Londolozi: "Protector of all living things." Dare I call it the jewel of South Africa? It was most certainly the crowning jewel of our visit to Jacques' home-country. Londolozi game reserve has many qualities worthy of a blog post, but what I found most striking about the people there was their clarity of vision. Every person we encountered at this enigmatic game reserve knew not just what they wanted, but why they wanted it. In Londolozi, the staff are not working for the usual reasons people seek employment. It's clear, from the first handshake you receive upon arrival, that this is a way of life and a labour of love.
Why do you do what you do? Why do you want what you want? These are questions that constantly plague my mind, so when I meet someone who knows the answer, I listen carefully.
Our game driver, Guy, said, paraphrasing a well-known quote, "When you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
I immediately exclaimed, "That's my life goal!"
Then, muttering as I gazed over the landscape in the setting sun, "I want to know what that's like." It was clear that both our game driver, and our tracker, Shadrach, loved their jobs.
The next day, Chris Goodman was talking with us about the vision of Londolozi's founders and staff. (To read/watch more about this, click here.) As he began to speak about preserving the land and protecting the wild life, his tone changed. His hands danced with his words as they spilled out of him. His eyes were clear and focused; locked in on the image within his mind that he was describing. This is what passion looks like, I thought. My heart quickened as he spoke of renewal, allowing, abundance... he was speaking of protecting the earth by letting nature take it's course, using words I've fallen in love with in the recent months leading up to this trip.
In excitement I told Chris that this was exactly what my passion is regarding health and wellness. Our bodies, like Mother Earth and her creatures, heal themselves when we give them the time, space and nourishment they need. The intuition of nature, like the power of our minds, is our greatest tool for survival. I believe that with the proper environment, we can not only survive, but thrive in abundance.
There are enough resources on this planet. Health and well-being are available to us. The only question is: are we allowing and facilitating our natural tendency to flourish, or are we trying to control, and therefore resist, the abundant life that is our birthright as living things?
The lessons that can be learned from observing the wildlife in Kruger National Park are ubiquitous. Spend more than a few minutes observing any two species, whether it be giraffe and zebra, lion and hyena, impala and oxpecker birds, and it's clear that life exists as it does because of these symbiotic relationships. We need to work together to succeed. Full stop.
There is an immense amount of pride and greed saturating the rat race that modern-day Western society is running. Independence, fame, and status are the jewels of the West. Conversely, in Londolozi, their values are freedom, harmony, dignity, trust, unity - just to name a few. Perhaps this is where that "Londolozi feeling" comes from. They respect those who have come before, appreciate the daily blessings they have (which they share with one another), and they look forward with eagerness to a brighter and more abundant future for the earth and everything living in it.
I'll admit, I am a little envious of such clarity. But who wouldn't want that kind of vision for their lives? Thank you, people and animals of Londolozi, for your inspiration.