Wanderlust Traveler | Monique from Monique van der Walt

When someone is adventurous as Monique, there’s no way you don’t feel like you on that adventure with her. Her love for landscape beauty invites you into another world; full of wanderlust desires. 

In my latest project, Wanderlust Traveler, I’ll be featuring travel bloggers and enthusiasts who constantly remind me how beautiful South Africa really is. They will be sharing their experience, photo essays and tips on local travel and, get you a little bit more excited to travel more.

1. Tells us more about Monique van der Walt and, why you created your blog?

I don’t quite know what to say when people ask what I do. But at the moment I call it Social Media Tourism.

After years of climbing the corporate PR ladder, I fired my boss, turned my back on the world of suits and ties to hit the road less traveled – to fulfill more of my life’s purpose. I started this journey saying, “I don’t know what I will end up doing, but I am trusting God to guide me to where He wants me,” and already so much has changed since I began. I turned my back on city life, sold my flat and went off the grid; buying a fixer-upper in Kwazulu Natal (KZN)

I threw myself into building my brand, photographing and posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and more recently finding and sharing quality brands to promote South Africa and more specifically, KZN.

My creative blog (melancholymons) was born when I studied writing for the web in 2011. Since then I have a corporate PR blog, and most recently the blog of my journey moniquevanderwalt.com. My blogs now cover everything from poetry to autobiography excerpts, random articles to travel and photography.

2. What does travel mean to you and, where does your love for travel come from?

My love for travel is inspired by:

  • Growing up, my father would tell stories of when he started his business and drove through South Africa selling door-to-door. From the rolling planes of the Transkei (Eastern Cape) to the rolling farmlands of Kwazulu Natal.
  • As a family we took many trips; overseas and local. I did American schooling, so I find I missed out on a lot our South African history and heritage. Now it is like I am a sponge, soaking up South Africa, and I can’t get enough of our diverse and rich culture. Travel is the best way to experience this.

3. What is your planning tips and budget tricks when going a holiday?

  • When I travel, I do a google map route (if I am going to an unknown area). But otherwise I do not plan much at all, because the best things happen spontaneously.
  • Budget tips: freewheel as much as possible.
  • Pack your own snacks and drinks or shop on the go, supporting locals.

4. Your most memorable trip and, why?

In September 2016, I packed my life into my Hyundai Atos (including my cat and tarantula) and drove (straight through) from Cape Town to Durban (around 18 hours). A friend flew down to drive with me so I could capture and share the entire journey on Social Media. It was the most hardcore, worthwhile and memorable trip of my life.

5. Any general trends affecting travel these days?

Authentic Experience Travel, Rural Tourism and of Course the #WeDoTourism initiative launched at Indaba 2017

6. Your favourite foods to eat while traveling?

I have strange eating habits (vegan plus occasional fish) so I prefer to self-cater (and its healthier for the wallet). I find local markets and stalls which often have the best selection of raw foods. I love to braai, and have discovered many delicious combinations of braaied fruit and veggies.

7. What equipment do you travel with?

On long trips I would need – Canon 80D camera body, lenses, 2 x phones (for use of different networks depending on the nearest tower), 3 x powerbanks (one of my signatures is Same-Day-Share, so every picture I take gets loaded and shared on 3 platforms asap) Laptop and laptop powerbank.

8. Worst holiday so far and, why you won’t recommend it?

I have not had a bad holiday, by the grace of God, but I do have a bad travel experience to share. In the mid 90s, our family travelled to San Francisco for my sister’s wedding. I was only 8 years old, and this was my first international flight. One of the flights was incredibly busy, meal time was a blur of shuffling stewardesses and hurried food carts. The meal was served and, the veggie lover that I am, I was delighted by the section of peas on the plate. I took the first mouthful, and to my surprise my mouth caught alight. Alas they were not peas, but green peppercorns! We were seated in the middle of the plane, and the volume of passengers prevented quick delivery of any relief. Needless to say to this day I avoid any sort of peppercorn, including black pepper.

9. Any advice to people who would like to start traveling?

Travel doesn’t have to be a fabulous and pricey trip overseas. Travel can be a 10 minute trip to town, a 2 hours journey to the coast, or a cross country road-trip. There’s so much to love and share in the world. Look for it and you’ll find it.

10. Where can we find you? Social Links, Blog, etc

Twitter: Monique_PR_
Instagram: Monique_PR_
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/buildingqualitypartnerships
Facebook: Monique van der Walt
Blog: moniquevanderwalt.com

Until the next adventure.