A Much Needed Break

April 5, 2022
A Much Needed Break

by | Apr 5, 2022 | David Venter, Personal Blog, Travel Blog

As some of you may know; Due to my low income and struggles with mental health, loneliness, isolation, depression, autism, social anxiety, etc. I rarely leave the house, if ever. Over the past 10 years I’ve become such a hermit that even going to the supermarket for groceries has become somewhat of a daring and anxiety-inducing exercise for me. I would travel short distances occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean, once every couple of months) to visit a friend in the countryside for a weekend at a time, but other than that I really haven’t been getting out much.

I’ve been using Second Life as a way to escape, travel, and explore, albeit only virtually. As much as I hate to admit; the virtual world has failed to provide me with the kind of escape that I actually needed. Being stuck between the same four walls totally kills creativity, motivation and inspiration. I needed a real escape in the real world. Unfortunately, as much as I would love to travel on a regular basis, a real escape and traveling in reality isn’t something that’s often on the cards for me. I keep hoping and dreaming that some day things will change, and that I’ll be able to travel often and explore the world. I just don’t know what to do in order to break free and turn my dreams into reality.

A Much Needed Break

This past week, I’ve had the opportunity to go on a real vacation to a 5-star resort near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. At first I was hesitant; not wanting to leave my pets behind and feeling anxious about making the actual trip. But opportunities like these don’t come around very often and I desperately needed to get out of the house. Being stuck between these same four walls day-in and day-out is taking quite a toll on my already fragile mental health. I often feel stuck in a time-loop with very little motivation or inspiration for doing anything creative or productive. Days blend into one another and I often forget what day it is; feeling shocked when I realize that another month or two – or even another year had passed and I’m still sitting here; brain fog, depressed, lonely, uninspired, demotivated, and staring at the walls – wondering how it’s come to this and what the fuck I am doing with my life. A break was much needed.

I had to get away – away from these four walls; away from this town; away from this city; and away from everything. Teleporting my avatar to a scenic location in the virtual world just didn’t give me what I needed. I needed a real change of scenery. A much needed break away from everything, including virtual reality, was long overdue.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, many people are getting back into the traveling lifestyle they enjoyed before the pandemic. For me, the pandemic didn’t really change anything. I wasn’t a frequent traveller before the pandemic started. The way most people felt during the strict lockdown is basically the way I’ve lived and felt for the past 10 years. Imagine 10 years of a level 4 lockdown. The lockdown was nothing new to me. I was in a 10-year lockdown of my own making which resulted from losing the love of my life, and compounding mental and physical health struggles that caused me to completely lock myself away from society, having no social life whatsoever and rarely leaving the house. This really was a much needed break!

Kruger Park Lodge

After a long journey that stretched into the night; driving in the rain along winding roads and mountain passes, I arrived at what was my new home for the next seven days; A beautiful five-star self-catering chalet at the Kruger Park Lodge in Hazyview, on the banks of the Sabie river.

Upon arrival, a wave of calm, relaxation and a touch of awe and excitement washed over me. This is it! This is exactly the change of scenery that I needed. This is the kind of life and lifestyle I want to live. This is where I belong. I felt happy and free.

Truth be told; I struggled to actually relax and fall asleep alone in a strange new place but eventually, I did adjust to my new surroundings and got some sleep. Granted, I wasn’t entirely alone. I had my family nearby but it’s simply not the same as sharing such an experience with someone special or even someone that shares a similar world view. I’m often surrounded by family yet in those moments so still feel completely alone. Waking up to a different scenery than my bedroom at home was an amazing experience. I felt happy and actually excited to get out of bed and start the new day, knowing that great wonders are out there waiting to be explored. It was awesome! It would’ve been even more awesome if I had a loving partner there with me but I’m single as fuck and it was still awesome nonetheless.

I spent the first day exploring parts of the resort, enjoying some cocktails and mentally adjusting to the fact that I’m actually, finally, out of the fucking house again. It almost felt unreal. If you told me three months ago that I’d be there sitting at a five star resort sipping cocktails with the energy, will, and freedom to explore the world around me I wouldn’t have believed you. This felt absolutely unbelievable but it was happening. I was out of the house, far away from the city, experiencing a moment of the kind of lifestyle I could only dream of living.

My depression and negative thoughts flew right out the window and I lived in the moment; high on the moment; happy to be alive and excited about life – something I haven’t felt in a very long time. I almost didn’t even recognize myself. Could a simple change of scenery and a little bit of luxury really make me feel so different; so alive? Yes it can and it did! I was so connected in the moment that I didn’t even think about snapping selfies at every possible moment to show everything that I got up to – I was just enjoying it and it was good! If only I could find a way to do this frequently, and actually bring myself to do this frequently, what a wonderful life that would be.

I must’ve taken a total of four selfies during the entire time that I was away. Instead, my focus was on my experiences and my surroundings and boy-oh-boy, my surroundings made me feel as if I’ve been transported into a different realm. It felt like a fairytale with lush greenery all around me. I was high on nature. The Kruger Park Lodge resort has various walking trails. My favorite was the Hippo Trail along the Sabie river, ending at a large lake that feeds into the river (as pictured above in the featured image of this article’s header.) There is a whole family of Hippos residing in the lake. Unfortunately my phone camera only has 2x optical zoom (10x digital) so I couldn’t get high quality shots of the Hippos but I did manage to snap some for memory’s sake, and “Pics or it didn’t happen”, right?

My time at the lodge made me really happy. It wasn’t necessarily the lodge itself but more the fact that I was getting out, traveling, exploring, and experiencing a little bit of luxury. Money really can buy happiness, or rather; the experiences that only money can buy really does provide happiness.

Kruger National Park

The Kruger Park Lodge isn’t actually inside the Kruger National Park. It’s about a 15-minute drive from one of the gates. But what’s the point of staying so close to the Kruger Park and not actually going into the Kruger Park? I had to! I wanted to! On day four of my vacation, it was time for a Safari day-trip into the Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park Safari

I was once again living in the moment and forgetting to take selfies or even pictures of all the animals that I saw, but I did manage to snap a few good ones the few times that I did remember to whip out my phone.

I love wildlife and observing wild animals in their natural habitat. It’s a refreshing change from the made-up bullshit of human civilization. The irony is that we, as humans, are also animals by nature but we’ve conditioned ourselves into this structural society full of unnecessary and made-up bullshit, completely disconnected from our primal nature, natural behavior and natural instincts. This process is part of our evolutionary progress as a species but so much of society’s constructs and behavioral modification is completely unnatural and unnecessary. We’ve been conditioned to believe that everything that’s natural is dirty and that even our sexual nature is apparently wrong, shameful, or even illegal in some places. Our evolution as a society came at the expense of who we truly are at our core; free, natural, sexual, and “dirty.” It’s sad really.

I blame conservative evangelicals and believers of creationism for trying to turn humans into something that we’re not. At least times are changing, people are embracing scientific facts, waking up to the reality of our true nature and becoming more liberal beings; dropping religion and embracing human nature. I’m not saying we should be wild law-less creatures; we still need to live together in a functional society, but many aspects of our society are completely unnatural and unnecessary and we’d be just fine without those unnecessary limitations and unnatural expectations. It’s possible to exist peacefully and to progress without all that unnecessary made-up bullshit. The most liberal countries in the world are after all the countries with the happiest populations, lowest crime, and most advanced infrastructures – whereas the most conservative countries with the highest number of made-up bullshit laws and regulations are generally the poorest, highest in crime, and house the unhappiest and most repressed populations, most seeking asylum in more liberal nations.

Humanity as a whole needs to accept and embrace our true nature and get rid of all the unnecessary made-up bullshit, indoctrinations and behavioral modifications. Scientifically speaking, we are animals, we are dirty, we are sexual and we are free. Stop pretending that we’re not. It doesn’t improve society in any way – it only disconnects us from who and what we truly are. No wonder there’s so much unhappiness in the world. We’re all trying to be what we’re not and everything natural is stigmatized. Embrace nature. Be who you are. You are an animal. I am an animal. We are intelligent animals able to build a functioning society without having to repress and outlaw everything that makes us who we are. We can learn a lot from animals because we are animals.

God’s Window

The name of this tourist destination was inspired by the main character in that old fictional novel of the invisible man, living in the sky, watching everything you do. You know; The Bible. Not a very good story – Full of contradictions, lies and a plot that simply does not make any logical sense whatsoever to anyone with a functioning, free-thinking brain but inspiring to some readers nonetheless – Inspiring enough to name this location, apparently. It makes sense because, when you’re up there you can see the world below you but no one from below can see you; you’re just an invisible man in the sky looking down upon everyone else. You’re “God” looking through a window at the world below. It’s truly a wonderful experience.

Further up the mountain from the main viewpoint there is a walking trail going through lush foliage; a part of the trail titled “The Rain Forest.”

I love rain forests. There’s just something about the humidity and lush greenery that makes me feel at home and at peace. Moss covered trees and rocks are the best! I wish my back yard looked like this…

Blyde River Canyon

Another stop on my journey while on vacation was the Three Rondavels nature reserve overlooking the Blyde River Canyon.

It’s difficult to put into words the emotions and awe that transpires when overlooking the Blyde River Canyon. It’s also difficult to portray the depth and perspective in a photo or video. No matter how great the shot, it just doesn’t come close to actually being there and experiencing it in real life; standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the canyon below is a truly amazing experience. Large trees look like tiny fluffy grasses and a massive river looks like a tiny stream. The perspective is mind-blowing. I did my best to capture the perspective but after taking my shots and looking at the real scenery and the pictures side by side, it simply doesn’t compare.

In order to experience and appreciate the true beauty, you have to physically be there. There is no other way. If you live in South Africa, or if you’re traveling to South Africa, I highly recommend making a stop at the Blyde River Canyon Three Rondavels nature reserve. And if you do, keep an eye out for this rock…

Three Rondavels - David Venter

Thank You!

Special thanks to those who made this vacation possible; my family, friends, fans, and sponsors. Without your support and financial contributions I would not have been able to take this trip. If you’d like to provide continued support, inspire more content creation and open doors for me to pursue my passions, please consider becoming a patron on my Patreon page.

What’s Next?

I’m still mentally processing the fact that I was actually even able to take this trip. The opportunity arrived so suddenly and the days passed so quickly that it almost feels like it didn’t even happen at all, but it did! And it was absolutely wonderful! Now I’m adjusting to once again being back home facing my reality, and albeit depressing as fuck being back here, I did return with some much-needed motivation, creativity, and a new lust for life.

But let’s be honest; One short vacation isn’t going to magically fix all of my problems but it did make one thing clear; Getting out and going away does help and I need to do more of it in order to truly break free and live a happy life. I need to push myself to get out more. I want to travel more. I want to see the world. I want to experience and enjoy life. This brief trip was but a quick mental refresh and a taste of the wonders that await if only I can stay motivated, productive, and find a way to break free from my own mental prison. I would love to turn traveling into a lifestyle. I would love to travel more, create more, share more, make new friends, fall in love again, feel inspired and be inspiring.

Now the question remains; what now and what next? What do I do now and where do I go from here? Unfortunately, I do not have the answer. All I know is that I will continue to do what I can, where I am, with what I have, to the best of my abilities, and with as much energy as I can muster despite my loneliness, low income and my struggles with mental health. Do keep an eye on my website and social media profiles to see what comes next.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and thank you for your support. Until next time ~ much love! xo

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