Bucket List Africa Trip Part 2: Meeting Khuliso

(This is part 2 of The Bucket List Birthday Trip. Click Here to read part 1.)

with KhulisoArriving at the Johannesburg airport in South Africa, Susan and I scanned the throng of drivers holding signs and iPads™ with names of their guests, we spotted a cell phone with our names displayed. Behind it were the brightest eyes and biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Khuliso Ranwedzi greeted us warmly and introduced himself as our guide and driver while in Jo’burg. His iPad™ had lost power so he used his cell phone to post our names. It was small, but it worked!

As you likely know, South Africa (officially The Republic of South Africa) is the southernmost country in Africa. Many of us in the US think of Africa only as a poor and undeveloped country but ‘Jo’burg’ as the locals call it, is the largest city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world.

Since SA is a popular tourist destination with 3,5 million visitors annually tourism is an important industry. They take it seriously and go out of the way to help visitors have a grand experience.

Khuliso was an amazing example of hospitality and warmth! Not only was he a wealth of information about the area as he drove us to our hotel, he was friendly, entertaining and quickly became someone we’d trust to take care of us while in Johannesburg. He asked about us and our flight, our plans for the trip and showed us photos of his wife and daughters. Since Susan had a bit of a cold he told her where to easily find a pharmacy without even going outside since our hotel was attached to a mall.

Arriving at the hotel we could tell that he was known and well-liked by the doormen. This was seen repeatedly throughout our time in Jo’burg as he shepherded us through our itinerary. He always laughed and joked with other tour guides we encountered and it was clear that he was admired and respected.

His laugh and bright smile were a welcome sight each morning. Rather than feeling like we were with a tour guide that was following a script about his country, we felt like we were being shown around town by an old friend who truly loved his city and country and wanted us to know and love it, too.

Khuliso was a child during much of apartheid and was coming of age during the battle for its end. He lived through the racial division, injustices, violent protests and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and election as the first black president.

Of course, knowing our own country’s segregated history and the fight for equal rights, it’s sobering to realize this was so recent in his country.

Susan asked Khuliso if he ever remembered a time of peace and happiness in his country. After pausing a moment, he replied, “We have hope that someday there will be.”

And yet, despite all hardships, Khuliso is one of the most joyful, positive examples of living with gratitude I’ve ever seen. An example for us all.

What about you? Have you ever met someone who exudes joy and is an example of living with gratitude?

 

Up next: Johannesburg

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You can also follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and visit my website at www.MyraMcElhaney.com. My memoir, Building A Life Your Love After Losing the Love of Your Life is available on Amazon.com or you can contact me at Myra@MyraMcElhaney.com for a signed, personalized copy.

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Bucket List Africa Trip Part 1: Heading to South Africa

South Africa BoundWhen I was in my early 20’s, I met a guy who traveled globally with his family’s business. When I asked what was the most beautiful place he’d ever been, I was surprised by his answer. South Africa.

Since then I hoped to someday go there to see this ‘most beautiful place.’ Of course, for a young gal who’d never been out of the country and had only seen a handful of states, that seemed like a faraway dream.

Fast forward almost forty years. I’ve traveled quite a bit in our country as well as internationally. I’ve checked many places and experiences off my bucket list and even had to start a new list a couple times.

This year as we turned 60 (Yikes!) my friend Susan Reece and I decided to celebrate with a bucket list trip to South Africa.

Someone asked Mama if I was going to South Africa on a mission trip. Susan and I joked that the only missionary work we were planning to do was to put some money into the South African economy! As you know, my tagline and life motto is, “Enjoy Life and Do Good!” For this trip we went full out on ‘enjoying life!’ You only turn 60 once, right?

Elaine Baylos, a travel agent who’s from South Africa and lives in Atlanta now helped to plan our trip. It was amazing! Like four mini vacations strung together since each leg of the trip was so different. Someone asked what I’d change if doing it again. For a first-time visit, I’d change nothing! (Yes, it was that good!) For a second visit I’d omit some of the places that I’m glad I saw once and spend more time exploring others. If Cape Town weren’t so far away I’d make it a second home!

We flew Delta direct from Atlanta to Johannesburg. That’s a thirteen hour flight so we splurged and upgraded to Business Class where we had the amazing sleeping pods. They’re expensive so I won’t be using them for regular travel but if you’re on a long flight and want to actually get some sleep they’re the way to go!

Our itinerary included Johannesburg, Medikwe Game Reserve, Cape Town and Livingstone (Victoria Falls.) We arrived at the Johannesburg airport happy and well-rested–thanks to champagne and sleeping pods—and were ready for our big bucket list adventure!

Tell me about it!

·         Do you have a bucket list?

·         What’s something you plan to check off next?

·         Have you been to South Africa?

 

Subscribe to this blog to follow the series of posts about my trip to South Africa.

You can also follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and visit my website at www.MyraMcElhaney.com. My memoir, Building A Life Your Love After Losing the Love of Your Life is available on Amazon.com or you can contact me at Myra@MyraMcElhaney.com for a signed, personalized copy.

Facebook, Friends and Referrals

Facebook likeI’ve known Patti for over twenty years but as we caught up over dinner recently I realized that I’ve never sat down and had a one-on-one conversation with her. We’re in the same industry and have seen each other at numerous events over the years.

So why are we getting together socially now? Facebook. Continue reading

Social Media Mistakes That Hurt Your Business

10 Social Media Mistakes

  1. Not having a plan. If you intend to use social media for your business you need to have a plan that outlines who you want to connect with, which social media sites you’ll use, how often you’ll post and what content you’ll share. Planning can save you time and keep you focused.
  2. Not understanding what social media can and can’t do for your business. People often complain that they don’t or can’t get business from social media. You can get brand recognition, publicity, and information, establish yourself as an expert in your industry and make connections… All those benefits can lead to business.
  3. Expecting to get without giving. Social media utilizes ‘pay it forward marketing.’ Giving content in the form of information, articles, introductions and encouragement strengthens connections. When they know, like and trust you they’ll be interested in seeing what product or service you offer—not before. Don’t instant message someone you’ve never corresponded with about your product or service.
  4. Using ‘broadcast only.’ That’s what I call it when people post, broadcasting their messages, but don’t bother to read what their connections are posting. Liking, commenting and sharing the messages of your target market and influencers will strengthen connections.
  5. Spreading negativity. Would you refer business to someone who’s always negative? Someone who frequently complains, rants about perceived injustices or makes fun of their clients or peers? I wouldn’t! People want to do business with nice people. Be nice!
  6. Not respecting the 80/20 rule of social media. The first word in ‘Social media’ is social. It’s expected that you’ll share 80 percent personal content. (Personal as in personable—not private!) Only 20 percent should be business. On a dedicated business pages you don’t need as much personal information but give 80 percent and sell only 20 percent.
  7. Not posting your business or company information. Oddly some people fear appearing ‘salesy’ so they don’t make their business info easy to find. If people don’t know or remember what you do they aren’t likely to think of you when they need your product or service or have a chance to refer someone to you. List your business name and contact in your profile. Occasionally linking to your website, blog, product or business page can easily be done without being pushy.
  8. Not having a recognizable profile photo. Photos of babies, puppies or your team logo are great to post as show your personality but your profile photo is what people see every time you post, comment or share. They need to be able to recognize your face. For business pages you’ll want a professional headshot.
  9. Getting political. Be very careful about sharing political post. Appearing dogmatic or extreme can easily turn off prospective clients and keep people from referring business to you. Even if you’re diplomatic enough to give an opinion without vitriol you can’t control what comments people leave and how the conversation turns. Personally, I miss the days when I didn’t know the political affiliation of everyone around me.
  10. Being boring! Social media is like a huge party where people are coming in and out, having conversations and sharing stuff. If you’re always serious and bland you’re missing an opportunity to show your personality and connect with people.

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Are you cruising around on social media or driving where you want to go?

Social Media sites are vehiclesWhen I was a teenager my sister and I loved to go riding around in town. (Just like in the movie, American Graffiti!) We’d go to the little nearby town and cruise from the square to the Tasty Freeze and back around. Loop after loop; for hours. We wanted to see who else was there and what they were Continue reading