Our guest on CHICA Travel is an adventurer of note, Nondumiso Sangweni who shares all about her travel experiences and passport gang membership!
LeloB: Who is Nondumiso & what do you do?
Nondumiso Sangweni: Young South African woman who is in constant wanderlust with life. I am a Construction Manager for an Asset Management company in Johannesburg.
LeloB: Tell us about your first trip & what about it got you to enjoy traveling?
Nondumiso: Thailand & Hong Kong! I went with my friends and it was so good to completely forget about the life I had in SA and become anonymous in a different country. We partied every day, ate so much, explored different islands with exotic beaches, got to meet people from different countries (PS: we going to Peru in September for a friend’s wedding that we met there a few years ago). And Thai people were so warm and welcoming.
LeloB: Wow, you sound like the ultimate travel partner. How do you decide where to travel next?
Nondumiso: This sounds so weird I know, but I just grab the world map and choose whatever country based on whether it will be their winter or summer when I get there. I’m more of an explorer, give me a good city where I can shop till I drop, exotic beaches and rich architecture, the latter always do it for me though.
LeloB: Doesn’t sound like you budget for your travel then?
Nondumiso: I’m that person who is always carrying a lunchbox at work even on payday, just to save that extra rand. I buy clothes and shoes on sale, otherwise my wallet is stashed somewhere deep. I’ve reduced eating out a lot, I turn to hang out with friends at markets now, compared to meeting at some expensive restaurant. Save, save, save, it is possible! Open a 32 day account or unit trusts and put something away every month. Hotels are not the only form of accommodation, try AirBNB, rent an apartment.
LeloB: Wow, that’s incredible. So when travelling, what do you spend the most money on?
Nondumiso: Do check the currency of the country you are visiting, compare it against the Rand, USD. Stop converting everything to rands before you buy it i.e small things such as coffee, water otherwise you will not eat……okay maybe for big purchases like designer shoes, bags you can convert to our currency. And stop over-planning your trip, for some days, just go with the flow and explore the city on foot. When you go to markets negotiate don’t just take the first price they give you. Chat to the locals, ask them where they go for the best food in town, shopping etc.
LeloB: What do you absolutely have to pack?
Nondumiso: Camera, lip balm, comfortable sneakers (for all the walking), scarf(in case you visit any mosques or for those chilly nights), journal(sometimes)
LeloB: What has been your best trip/travel destination and why?
Nondumiso: Hahaha….such a tough question. It’s a tie between Paris and Morocco. Paris for its charm, chicness, class, glamour…you name it. I used to sit at a restaurant for hours just to watch people going on about their day to day activities, couldn’t believe how they could be so fashionable and classy every single day. Morocco for its rich culture, architecture (I’m in the construction industry, so for me this is important), art etc. I had a certain notion about North Africa but that changed completely when I got there, the people were so warm, genuine, filled with humility. Everyone was so helpful and they wanted us to feel at home. Morocco taught me that we might have different cultures, languages etc but beyond that we have so much in common as human beings. People in our continent might not have much to offer but they are always filled with so much love and gratitude, you will see it when you leave your cynicism at home.
LeloB: Tell us a bit about your worst travel experience. Where did you go & what was so horrible about it?
Nondumiso: Italy, the people were so rude and unfriendly, maybe I shouldn’t have stayed with the locals.
LeloB: Lol sorry about that. Money being no object, what is the one place you’d love to go to?
Nondumiso: Will definitely do a road trip through our continent from the Cape to Tunisia (via West Africa) or Fiji
LeloB: And who would you pick to go on that trip with you?
Nondumiso: These two friends, Nondumiso Mathenjwa & Refiloe Malete , simple because they are free spirited, open-minded, explorers of note.
LeloB: Thank you Nondumiso for sharing your amazing stories with us.
You can check out Nondumiso on IG @nondumiso_s | Facebook Nondumiso Sangweni | twitter @ndumi4k