South African globetrotter Anje Rautenbach from Going Somewhere Slowly has made it her mission to bring her social media followers around the world in a way that far surpasses the usual photo-sharing model.
Instead of snapping photos of dream locations and sharing them on Instagram with aspirational captions, she makes her mark the old-fashioned way by putting pen to paper.
Whenever inspiration strikes, she jots down her thoughts and sets each scrap of paper against a gorgeous backdrop to create a diary of her travels that's equal parts thoughtful and visual. The adventurer took some time out to chat with us here at ViralNova, and what she had to say about the endeavor might just inspire you to pack your bags.
How has traveling shaped who you are?
I am who I am today because of the places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, and the experiences I’ve had. Traveling has opened my mind and completely changed my whole outlook on life and humanity. It has inspired me to challenge myself, to face the facts, figures, and statistics of unethical practices, to never stop asking questions, to speak for the voiceless, to be like a sponge, and to put it all into words.
What inspires you most about exploring?
Nothing excites me more than how we as travelers can be like empty vessels to the unknown; empty and thirsty for authentic experiences, seeing, hearing, and tasting things for the first time, meeting new faces, challenging ourselves, standing up for what we believe in, and being overwhelmed by the moment.
You seem to have a way with words. Are you an avid reader? If so, are there any writers in particular who influence the quotes you share with your audience?
When time allows me to be an avid reader, I am, but I won’t say that there is any writer who influences the notes I scribble. It is more the moment that has an influence over what I write.
Instead of typing captions under photos, you take the time to write them by hand. Was this a deliberate choice, or did you just happen to share a note one day and run with it? Do you think writing your notes lends something to these images that typing wouldn't?
The first note I shared was a quote by Lao Tzu. I was embarking on another journey, so I sat in an airport and wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Then I shared a photo of it. The next day, I scribbled another note with my own words and after that, it became a thing.
The major difference for me between writing notes and typing captions is that when I write the note, I am in that moment. I quiet my mind and I listen to the world around me. If it is a mountain, I study the lines. If it is a road, I seek the journey. If it is an animal, I stare into its eyes. The note and the background are intertwined and become one.
The world is a scary place sometimes. What would you say to anyone who's afraid to travel?
Traveling doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Exploring parts of your own city can be just as much of an adventure as traveling to a different country. If you are afraid to travel, go places that will not push you completely out of your comfort zone for the first time. Start small and explore locally.
Wherever you decide to go, just know that the world is much friendlier and safer than what the media portrays it to be. Don’t base your opinion of a country, culture, or religion on news headlines. Read about the experiences of other travelers and what people have to say about their own countries. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed.