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?

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.

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.

A Day With Women Supporting Women

Buckhead Club panel
Executive Women’s panel: Joan Herbig, Joanna Irwin, Myra McElhaney (moderator) Becky Blalock and Helene Lollis

This Wednesday, March 8th was International Women’s Day and some groups were calling women to stay home. Not work. Not shop. Not contribute. No show. Let the world see the economic impact of women not being available. I couldn’t stay home. Most of us couldn’t. We have jobs, appointments and obligations. Continue reading

14 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day Alone

213Many of my friends are single, divorced or widowed, like me. Some of them hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t.

Before I married at the ripe old age of 34 I was never the gal who was always in a relationship. In my adult life I’ve spent about as many Valentine’s Days alone as I have with a boyfriend or spouse. Continue reading

Do you see the tremendous treasure of time off?


Rooftop Toast!

Finding ourselves dateless and craving a stress free New Year’s Eve, my friend Susan and I decided to celebrate the passing of 2016 with a relaxing movie marathon sleepover.

We scheduled massages in the afternoon of the 31st, saw a movie and then she came to my place. We talked of life, shared stories, listened to music, made a sumptuous dinner of braised lamb shanks, and drank a little Champagne. (And by ‘a little’ I mean a lot!) Then we Continue reading

Atlanta Author Publishes Memoir About Rebuilding Life After Loss

Life You Love AFTER cvr medMyra McElhaney of Atlanta, Georgia released Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life on January 12, 2016 with a launch party at Georgia Public Broadcasting where Vikki Locke of LRK Media interviewed the author about her writing.

A writer and speaker before losing her husband Phil to a brain tumor in 2009; McElhaney was accustomed to using personal stories to illustrate ideas and techniques for business. After the loss of her husband, friends and associates began introducing McElhaney to other widows and widowers hoping she could help them to navigate through their grief. Those conversations prompted her to share her experience and insights in a memoir.

Using her trademark humor and irreverence, McElhaney opens the book with a chapter called, “In Bed with Jose Cuervo” and gives readers a brutally honest look at her roller coaster ride through grief. While sobbing in her Ben & Jerry’s, doing grief therapy with a professional and railing at God, McElhaney realizes that she wasn’t married to a dead man and just waiting to join him.

“Raw and honest and yes, even funny,” says TV Journalist/Author, Kimberley Kennedy. “If you are suffering loss, I urge you to let Myra’s story help you navigate the waters of this very difficult storm. She is bright, shining, living proof that joy does indeed wait on the other side.”

Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life is available on Amazon.com. You can learn more about Myra McElhaney’s speaking and writing at www.MyraMcElhaney.com.


“…with a little help from my friends.”

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other women who have her back.” Unknown

Sean, Myra, Vikki, Kimberley

Sean O’Keefe, me, Vikki Locke and Kimberley Kennedy

This has been one of the best weeks of my professional career. My tribe really outdid themselves.

On Tuesday, January 12th my memoir, Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life officially launched with an event at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

Musings coverIt’s Thanksgiving Day, the family’s all here. A time to give thanks for all things we hold dear.

The turkey’s been stuffed and put in to bake. Mama has made a chocolate pound cake.

There’s dressing, potatoes and a pot of green beans. This is the prettiest table that I’ve ever seen.

There’s cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie. There’s a squash casserole I can’t wait to try.

A pecan pie and a potato soufflé, I’ll just forget about my diet today.

There’s a jar of pickles, some macaroni and cheese. And someone has brought a big pot of peas.

Some sourdough rolls, hot with butter. “Is it time to eat?” I heard someone mutter.

Let Papa ask the blessing, make it short and sweet. I’m thankful for everything and I’m ready to eat!

By Myra McElhaney

(From my poetry book, Musings on Major and Minor Matters that May or May Not Matter, Published in2011. Available on Amazon.com)

  • What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?
  • Any favorite dishes?
  • Favorite Thanksgiving memories?

As always, I love your comments!


Coopetition Among Whales

Whales bubble-net feeding in Alaska
Whales bubble-net feeding in Alaska

I recently went on a whale-watching expedition while on an Alaskan cruise. We had seen one or two whales in the distance, blowing water high into the air, arching their backs just above water then diving with their tails flipping up as if to wave. Continue reading

Laughter as the “Yellow Canary”

In the old days miners carried a yellow canary into the mines with them as a primitive early warning system.

Dangerous gases could form easily in the mine if something upset the balance of the underground air. The little birds had sensitive respiratory systems so if just a small amount of the colorless, odorless, tasteless but deadly gas was in the air a canary would stop singing, began to sway and fall off its perch and drop to the bottom of its cage. It was said that, “If the canary hits the deck, the miners hit the exits.” Continue reading