Monday Musings Monday 12 October: There’s a snake in my boot!

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In October 1995, one of the most memorable animation films ever created was released, grossing over $373 million worldwide. The technology to pull it off did not exist at the time, prompting its Pixar creators to develop and execute a new era of 3D animation.  

If you haven’t yet guessed, that was indeed Toy Story, which introduced us to a timeless tale of unlikely yet loveable heroes (and plenty of memorable quotes). From pull-string cowboy Woody, to action-figure Buzz Lightyear, Rex the dinosaur and Mr Potato Head — Andy’s toys taught us the fundamental values of friendship, solidarity and acceptance of others.  

When we think of feel-good songs from the 80s or legendary films like Toy Story, we can’t help but feel a slight twinge in our hearts for a time before masks, tests and red lists. This is happening with many of us now, as we submit December leave, and try to confirm year-end holiday plans amongst clear-as-mud travel restrictions. 

This year, many of us won’t end up in places we expected or with all the loved-ones we intended to be with, but today we’re allowing ourselves to bask in the warm glow of nostalgia even if it’s where we were this time last year or the simpler era of our childhood we still sometimes ache to return to.  

You got a friend in me 

Image: Shutterstock

While it might seem illogical to some to look back on how things were, according to various studies, “nostalgising” — which researchers distinguish from reminiscing — actually helps us feel better. Looking back can actually help us move forward and serve as a self-soothing tool that can help us strengthen our self-purpose and regain a sense of continuity. 

Last week’s launch of the Springbok docu-series Chasing the Sun has taken many of us to a place of intense nostalgia — a simpler time where we laughed at memes of Faff de Klerk’s flowing mane and cried out in delight as Siya Kolisi raised the Webb Ellis Cup. It’s a fond memory for us all to look back on as we push through the last quarter of 2020.  

One thing we have all been missing is live sporting events which, like travel, or epic songs and films, never fails to bring people together. And while we can’t all rally at stadiums and arenas, we’re loving how the Stormers sang their hearts out in this tribute to the late Johnny Clegg. We also relished in the image of 2019 Comrades up-run record holder, Gerda Steyn, flying the South African flag at the London Marathon recently.  

We’ve watched in awe this past week how industry friends have rallied together, cutting through the confusion and moving heaven and earth to get South Africans back home or abroad to see friends, family and partners. It’s a sentiment best captured up in ASATA’s #backtotravel campaign launched at the start of the month. We know there’s a long road ahead, but take a moment to acknowledge your hard work!  

As we watch some travel return and gear up towards year-end holidays, ‘home and heart’ will be the main reason folks will travel now, and as predicted by Anita Mendiratta, Strategic Advisor to UNWTO and host of Africa Travel Week’s masterclass on COVID-world travellers.  

No kid ever loved his toys more than Andy in Toy Story, and on the subject of great kids, Joshua Roos (10) who lives with his grandmother, Manda, in Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape, started his own soup kitchen to feed the vulnerable and support various charitable institutions. 

He and his grandmother have together launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, to better serve their community by providing food parcels to young children and the elderly during lockdown. 

To infinity and beyond 

Image: Shutterstock

In the world of aviation, global airline giant Emirates resumed its flights to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport last Thursday. This came after the airline was forced to cancel its original resumption flight to the city last Sunday due to South Africa’s confusing COVID-19 travel regulations. 

On the subject of crossing borders with confidence, the New Zealand passport is now all-powerful according to the passport index. If you’re planning to head across the border sooner than December, here are the international destinations open (for now) and 4 ways you can travel safely for the rest of the year.  

Want to make sure that your desired destination is not going to be a COVID-19 hotspot when you get there? The COVID-19 positivity rate can serve as an early predictor the next coronavirus uptick — as shown in Johns Hopkins University’s per cent positive map of the US (as if there’s not already enough talk about red states and blue states in the lead up to the US presidential election!) 

A hot topic at the moment is still the infamous, and seemingly arbitrary, red list. And on that, the government has shown no willingness to budge, despite fierce lobbying. Read more from Business Insider on this travel snafu right here.  

At the moment, ATTA is calling for help to #OpenAfricanTravel and put pressure on the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office and Public Health England to apply the same foreign office travel metrics to African countries that are applied for the rest of the world. Sign their petition here

Lufthansa has returned to a ‘full travel schedule’ with flights to South Africa, and a number of other European airlines are set to follow suit. In thinking of our Deutsch friends, Cape Town and the Western Cape have launched the first phase of an international tourism campaign marketed to German business and leisure travellers. The campaign calls on them to ‘soweit weg fuhlen’ or ‘get that faraway feeling’ by booking their next trip to visit the Mother City. 

In this week’s Tourism Tuesday you can join the ‘South Africa is Travel Ready’ collective for a focus on the German market. Source market experts will offer insights into the sentiment in Germany, what the German market expect in a COVID travel world and more.  

Date: Tuesday, 13 October 2020 

Time: 17h00 (CAT) 


From Cape to Cairo, archaeologists recently discovered a treasure trove of ancient Egyptian coffins. This article offers some insight into how the country is trying to encourage the return of tourism. With plenty of positive news from Egypt circulating, it reminds us of the country’s ‘same great feeling’ campaign to encourage travellers back. Watch their recent video here

Reach for the Skyyy! 

When it comes to achievements worth celebrating right now, Big Ambitions, as part of the Afrika Yetu collective, are the current finalists in the UNWTO Africa Inspiration Challenge aimed at building a new tourism brand for the continent in the framework of recovery. 

Even if you’re feeling webinar’ed out, G-Adventures is currently hosting a series of online sessions that you won’t want to miss. They have a line-up of top-notch speakers including Dr Jane Goodall leading their next one.  

And as we roll through October, this is a solid read on how to spark creativity in your communication. From eating healthy to the two-minute rule, here are 33 productivity tips that will change the way you work and help you get that snake out of your boot!  

We’re not a fan of pulling people into meetings unnecessarily so in a world of Zoom, pin this up above your laptop or as a subtle reminder to ones who want to ‘jump on a call’ for almost anything… 

Image: Supplied

If you’re looking to brush up on your isiZulu watch Sakhile Dube, a safari guide in KwaZulu-Natal, sharing the intricacies of clicks within the language. It’s the best thing you’ll see all week! 

Lastly, as we wind down and wish for 2020 to be over, don’t forget to dust the toys off every once in a while and have a little fun. What goals can you still achieve before the year ends? Perhaps it’s reconnecting with old friends, making new ones or even simply blasting off into the unknown with total confidence in yourself (and a toy rocket strapped to your back). 

So long, partner! 

Stay safe & strong,  

The Big Ambitions Team