A mix of all our India trips in 2017 as we create our first ever Expedition India adventure race. It was most probably the craziest thing to do but a great success!
Confessions from the Heart
Island of Rodrigues..who have ever guessed?
Tonight I am packing my bags as we fly to Rodrigues tomorrow morning another "I cant believe it"
Just for those of you who is not sure where this island is: Rodrigues is a very small island off the coast of Mauritius. We fly first to Mauritius and then connect to Rodrigues and it looks apparently like the picture in this post...so lets see for ourselves!
If we pull this off it deserves its own writing of how we came about it, but for now we were invited by their Tourism to come and explore, discuss and see if we can host a future Expedition Africa on the island and surrounding islands. This might just be our venue for 2019?? soon we will know if we can do it!
Its easy to pack this bag as it contains mostly a few bikini's, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes and Expedition Africa branded T shirts! and a few hot numbers for sunsets! I am way passed my bed-time thus the saying "getting my beauty sleep" is not taken into consideration.
Its only a few days but lots of excitement as our video and camera crew will be with us to capture the action.
Follow us from tomorrow as we will share our travels with you on all our social media platforms and hopefully entice you to join us in the future:
Instagram: @ heidikinetic and @expafrica
Twitter: @kineticeventsZA and @KineticHeidi
For the love of adventure, travel and all things beautiful I say goodnight and farewell!
Life just seems to have run away with me last year. I just could not get away for a few moments to update the blog and as a result I am a few “chapters” behind.
We have a full life and sitting back thinking about all it is very overwhelming and I am sure for most people a bit much… but for those of you following the Muller’s life of adventure you may know that a life of adventure is so fulfilling. Enjoy a few writings of our adventures still in 2016 as I am playing “catch up” before the big travels of 2017 start.
Thailand “always my favourite”
When in doubt where to travel to, just go to Thailand.
This is what I have decided early in 2016, when I suddenly received an amount of money from a long forgotten photoshoot.
What a pleasant surprise when my agent called me and said we are going to pay your money into your account … A few things run through your head when something like this happens:
Then the tantalising thoughts ran through my head:
No – don’t fix the pipe at home, or the leaking roof, or the bumper of your car, and this list of what one should do will always be endless.
It took me a few hours to make up my mind (ok let’s be honest it took me a few seconds) and I started to search the Internet for flight tickets:
I did not share this “little” trip with my husband; I only asked if I could take us away for 10 days. He must have thought I was joking at that time. Actually, I don’t think he gave it another thought.
I thought that this would be part of our 40th and 50th Birthdays, which were also in July.
Firstly I had to sort out the dates so that we could escape between our events. Then I had to figure out the cheapest options to get there. We have been to Thailand several times before, so I wanted to combine the travel to Thailand with at least 2 other destinations which would be new to us.
Khaolak and Phi Phi were my selection, as all travellers know the best part of a trip is in the Planning. Hours spent on the internet, hunting for specials and reading reviews. This part of the job I love!
Before I knew it we were on our way back from Expedition Africa and as we were driving back. I thought that NOW is a good time to share this little bit of information with him! At first he did not believe me, but of course this was the best thing that I could have done for us, especially after this draining event!!
We needed a getaway Holiday and that is what it was. The kids were so excited as they would be flying overseas!! They could watch movies through the night and sleep when tired. They were the perfect age to manage the long flights as we went via Dubai. We landed late in Phuket and got a transfer to the Centara Seaview Resort Khaolak.
It took me a few minutes to negotiate a private car as it was another hour’s travel and it was already past 8pm. I was so busy before we left that I could not manage to book a transfer before departure but in Thailand everything is easy to get as long as you can negotiate and take your time.
As we arrived at this magnificent Hotel, I knew that this was the best thing I could have done with my money. At the end #itsallaboutthememories
We arrived at our hotel at 10:00pm and they kept the beach front restaurant open for us to have a meal. Sitting on the beach with my feet in the sand, a slight breeze running through my hair and my children running around overjoyed, it felt surreal. My heart was filled with words of love and contentment. I love travelling. I love diversity. I love Thailand.
Our time clock was out and we woke up at 11am the next morning, missing breakfast. When I called reception to find out about, they said don’t worry they would keep breakfast open for us as long as we are there in the next 5 min. Again sitting on the beachfront, seeing in day-time the beauty of this magnificent hotel and the setting of this spot, filled us with amazement. Another fantastic thing of Thailand is that the water is warm. Luke warm for people like myself. It’s the only place I can actually stay in the pool and sea for hours as I don’t feel like freezing after 5 min. We spent the whole day either in the pool or on the beach, playing or sleeping, as we only then realized how tired we were.
I think we slept for the first 2 days as we were trying to re-charge our batteries after our Expedition Africa event. Another great thing of Thailand is that you can get a wonderful oil massage around every corner. You can drink a fresh squeezed fruit juice with ice at every corner. My children love fresh fruit, especially watermelon and mango - this was the best daily treat for all of us.
We included an Elephant trek and the bamboo rafting down the river. We walked the streets, ate the local food and tried everything new to us. The weather was good, it was out of season and quiet, so we loved it. It felt like the place belonged to us. This side of Phuket is absolutely lovely and I will definitely go back to explore more of the northern parts of KhoaLak. We could not fit in more and sadly had to move on to our next destination.
We took a transfer back to Phuket and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Patong beach. We loved the shopping, street markets and energy of the streets. Poor Stephan had to carry Isabella most of the times as we decided to leave the pram at home and she could not manage all the walking. We left our bags at our Patong Hotel and only packed an overnight bag to travel to Phi Phi. Just the ferry trip to Phi Phi was an adventure with lots of tourists and excited kids running around. Arriving at the port on Phi Phi was chaos, everyone was just scrambling to get off the ferries with big suitcases and no one knew where to go. But in Thailand you never need to worry. You just stand for a bit and soon someone will come with a signboard and take you to your hotel. I booked 1 night at the PP Princess Resort which is 50 m from Lo Da Lam Beach and in the centre of town. It was wonderful trip and kids could explore everywhere. We loved the food, the night life, the warm water, ice juices, Singa beer, shopping, humidity and the carefree feeling!! We climbed to the view point, hiked over the mountain down a magnificent single track down to one of the secluded beaches. It was island style as you cannot ask for anything better than that. By then Isabella was sleeping on Stephan’s back, we put her down under the trees while we ate another wonderful Thai meal and mommy had time for a little tanning.. need I say more!
We decided to stay for 1 more night and explore another part of the Island. We booked at the Phi Phi Natural Resort, Long Beach. It was magnificent and you can see by our photo’s that it was another day of bliss on a white sandy beach.
10 days was good just to get our minds ready for work and to revive our energy!
Will do this again and again and again… If only a surprise cheque will jump out of the closet every year!!
Travel light as you don’t need much in Thailand and can buy anything easily. If you want to visit Islands, go on smaller boats but travel with a soft bag/backpack and not a big hard suitcase. You can’t pull little wheels over sand. Travelling with children is very easy and highly recommended. Just do it.
The only things I could not manage to fit into this trip was a Thai Cooking class and Thai Boxing session. Reasons for going back!!!
To organise an International Adventure Race in Thailand…imagine that!!
#itsallaboutlove #travelleratheart #fortheloveoftravelling #adventure
The Garden Route truly offers a the perfect playground for this year's Expedition Africa. Over 50 teams we graciously welcomed by the beautiful sunrise whilst they got ready for their wet start of the 544km adventure race.
Day one of the self supported and navigated challenge proved to be an exciting one with a kayak start at the Knysna Waterfront. Teams paddled towards Thesen Island hastily, taking on their orienteering leg, in order to collected their next map and plot their next route. The Merrell Adventure Addicts took the lead upon the water, with Sweco Adventure (SWD) in tow followed by Naturex (FR).
Within the first hour of the race, it was evident that the Merrell Adventure Addicts (RSA) were on their way to defend their winning title. However supporters cheered on another local (come-back) team; Featherbed Painted Wolf (RSA) as they stole the lead from the reigning champs during the trekking leg to Brenton-on-Sea.
This year's day one featured multiple legs; a 10km kayak, a 13km trek within the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a 17km Kayak incorporating a sea paddle. A 30km cycle followed suit through to T4, where teams took off on the 58km trekking leg into the Outeniqua Forest.
The sea paddle was later cancelled due to high seas and heavy waves which rolled in resulting in complete carnage as almost every team swam to shore; paddles in hand when trying to navigate the channel through to the Goukamma river. "We took a sneak through Buffles Point and got slammed by a massive wave. That was nearly our race over!" shares Mark Collins of Featherbed Painted Wolf (RSA).
Local knowledge proved to not be so advantagous, however the heavy swell did not stop their determination to lead day one. Moreover the adventurous day ensured not only the leaders ran into trouble, but team Gungho (USA) lost their passport during the coastal trek in Leg 4 as they were slammed by a rogue wave. Due to some quick thinking a team member hastily retrieved the passport ensuring their race would continue.
The majority of the teams pack will race throughout the night in pursuit of reaching Transition Five before the end of day two. Featherbed Painted Wolf still hold the lead for the moment However, numerous routes and the bitter cold might catch them or chasing teams off guard resulting in an even more interesting day two.
Expedition Africa 2018 Taking shape
Namaqua West Coast will not disappoint. This beautiful and different destination only 4 hours away from the city of Cape Town is an ideal adventure racing destination. Its rugged, remote and with vast variety it gives us the opportunity to create a route not to be forgotten.
Epic legs will surely ensure that every person will have moments they will treasure forever.
We are now on our 3rd week and travel extensive kilometres to go find these remote spots. Today we off on another Trekking leg and if its close to the last Trekking leg we are surely in for many hours in the mountains and I better get my gear sorted. If this means another night under the stars I wont complain as the previous hike is still fresh in my memory.
It was beautiful, slow moving forward as most of it was either jumping over rocks or crawling through the bushes to find an animal path. We were trekking in severe heat and luckily found several pools. I did not care at that moment how clean the water was I jumped into the pools like it will be my last swim and drank the water as it was a cocktail. We had to crawl under a tree midday to escape the heat. At that moment we knew we will not make our end destination and will just push through and see how far we will get. Around 9pm we decided to camp out and found a soft sand spot. The stars and the moon was shining so bright I had to put a cloth on my face as it was like a spotlight. It was magical. It was as close as you can get to God and I had a wonderful time having conversations with myself, God and the universe..while Stephan was softy snoring next to me.
How blessed am I... thankful for my wonderful life. A life filled with adventure, glam and all things beautiful. A life with trail running shoes, Mountain biking shoes, slip slops, high heels and my favourite: bare foot! My heart is overflowing and my only wish is to be saved a few more years to be there for my children! Nothing else matters.
I hear my name and have to go...
Off we go on another Trekking leg and I will come and give you feedback on our return.
Go make memories my friends and you will NOT make it by sitting at home.
This event is our first event after your 500km Expedition Africa event in Swaziland and is our Start of the New season. Normally we can get a cold front and as our South Africans aren't really geared for Winter conditions I normally just pray for a warm weekend! The Vaaldam kept to our promise and without any incidents the event run smoothly.
Again we had a fantastic group of Volunteers and friends giving their weekend to us!! Ian and Kerryn had most probably the best transition spot on the Island and made the most of this beautiful hide-out by camping out in style!!!
We had another beautiful Game Farm as the Bike to Hike transition and with a big Boma camp fire teams went out with the full moon to do a beautiful Hike on this Game Farm. I don't think many Game was spotted as it was dark but when we did the scouting trip we ran into plenty of Buck.
As you will notice, we had photographer Terence Vrugtman booked for this event and the photo's is just magnificent!! Go to our Kinetic Africa Events Facebook page and see all the images under the Full Moon Vaaldam Album.
As always I struggled through the night to keep my eyes open see a few photo's below...and was after packing up on Sunday again "kiss boude"
Thank you again to all involved in making this weekend so special.
The Thadlado Marimba Band festively welcomed all 39 Expedition Africa teams to the Cape St Francis Resort where they received their first set of maps before attending the event's opening ceremony.
After receiving the vital information regarding this year's exciting 500km adventure race at last night's race briefing, teams completed their compulsory gear check this morning. They were required to report to various stations providing their helmet, whistle, headlight, space blanket, waterproof jacket, life jacket, sleeping bag/bivvy bag, kayak glow stick, rope work equipment, medical kit and compass before meeting up for the flag parade.
The Cape St Francis beach was festively decorated by an array of international teams waving their respective countries flags all the way through to the Cape St Francis lighthouse. The local community cheered on participants and their families as they walked leisurely along the beach from the Cape St Francis Resort.
Keeping local communities at heart, race organisers Heidi and Stephan Muller selected SANCCOB as 2017's community project beneficiary. Cape St Francis is home to the Eastern Cape's Southern African Foundation for the Conservation and Coastal Birds, and specialise in building a better future for the endangered African penguin and other sea birds the organisation cares for.
A member representing each competing team placed a plaque upon the Expedition Africa landmark that will remain in the lighthouse grounds for years to come. Athletes and their families where then welcomed to visit the SANCCOB sanctuary where they had the opportunity of adopting a penguin in support of SANCCOB's work in the area.
Athletes and their families were able to enjoy their final Saturday afternoon before the chaos of this year's 500km adventure race hits the Cape St Francis Resort. Team captains have now had the opportunity to copy the control points off the master map and question any concerns that could arise along the route.
All 39 teams will meet on the Cape St Francis beach tomorrow morning ready for their beach start at 07h00. Teams will trek through to Port St Francis where they will then endure a sea kayak through to the Kromme River. There are many participating teams competing for a podium finish, which will account for an exciting dot watching experience for all supporters following the event via the live tracking site; www. expafrica.live. Supporters will also have the opportunity of watching the exciting start live via the Kinetic Event Africa Facebook page from 06h45.
Teams are in for an rugged yet beautiful race, bringing adventure racing back to its roots. "Teams will trek, kayak and cycle through extremely remote areas, venturing where few humans have set foot before. Expedition Africa 2017’s teams will explore through magnificent mountain ranges and onto beautiful coastlines of the Eastern Cape," said race organiser, Stephan Muller.
It has now been over 3 months since we finished our beloved event, Expedition Africa, which took place along the Garden Route. We spent 1 week per month, prior to our event, in and around this area in preparation.
I have been sitting with this “post-race” write up for a while and just cannot find the words to express what is happening in my heart… it is a mix of emotions.
It was truly a wonderful journey to put something of this scale together and to spend a few months in this wonderful part of South Africa. The moment that will never be forgotten was when all our teams spread out in front of us on the Knysna Lagoon, as we were standing on the pier in front of the Cruise Café. There was lots of excitement with photographers pushing each other to get the best shot and some of them were even on the boats to follow the teams. The horn blew and off they went. The wheel was rolling and you could not stop it.
While it is a non-stop race for our teams, it is a non-stop race for us, until the last team crosses that finish line. It is a year’s work culminating in the final stretch and afterwards the only memories you have left are the images and the videos. Sadly, this year I walked away empty. You know when a tap runs dry……. my tap ran out this year.
I function on love and I give love unconditionally. That is my thing. It is like adventure racing, its non-stop, and my river of love can never dry up (that is what I thought). Nevertheless, this year I walked home after prize-giving, looking at my husband and my heart was broken. We packed in silence, said our goodbye’s, farewells and thank-you’s, collected CP points. We were still sleep deprived, but tackled the 15-hour trip back to JHB, most of which was done again in silence and I can just remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not stop thinking, why am I doing this? Why am I giving my soul to this? Why am I putting myself out there?
I had no words, nothing. I was just in turmoil with my thoughts and myself.
Now as I sit and open the photo galleries and the videos; my heart swells up with emotion… emotions of happiness, of sadness, of pride and utmost respect of the team of people who went out of their way and worked through-out the night with us to create and capture this “masterpiece”. The most amazing people who just gave it their all!
I mean where in the world do you find people working throughout the night? In the cold, fighting the sleep monsters, trying to keep it all together. Letting us know when the truck leaves, when it arrives, what boxes are short, which teams are close, how far the truck is along. They get worried… the gear does not arrive, the cups run out; we need more milk, then toilet paper. What next??
How can we help? the logistics car has broken down, how can we make plans? We need wood here, we need a marshal there, and we need a gate unlocked but cannot find the farmer, and then most important of all, WE ALL NEED SLEEP… How, just how, can I ever explain this world of intensity, responsibility, problem and crisis management to any person? You cannot prepare for it. You cannot just go and sleep and leave it to someone else to sort out. Once that wheel is rolling you cannot stop it!!
It is the one week in your life where you cannot think of anything else. Its 200% focused energy. Once you have all the balls in the air, you have to remember when was the last post made about this sponsor and a tweet about that sponsor? Did this happen and then that? When last did Stephan sleep? Or eat? Or does anyone know where he is? And where is Ian? And Jose? And there it goes again...
Finally, I move to the finish and our teams start pouring in… I wait for them, all of them. In the beginning, there is lots of excitement as the first teams arrive, with lots of supporters. Then the night becomes lonely and I stand mostly alone with one brave volunteer who is standing half asleep with me. Standing under the stars with a blanket wrapped around my body looking into the silence of the night. How beautiful is this?
I can hear the strokes of the blades as a team is nearing the finish line and then I can see them … Hopefully I am standing with the right country’s flag in hand, music pumping in the background and it is tears of achievement, of greatness, of proudness and just LOVE. Love for people and love for the incredible sport that pushes every person further than the body can do… it pushes your mind and shapes you as a person. It makes you think about yourself, your life, and the things that are really important in life.
I look at every person and I see their pain and smiles, I see, for that few minutes, emotions which not a lot of people have ever seen. I see and understand what they feel and I can see the “change” … it is a pure raw emotion and my privilege to share those first moments.
It is a humbling experience to know that we created an event/experience and that I know will be part of someone’s life forever. We create memories. What is life without memories?
I knew we had to get away after this magnificent event…
Time heals most things. Only time and as our event was on the one hand a massive success and we had massive reach and ratings, it was sadly overshadowed by things we had to address that were out of our control. We had to enforce penalties, upset friends and handle conflict which I Hate!! You can only learn from it. In the end, you still walk away with an empty soul. I was instead of celebrating sad. So sad, emotionally drained and tired.
Our event touched lives. We got so many emails afterwards from volunteers, participants and marshals who told us how expedition had changed their lives and enriched their soul.
I came to the conclusion after some “time out”…. I have put a year of love into this event and my heart walked out empty. Nevertheless, I have a lifetime of memories, memories that nobody can take away from me. Memories filled with time with my children on the beach, kayaking with Stephan on the rivers and hiking along the most beautiful coastline ever. Memories of challenges to get approvals and then amazing memories of discussing our Community Project where we made the Mosaic Landmark and donated the money to the Masithandane Bursary Fund. I gave an afternoon to the young girls at the Kranskop community showing them the finer things in life and helped to build their confidence. We raised money for children who do not have food or transport to go to school. Nobody can take any of those memories away from me. I gave it my all.
A mom who is a friend of mine on Facebook (our children used to be in the same school), came to me and said: “Wow I saw your event and had a look into it and now I see why you are always so busy….”
“It must be so amazing to be the creator of something so special and amazing!” she said.
I closed my eyes ... it hit me… Thank you! Thank you God! Thank you for putting me in a position where I can create something where people can go and “explore”, find themselves, push themselves and feel FREE!! Her words are humbling; sometimes a few words like this from a stranger can change your whole perspective of how you look at things.
I started reading the race reports, and it was a healing process for me. We went away, I switched my phone off, laptop off, I started dancing again, laughing, and running in the rain… I found my “Mojo” again… I looked at my husband with a heart full of admiration and love! I am so proud of him and the man he is and that we can share this love together.
I look back and only see the beautiful things… we made special friends and had the most amazing crew around us who worked their asses off to get the best images, video moments, transport boxes/boats etc. They worked through the day and night not for money but – for us Heidi and Stephan Muller. No money will ever be enough to pay them. They do it from the heart and that is what Expedition Africa is all about. It is more than only a race… its Love!
To every person who was part of the event it does not matter how big or small, you gave in time and in love, we do see it and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!! Thank you for giving your time and for working so hard at an event where most of you hardly know me and Stephan. Thank you for sharing our love and for the sacrifices you have made for Expedition Africa!! May this event be in your life and heart for all the years to come and hope to see you again at the Start of Expedition Africa 2017? I extend this Thank you to every sponsor, venue and institution who were involved and supported us. Thank you for believing in us and making our event just better and better!! Lastly the thank you to our family who is our greatest supporters in love and time where our whole family was there this year to come and help us. Isn't that just so amazing to have this support system!! I am truly the luckiest girl!!
Yes, soon we will announce the Host venue for 2017. If we inspired you this year, book your dates for 12 May – 21 May 2017 and we will meet again! I am excited as my heart is filled with love and energy. To go out and to put together another World Class event that will give you memories for Life!
I am in the business where I give love unconditionally, I will always believe in love and I will always organise our business with love #itsallaboutlove “loving life with abundance”
Otherwise, we waste each other’s time…
As nothing else matters to me…
(I tried to get a photo of most of the people who were involved this year but could not get from all, but just know that I love all of you. See more pictures in the "confessions from the heart" photo album)
until we meet again..