Envisioning the Spirit of Africa
Ever since moving to the United States in my 30s I have always pined for my homeland, Zimbabwe. Having grown up in southern Africa, I feel so blessed to have experienced the beauty of the people, the land, and the wildlife of the great African continent. But what I eventually realized while living in the United States was that so many individuals, even avid travelers, never experienced the spirit of Africa. In that moment of realization, my vision came to life.
Vision, to me, goes hand-in-hand with one’s life purpose. When you can get clear on the purpose of your life, you’ll begin seeing the vision, or outcome, of what you want to achieve unfold before you.
After realizing that so many individuals have never experienced Africa, I knew that my life’s purpose was to share this beautiful continent and its people with travelers. I knew that if Africa had changed my life, it would undoubtedly touch the hearts of everyone else who visited. Thus, my vision was born: to help transform the lives of others by planning unforgettable journeys to Africa.
But it wasn’t just the lives of travelers that I wanted to help transform for the better; I was also driven to change the lives of the people and wildlife of Africa. And so, in 2002, I founded Hills of Africa Travel in the hopes of changing lives, one journey at a time.
Through a clear vision, I have been able to start and grow a business for more than 11 years. And yes, there are many, many obstacles I approach each and everyday that try to block my vision. But my passion and love for sharing Africa with others is too deep to let roadblocks squash my vision.
To me, vision isn’t something you achieve one day; it’s a journey you take that helps you to fulfill your life’s purpose.
During my journey, I have helped change the lives of countless travelers by planning unforgettable vacations to Africa for them. On these trips, travelers are able to experience new cultures, explore one of the world’s last natural frontiers, and simply soak in the inspirational spirit of this enchanting continent.
Another core element of my vision is to help change the lives of the local people in Africa. I send our clients only to accommodations that support the African communities and their environments to help encourage economic sustainability and stability.
These businesses and organizations that support the sustainable tourism model hire qualified locals as expert safari guides, chefs, grounds keepers, butlers, and other staff members in order to help stimulate the local economy and create community upliftment.
Many of these same businesses and organizations also sell locally made crafts in their gift stores, as well as establish and operate community development projects and wildlife conservation initiatives.
As part of my commitment to support these local communities, I started an annual Give Movement Journey with my business coach and dear friend, Suzanne Evans.
These transformational journeys include the opportunity to work as a collective in building a Habitat for Humanity house in Zambia, while collaborating with local Zimbabwean and Zambian women to help them build their own businesses.
Give Movement Journey participants often include business owners, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists who are eager to interact and network with other innovative leaders from around the world in a highly creative atmosphere, while giving back to the local communities through local business mentoring and Habitat for Humanity projects.
Without a clear vision, I would not be where I am today. The obstacles that I have come across over the years would have stopped me right in my tracks!
Some advice I would give to the next generation of female leaders is to stay strong to your beliefs and vision. And don’t get discouraged when roadblocks appear. They truly will only make you stronger for overcoming them!
I also know there are quite a few women out there who aren’t exactly clear on their vision. And that can be frustrating! My advice for those women is to create a list of things that you are passionate about and things you wish you could change in the world. Ask yourself questions like, “What frustrates me? What do I wish I could change in the world? What gifts do I have that I want to share with the world?”
It might take some time, but once you find your vision, stick with it. Don’t let uncertainty and fear stop you from bringing your vision to life. Whenever you make a mistake or fail at something, consider it a wonderful learning experience!