Tourism Influencer of The Year 2017 Awardee – Aka Me

Remember this moment. 

You’re sitting in a large hall, dressed in the cleanest uniform you could find.

Your socks may be mismatched or possibly from 2 days ago, but let anyone say anything about that. 

Someone has taken extra care to make sure your hair was brushed at least once that morning and that your shoes are buckled.  

There is only a drop or two of breakfast on your collar, as opposed to the whole bowl. 

It’s Awards day at school, and you’re hoping for a trophy, even though a star will make you just as proud. 

Now come back to the Present Day.

You’re an adult. No ones, getting you ready in the morning. You’ve got to feed and dress yourself. Awards come in the sense of getting to work on time and hitting the deadline….or do they? 

If you’re feeling more like the latter on an average day and you haven’t felt like the kid in a long time, then you need to change your status quo. 

That’s what I did. 

Albeit the way it came about, wasn’t essentially by choice, everything after that, has been. I am so proud of what I have built and where I am. 

On the average day, I get to be the kid AND the adult. 

I have always wanted to Travel. It’s been my life long dream. I’ve always read about the rest of the world. It’s different cultures, it’s different animals, it’s different terrain, and it’s different people. Nothing on this planet enlightens me more. 

I’m not going to tell you about all the struggles, some which are still very much a reality. I won’t tell you about the long hours. 
Or how on your toes, not having a set income can keep you. 

People are still learning how to work with freelancers, writers, marketers, influencers etc. And while everyone works in different ways, please respect us enough to know that “exposure” doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.  

I won’t bore you with that, unless you ask me. 

I’m here to tell you, where I am now. And where I want to be for the next year. (Scrap the five year plans, they’re no longer relevant folks). 

Change.

In the last 4 years, I have competely changed careers. I have learnt new skills, new industries, new systems, and how to manage people in competely different ways. 
I have discovered my knack for communication and engagement, I have nurtured the unique traits within me, that have aided in the success of my brand. 

  • I have learnt self love and how to love others. 
  • I’ve learnt the hard lessons too. I have been under paid, or not paid at all. 
  • I have under valued myself. 
  • I have lost friends, and I have made new relationships. 

And most of all? Oh most of all, I have 100% confirmation that I am meant to do one thing for the rest of my life. Travel. 

I have worked on several projects lately, involving the tourism sector within my travels and business. 

  • It’s such an amazing art to be able to do what I love, and then share that experience via the social platforms I have built. 
  • It’s such an encouragement to be able to have a real impact on the Tourism of the towns, districts, communities and countries I travel too and from. 
  • It’s such an inspiration to be able to do business with like minded people in ALL the various sectors that make up Travel & Tourism. 

It is such a gift, to be able to be me. In a world, where me, hasn’t been allowed to be for most of my life. 

I’m not saying it comes easy, I’m not saying it will ever be easy, but they’re battles I am prepared to fight for? They’re bad days, I’m prepared to have, because I know the value of what all of this is to my life. I know the value of happiness. 

Responsibility. 

I live in a country that’s still much divided, whether people want to be honest about it or not. I have grown up in a world that’s evidently divided and have been subjected to some of the horrors that come with that.

I have also experienced such beauty, freedom, love, passion, nurture in this country. And I believe the world should see it, hear it, read it. I believe that about the world in general. 

With the increase in technology so comes the ease in sharing current events, or hidden gems. Somehow no matter where you are in the world, the negative seems to outweigh the positive. 

I believe we’re the ones who have the opportunity to change that. We have the opportunity to break the stereotypes to break the perceptions. 

365 Days Forward. 

So what’s my plan for the next 365 Days?

I want to do what I am doing right now. I want to be exploring the world. And I’m working towards doing that, and getting the tools to do so.

I feel there is still SO MUCH I need to explore in my own country, but that equally there are so many places around the globe, I intend to see before Christmas 2018. 

I want to work directly with as many tourism departments as I can. Meet with the decision makers in each town, region, country and talk about what they are doing and how they are doing it. 

Meet with the locals, the business owners and talk about what they invision, what they need, what they dream of, and how together that can be reached. 

There is a gift in being a traveler, but also understanding marketing and tourism. You get insights, that either party individually might not put together.

So what are WE doing? 

  • Are we going back packing? 
  • Are we going into the desert? 
  • Are we going cruising around the world? 
  • Should we cycle rather? 
  • Sky diving?
  •  Building a children’s home? 

What are we doing next? 

The Ugu South Coast.
I call this place my second home. I’m still exploring it. I still have much to learn. Every time I am in the area, my energy levels spike, my ears tune in to the sound of the ocean and my creativity, starts taking notes. 

Whether it’s getting myself mentally ready to Zipline over gorges and valleys, at Lake Eland for 2.5 hours. 

Or watching as the real adventure takers do the Wild Swing at Oribi Gorge, while I observe from at least 10 meteres away from the edge.  

Or if it’s simply taking a sunset boat cruise with the crew at Lush Adventures, while the guitars play, and Shumbas Howl sets the mood is up to you. 

There are so many activities I still need to try, I love the laid back, small town atmosphere about the South Coast. 

While in essence it’s anything but a small town, hosting events like the very successful South Coast Bike Fest, with some of South Africa’s top musicians and bands. The most adrenaline packed motor sport races, challenges and shows, and keeping you filled with delicious food stalls and home brewed craft beers. 

So to receive the award from the Ugu South Coast Tourism Board, for Tourism Influencer of The Year 2017. Well, the honor is mine.

The award means so much to me, not something to put on a shelf or hang on a wall, the impact is far deeper than that. (It might also be the Pineapple pants Tim). 

It’s something that adds a notch to my motivation bar. It lessens the emotions when I’m having a bad day. It encourages me to say Yes, more often and No when I need to. 

So a huge thank you. To EVERYONE involved in this moment. And I mean every individual, every business, and even to myself. For pulling myself through life sometimes. For believing in me. 

To follow all my travel adventures in real time, come find me on Twitter & Instagram
If you’d like to work with me, semd me an email HERE

*All images are my own* 

And As Always…. 

#LoveAndTravelHugs 

Cee

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