For those who know me…time for an update!!
For those who don’t….time for an introduction.
My name is Ingrid Geertsema, and I am Dutch by birth. I lived in the Netherlands until graduation from University in 2000, after which I gratefully buggered off to South Africa on holiday. The country rattled my very core, and upon my return to the Netherlands I did not waste time to focus all my energy towards a speedy return.
For the first three years I worked as a tour guide for Baobab Reizen, guiding Dutch groups on (camping) safaris through Southern Africa. My open mind and inquisitive nature had never been happier, and every day I fell deeper in love with Africa.
In 2004 I based myself permanently in Hoedspruit (gateway to Kruger) and until 2010 I worked alongside some of the most legendary guides and people at Transfrontiers Wildlife Walking Safaris. These years were filled with incredible adventures, meeting many interesting people, and making wonderful friends, but also hard and painful life lessons.
I started Backroads Africa in 2009 – at first with a partner, and later on my own – which was my bread and butter until 2020, when COVID decimated the travel industry. During the 10 years as a small business owner there was more time-freedom as well as many years of financial hardship. My income stopped in 2020 and this signalled the time to reinvent myself.
In 2013 a puppy walked into my life. Bug changed my life forever in more ways than one, but I will talk about him some other time, as he deserves a whole blog to himself :).
In 2018 I felt it was time to leave Hoedspruit, for numerous reasons. The increasing heat during the long summers was one reason, but deep in my heart I knew that I wanted and needed more from life still, and I had to leave in order to pursue that. This was also the year I chose to become a vegan – for the animals, my heart and my health – but more about that later too. I settled in Pretoria for two years as a half-way stop, which was an educational experience, but even before COVID took over our lives, I had already admitted to myself it was yet again time to move on. And Knysna was strongly on my radar.
COVID worked as an accelerator in all my decision-making. My first instinct was to get out of the City, away from the concrete walls, and towards a more natural environment where I have always felt happier and stronger. As a tour guide working for Baobab I had been in Knysna several times, and I remembered thinking at the time that I had wondered what it would be like to live along that beautiful coastline. On the 1st July 2020, just as our provincial borders opened, I packed my car and left. The rest of my ”stuff” was stored at a storage facility.
I am still in Knysna today, renting a small furnished place for the foreseeable future. I live with nothing more than my car, my dog and a few bits and bobs, and I am feeling more at peace than I ever have. I do not care for “stuff” and I value freedom, space and Mother Nature. I think I have found the place where I would like to grow old, but more about that later too.
If we haven’t spoken in a long time, please reconnect, I would love to hear from you!