Originally from Atteridgeville, west of Tshwane, and now based in Johannesburg, actuarial specialist Mmanaka Kelobonye’s wanderlust has taken her to distant lands, with her passport looking like a traveller’s dream destination list. When she isn’t developing products in the life insurance sector or sharing her experiences on her site, mmanaka.com, she’s investing in life experiences in places such as the Bahamas, Spain and Burundi to name a few. Below is what she shared about her love for travel.
When did you discover your wanderlust and where has it taken you?
I’ve been a sucker for adventure since childhood. I can’t say at what point or age in my life I developed a strong desire for travelling. I grew up loving travel, even if it was a simple trip to my great-grandmother in Limpopo during school holidays as a kid. I loved the idea of going somewhere – I still do.
My curiosity has taken me to Cuba, Bali, Thailand, Singapore, USA, Mexico, Bahamas, Dubai, Spain, Italy, Kenya, Burundi, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho.
What inspired you to travel to the destinations you’ve been to?
It varies according to country. I was attending weddings in Kenya and Burundi; Thailand and Singapore was a trip with my mother and aunt; and I felt Bali and Cuba was fitting for a safe, solo trip. The Bahamas was inspired by romance, Italy and Spain was for spiritual reasons. Zambia was for work and I went to Botswana and Lesotho to visit friends.
How does travel influence your career and life?
Travelling broadens one’s perspective. A broadened mind is more able to be creative. I work in a space that requires just that. Travelling exposes you to experiences you could never have imagined, and these experiences have helped me grow spiritually. It also helps you get out of your comfort zone.
What’s been your most memorable experience?
Yikes! I have a few to be honest. Travelling overseas for the first time with my family to the US is one of them. We went for just over three weeks and travelled to a few states. We visited Disneyland, Hollywood, New Orleans, Washington DC, San Francisco and New York. I fell in love with NYC on that trip and it’s still my favourite city.
What do you never travel without?
A camera! Capturing moments is important. Cellphones have made life easier because you have the ability to take great pictures. Nonetheless, it’s still important for me to take my camera with me.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for female travellers?
Try solo travelling and you’ll be well acquainted with yourself.
Where to next and why?
I’m still undecided, but my soul is itching to travel to Morocco (both Marrakesh and Casablanca), China (I’d love to visit the Great Wall of China) and France (Paris and the north of France).
To see more of Mmanaka’s travels, follow her on Instagram: @mmanaka