My Perfect Adventure
What’s something you can’t travel without?
My Swiss Army knife. I feel naked without it and use it multiple times every day of my life, no matter where I am in the world.
Where is the best place you've ever visited? What made it so special?
Where I live now, on the Nguruman escarpment in Southern Kenya, is the best place I’ve ever been. Forty-five years ago, when I first came, it was the most pristine, untouched wilderness of incredible beauty, with the widest diversity of nature. At any one time I could stand on the airstrip I built, turn around, and count 50 rhinos around me. It was truly untouched and unspoiled.
If you could have lunch with any adventurer, living or dead, who would it be?
Charles Darwin. I’d be curious to know where his unusual point of view came from at a time when it was difficult to get out of the religious mold. He really stepped out of the box.
What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
When and how did you get into selling natural jewelry?
I first made natural jewelry about 15 years ago and it was to solve a problem. Women in rural areas where I lived needed income and I have a long history of working with plants, so I located a plant from which beads could be made and put my two interests together. Some years later there was a terrible drought and again the women needed an income, so again I proposed the idea. This time with new designs for a contemporary marketplace and a whole new business structure, something that would be sustainable and scalable so that it could expand and not be a temporary solution, but one that could be built upon and create work for thousands.
What advice you would give to someone aspiring to make a life in Africa?
Put aside any preconceived notion of value systems and be open to learning about, understanding, and respecting the value systems here.
Who has been your most influential role model or mentor?
My father. He taught me persistence, patience, and observation. And curiosity.
Do you have a life philosophy?
Yes. The central part of my philosophy is to use every experience as an opportunity to learn and to grow.