept to our promise and without any incidents the event run smoothly.
Again we had a fantastic group of Volunteers and friends giving their weekend to us!! Ian and Kerryn had most probably the best transition spot on the Island and made the most of this beautiful hide-out by camping out in style!!!
We had another beautiful Game Farm as the Bike to Hike transition and with a big Boma camp fire teams went out with the full moon to do a beautiful Hike on this Game Farm. I don't think many Game was spotted as it was dark but when we did the scouting trip we ran into plenty of Buck.
As you will notice, we had photographer Terence Vrugtman booked for this event and the photo's is just magnificent!! Go to our Kinetic Africa Events Facebook page and see all the images under the Full Moon Vaaldam Album.
As always I struggled through the night to keep my eyes open see a few photo's below...and was after packing up on Sunday again "kiss boude"
Thank you again to all involved in making this weekend so special.
Preparations for the Expedition Africa 2018's closing ceremony is in full swing, whilst the remaining 14 teams of the 52 make their way to the finish line at Letsatsi Lodge. Over the past 24 hours, 38 teams have completed this year's gruelling 560km course, all bearing smiling faces as they crossed the finish line.
In 2017, race organiser; Heidi Muller created the #itsallaboutlove brand, one that flows through every aspect of the plans and preparations that have gone into creating Expedition Africa. The incredible fact is that adventure racing has truly become a love story, showcasing passion, love, torment, admiration, trust and a dedication to the sport itself. Physical, emotional and mental challenges are all obstacles teams may face when racing as one. "You may go fast as one, but you will go further as a team" shares Expedition Africa Photo Director, Bruce Viaene; a sentiment that motivates recurring entries into an event like Expedition Africa.
A unique friendship is created amongst four people when taking on the challenge of racing as a unit, especially when the task is to complete a 560km course by navigating multiple cycling, paddling and trekking legs in 7 consecutive days, with minimal sleep.
Whilst the final teams mission to conclude their Expedition Africa journey, finishers have congregated around Letsatsi Lodge throughout the day, sharing war stories and experiences of the race they've all just completed. Fires, music, wine, beers and lawn loungers have added to this 'rustig' and vibrant atmosphere as families and friends get ready to welcome these remaining 14 teams 'home'
Expedition Africa 2018 will officially come to close tomorrow evening at Die Keldery: Namaqua Wines in Vredendaal, when all 52 teams wave their country's flag high, and are awarded for their achievements in tackling such a race. Rankings will vary, featuring 'Full Teams' who have completed the 560km course and collected every checkpoint, 'Missed Checkpoints', and 'Partial Teams' who have crossed the finish line with less than the four members the teams started with. At this point, 38 of the 52 teams are ranked in the 'Full Team' category of finishers.
Congratulations are awarded to Russian team; Blizzard for their brilliant efforts in claiming this year's winning title and will now represent their country at the Adventure Racing World Championships later this year. The team have won their entry into this esteemed event, which will take place on Reunion Island from the 5th - 16th November 2018.
The show is not over folks... monitor the final hours via www.expafrica.live, show your support, send in your messages as Expedition Africa's real champions race their final legs. These remaining 14 teams have journeyed for the longest and pushed their bodies to no end... and so, the end is nigh.
Photo: Bruce Viaene
An adventure race is not, in simple terms; a race from a start line to a finish line, no, it's a journey. A journey that unites a group of four and sends them on an adventure, that provides the perfect platform for the discovery of new strengths and weaknesses, both physically and mentally.
Over the past five days, 52 teams have navigated their way through a wilderness like no other, forced to explore a terrain that is arid, desolate and in its own right absolutely exquisite. The Namaqua West Coast made for a brilliant yet truly challenging playground for 2018's Expedition Africa. Dry, dusty legs have ventured teams along a rugged coast line, up rocky mountains, through waterless canyons; an environment that has truly tested an adventure racing unit.
Aching muscles, tired limbs, blistered feet and a lack of sleep are amongst the physical torments that 560km's of non-stop racing can bring. No amount of training can prevent these 'battle wounds' from challenging one's mind into continuing. A mental stealth is required if you're going to take on the honour of adventure racing; your team mates depend on it.
Transition areas have welcomed broken yet elated teams over the past five days, providing a haven that will allow these teams to physically and mentally reboot; readying themselves for the following leg. Race director, Stephan Muller created quite a monster course, featuring large legs that have truly challenged every single team thus far.
The craziness however, is that every single athlete taking part in this gruelling adventure race, loves it. War cry's, sing-a-long songs and laughter are amongst the jovial sounds heard throughout the course. Unique memories are made and bonds of 'brother hood' are developed when taking on an adventure race with team mates that you have entrusted to collectively reach that finish line.
According to sources, members of Team Slummies (RSA) have been struggling with aching, blistered feet, testing their mental strength of plodding along. A misty and cold day four made for an incredibly challenging day for the team, however ended incredibly well when they came across a group of locals who invited the team to braai with them. Team Slummies apparently attacked today's 59km trekking leg with smiling faces and were ready for the final challenges they are required to face, in order to reach the finish tomorrow.
The leading team of this year's Expedition Africa; team Blizzard completed the course in 94h55m, 24 hours longer than the estimated finishing time. Miserable weather conditions added to this delay, when a lingering mist rolled in on day three.
"When our first teams begin crossing the finish line, there is a feeling of relief and pride in the teams achievements, but when the back teams start crossing the finish line a couple of days later, that is when the true admiration takes over, as those are the teams that have really pushed themselves further" shares race organiser, Heidi Muller.
An adventure racing 'heartbeat' will take over Expedition Africa's race village, as tired and broken athletes cheer on their fellow adventure racers and welcome them with open arms, as they complete this mighty 560km challenge. Continue to watch the dots via the live tracking site: www.expafrica.live as these teams make their way to finish in Vanrhynsdorp over the next two days.