On a mission to explore the world
With their ‘wanderlust tattoos’ symbolising their shared desire to explore the world, Liza Ratzeburg and Lisa Nozaic make the perfect team. From munching on crispy locusts and plummeting off the edge of a 150m bridge to exploring the quiet halls of ancient temples, there is never a dull moment on their travels. Lisa and Liza are an extension of each other (their birthdays are even two days apart). They’re living life to the full and setting their sights on experiencing as much as possible, learning lessons and sharing stories of fascinating places, unique cultural experiences and tips and tricks for travelling on a budget.
“Between the two of us we have visited more than 15 countries so far. Lesotho, Swaziland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Zanzibar, Netherlands, France, the Philippines and India, Thailand, Indonesia and Mozambique to name a few. We believe there is a difference between being alive and actually living, so we decided to blog about our experiences exploring the world while on a mission to uncover that difference, and in the same breath inspire others to follow their own travel dreams.”
For Lisa N, the marketing guru behind Soul Drifters, life as an advertising consultant just wasn’t enough to feed her soul. From her first road trip to Cape Town as a teen, to touching down on European turf to spend a month exploring the UK, Netherlands and Paris, she’s never stopped planning her travels. Liza R, the creative mind behind their blog, recalls how witnessing a Puja (prayer) ceremony in Bodh Gaya, India and watching four people riding on a scooter, helmetless, in Phuket, opened her eyes to life far from the one she was living. As a Buddhist she craved a journey with greater purpose, so, 10 years in the mainstream work field, the duo gave notice, sold virtually all their earthly possessions and began to plan a future together chasing the monsoon.
“We believe there are two types of people; those who buy into society’s expectations of having a bond, office job and kids, and the people who choose to live out of a suitcase, have constant wanderlust, explore different countries and taste every part of the world. Having a job, house and family is an experience for sure, but when you meet people of different cultures, explore ancient temples or scooter through the streets of India you realize that you’re meant to be a part of something bigger, and that is what we are searching for!”
With its tropical climate, golden beaches, tea plantations and wildlife-packed national parks, Sri Lanka seems the perfect port of call for the girls’ first stop on the start of their new journey. 2018 is also significant for the island because it celebrates 70 years of independence.
“The end of Sri Lanka’s bitter civil war has seen a rapid jump in the number of tourists visiting the island. The beauty of its architecture with its significant Buddhist influences, is a huge drawcard for us. Tourist visas are normally issued for a maximum of 30 days which is enough time for us to see as many ice-cream coloured sunsets as we can, explore the island’s timeless ruins and learn about its majestic past, before we move on to Asia. There we will spend five months backpacking on a mission to find unique places and chase the monsoon across India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. We are hoping to go hot air ballooning in Mayanmar over the ancient temples of Bagan, stay the Elephant Adventure Village Tree House in Vang Vieng, Laos, join a Buddhist pilgrim tour, celebrate Liza’s 40th birthday and obviously do tons of blogging. We’ve been approached to do blog about to survive a monsoon, so that’s the plan.”
“Something else we are desperate to do for spiritual reasons is to volunteer for a month with Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala through the Lha Charitable Trust where the Dalai Lama lives in exile. As volunteers we will be immersed in the fascinating culture of the people we are serving, develop friendships, learn about issues currently facing the Tibetan refugee community and create positive change in someone else’s life. This is what it is all about for us. Ideally, we’d love nothing more than to have the privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama himself.”
When visiting a new country, the intrepid travellers know all too well that the most important thing is to strip yourself of religion, cultural backgrounds, media influences and what society has taught you.
“Dive right in, eat the street food, get a red dot blessing on your head and wear whatever traditional head gear you have to so you get that camel ride. If you are not prepared to absorb what each country has to offer, then rather watch it on TV at home, but you don’t know what you are missing!”
Lisa and Liza suggest that if you are considering travelling, don’t think too long. Book your flights, your accommodation and go. Make a spread sheet of your plans, taking into account your budget, and have a little extra stashed away just in case the unexpected happens. Always have travel insurance because you never know when you will need it. Have backup copies of your ID, Passport and any other vital travel docs on The Cloud. Pack a sports bra; they are great for comfort wear on trains, aeroplanes and boats, pack an infinity scarf. It can come in handy as a towel, a head scarf or a cover up. Be prepared for beggars. “We don’t give money; we make African bangles and give out sweets. Most of the time all they want (especially children) is an energy exchange.”
“Travel has opened our eyes to new ways of life, it has introduced us to incredible people, like the astrologer in Varanasi who did a brilliant reading for me. We have made lasting friendships, like a taxi driver in India who messages us about five times a week. We’ve learnt that women can travel alone; it’s safer than you imagine. Most people will help you before they harm you, like when a guy in Lesotho came running towards us wearing a balaclava and waving a knobkerrie and all he wanted to do was shake hands, but we judged because of a dress code. Most of all, travel has taught us ‘open heart, open mind’ – words we live by today.”
“This is it. It’s real. We’ve sold everything and only kept a handful of sentimental possessions for the day we might decide to return, and if we do, we’ll go and live in a caravan park in Cape Town. For now, our future lies in volunteering, exploring the world and tasting our way through as many countries as possible. If you possess this wanderlust and decide to become a world nomad, there is one very important requirement, always have an open mind and an open heart. We are merely spectators on this journey of life.”
Follow their journey on:
Facebook: Soul Drifters
Get It Magazine Durban July 2018Celebrating Africa