Our Journey to Africa

Stephen and I met in 2007 in a small welsh pub called 'Tavarn y Bont 'on the north welsh island of Anglesey. How we met in Wales of all places is an entire new story on its own. But we won't go into it now. He was South African, I was Polish, both foreigners in a strange land. From the first moment we locked eyes with each other there was a spark and a connection. This was the start of our something special. In March 2011 we traveled together to South Africa - a first long haul flight for me and a first exotic holiday.

I didn't know it at the time but Stephen was planning a surprise engagement in truly South African style. We got engaged in a gorgeous bush lodge in the Pilanesberg. It was magical and everything I have ever dreamed of. I will never forget the feeling I got when I looked out of the viewing deck of the Tshukudu lodge. I felt like I was in the “out of Africa’ movie. The chills that ran down my spine when for the first time I saw wild elephants , just grazing without a care in the world was indescribable.

Having grown up in Poland the most exotic destination I dreamed of visiting was Spain. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would ever visit Africa. I remember on that trip saying to Stephen I could move to South Africa tomorrow. That was it, I got the Africa bug.

Nadia in Tshukudu Lodge Pilanesberg on the night of the engagement.

We moved to the south of England in July 2011 and got married in 2013. We lived our lives in the moment both climbing corporate ladders going on nice holidays and buying more expensive cars. You somehow think that surrounding yourself with stuff will fill a void you have in your heart, even though you may not realise yet that you have one.

In one of those moments when you feel you need to just get away from it all we booked a holiday to the Drakensberg, Durban and Nambiti Game Reserve. On one of our last game drive in Nambiti our game ranger Graham - who has since become a friend took us to a lookout point with a waterfall. I had an epiphany. What on earth are we still doing in the UK?! The wilderness, the bush, the birds the animals, the people and diversity, the cultures and all of the teething problems in South Africa, the crazy melting pot is what felt like home. This is where we belong! In the UK we didn’t truly feel like home, we didn’t feel settled, we hadn’t really put down roots. We have been married for more than two years and hadn’t planned for a family because we were not HOME and we wanted to start a family when we felt settled, truth is we never really did in the UK. Of course it has given us so much experience and opportunities that we would have never been able to gain anywhere else in the world. It gave us contact with different cultures, business experience, friendships that will last a lifetime. And for all that we will be eternally grateful. Yet it still wasn't our home.