Candra, her husband Matt, and close friend Tawni, recently traveled to Southern Africa to celebrate Candra’s “special birthday”, combining land and water safari in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, with visits to our GS Giving Circle projects in Zambia and South Africa. Along the way, Candra had a lifelong dream come true- using her leadership skills to help empower young girls
We recently had the chance to speak with Candra about what made their trip so unique and special. Her perspective hits squarely upon what Global Sojourns tries to do- really hear what it is that the client wants out of the experience. As Candra put it, “Priscilla listened to my soul as opposed to my words. The trip was a reflection of my heart.”
Creating an exciting and unique trip for a couple who have “done it all” was our challenge. Global Sojourns doesn’t sell the cookie cutter trips and set departure itineraries that you can find on any Google search. Rather, with each client, we invest time into getting to the heart of what a client is looking for, what makes them tick and focusing on the experience rather than the destination. This is what produces trips filled with magical and life-changing moments. Candra and Matt’s recent trip was no exception. “Global Sojourns listened to every touch point. The guides, the lodges, the properties were so in tune to with what we were looking for. In Mana Pools, I was able to be near the water which I love and could watch the elephants swim. The camps were elegant enough to appeal to my love of design. The guides we were paired with were well matched with Matt’s deep knowledge of nature. If we had the knowledge and did it ourselves, we would have chosen exactly the same places.”
Attitude is also key to a trip being exceptional. As Matt expressed, they didn’t go in with set expectations nor a “check off list”. They let nature unfold and special moments emerge. We find that clients with this kind of attitude tend to have the most magical and memorable experiences.
A yoga enthusiast, Candra spontaneously began a morning “boot camp” with the guides, and created a yoga pose competition amongst the employees of Davisons and Ruckamechi safari camps – which they loved. “Priscilla’s encouragement allowed me to have my personality come alive!” She also led calisthenics workouts on the houseboat on the Chobe River. Everyone loved what she contributed during her stay. We have now learned that there is no reason one can’t exercise while on safari!
Apart from his “real job”, Matt is an avid photographer. Unbeknownst to him, Global Sojourns had arranged for Lynn, a professional photographer from Botswana, to surprise him onboard the Ichobezi House Boat. Lynn is not only a photographer but also a trained guide, so her knowledge of the animals, how to track and photograph them, not only enhanced Matt’s learning experience but created a friendship connection that will be long-standing. Later in the trip, Matt, in turn, had the opportunity to share his photography skills (and a new camera!) with a young boy in Zambia who is very interested in being a photographer someday.
“Having personal introductions throughout the trip such as spending an afternoon with an artist in his studio, listening to local school teachers talk about the challenges that girls face and sharing meals with specialist guides and hearing their stories are things that don’t happen on a normal trip.”
The pinnacle of the trip for Candra was being able to fulfill a lifelong dream. Candra is a Leadership Coach and Trainer and had a dream of sharing her gifts of leadership where they might make a difference in the lives of girls in Africa. We were happy to help make this dream come true. Teaming up with the GS Giving Circle, our partners in Livingstone, Zambia and Cape Town welcomed the idea of leadership workshops. Candra prepared for these with our partner organizations via e-mail before the trip. Candra led workshops with girls, staff and guidance counselors for Jikeleza and Ray of Hope. “When someone takes the time to see your gifts and helps serve them up, it makes all the difference. This is the confluence…bringing your gift to a place that needs them. “ Candra touched many with her special spark and leadership skills. From their time with her, the staff at Jikeleza was re-energized and gained many new ideas as to how they can help empower the girls in the townships around Cape Town. Thank you Candra!
In summing up what is means to take a Global Sojourns trip, in Candra’s words, “The itinerary that you designed could not have been more suited for us, from the choice of camps, time of year, activities, and especially to have you and Peter join us on the Ichobezi…..and if the safari camps, charter planes and special guests weren’t enough, then there was the behind the scenes view of the townships. The relationships and projects that Global Sojourns has cultivated provide immediate insight into what is the perfect sojourn guide and it is clear that this is your life’s passion and heart’s work.”
It was a tremendous pleasure to work with Candra and we look forward to her return visit!