The must-have travel checklist post Covid-19

Woman in a hat lying on a sun bed near a pool

This must-have travel checklist is related to a little secret which I’m going to let you in on. I’m on a 90 day fiancé relationship journey. Kinda. Sorta.

Have you ever watched the show? If not, in a short summary, it’s where a bunch of love struck lunatics start online relationships across borders. After some time (usually very short) they decide that they want to be together forever and start a visa process whereby they have 90 days to get married in order for their partner to stay in America. Cue all the DRAMA and entertainment.

The good news is that my lover, well not really since we haven’t actually met in person, is not American but he is across the seas and we do WANT to meet. If you’ve been in a long distance relationship like this then you’ll understand there is a dire need for this to happen.

We are in the throws of a very challenging situation be it that we live in the time of Covid-19 and travel is so restricted.

BUT we are furiously searching for a place that will take us both in with as few hassles as possible.

Almost impossible?

Yes.

Totally impossible?

No.

Hence the travel checklist.

I’m sure we are not the only ones getting itchy feet. You know those end of year travel itchy feet? The festive season itchy feet?

The summer, silly season, sip and siesta time itchy feet?

Whether you’re traveling now, later, locally, soonish or even maybe, keep this for ease of reference.

I’ve created this must-have post Covid-19 travel checklist for us because, well, you know, we’re important and I want us to stay well especially while on holiday or meeting long distance lovers.

Air Travel checklist:

* Mask
* Anti – bacterial hand wipes
* Dis-infectant spray
* Serum or moisturiser to keep your skin moist.
* Knee high compression socks – help improve blood flow
* Gloves – especially if you icky about public toilets
* First aid kit
* CBD drops 100mg for sleep
* Bee Propolis throat spray – natural anti-viral immune system support
* Sleep mask
* Noise cancelling headphones
* Travel pillow
* Blue light blocking glasses – reduces eye strain
* Oregano oil – to boost immunity and keep the bowels regular
* Macadamia nuts – low carb snack

What to include in your first aid kit:
* Analgesic (pain relief) medicine/Aspirin
* Antihistamine tablets for bites, stings or allergies
* Cold and flu tablets
* Cough medicine
* Motion sickness tablets
* Throat lozenges or drops
* Antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds
* Antiseptic ointment to apply to a wound
* Plasters
* Insect repellent
* Diarrhoea medicine
* Antacid
* Antifungal or antibacterial cream
* Rehydrate sachets
* Regular prescription medicines

And if you are thinking, wait a minute, this is too much, trust me, it’s not. Things happen, mostly when you least expect it and it’s better to be prepared than not. I have traveled a lot and been in many a situation where I’ve needed all of these things.

Checklist that says yes and no
Travel checklist

Check, check and double check:

These are the items most people forget to pack:
* Laundry bag
* Reusable shopping bag
* Emergency snacks
* Extra memory card
* Lip balm
* Copies of travel documents
* Flip flops
* Stain remover
* Phone chargers
* Toothpaste
* Swimsuit
* Sunscreen
* Umbrella
* Sunglasses

If you are traveling, planning to travel or staying put, be safe and be well.

And happy travels for now or for the future.

If you have any ideas on where an African and a European could meet safely during this time, drop a comment below. I’d love to hear your comments.

Please share this checklist with your friends, especially that one you are always waiting for because they have forgotten something, missed something or lost something.

With love and itchy feet
LML

Why is social connection so important to our wellbeing?

Silouette of 4 people with their hands in the air

Social connection is important because it improves our physical health and our psychological wellbeing. Urgh…. that’s my comment as an introvert. Really? Like really?

Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship – Brene Brown

Did you know that the happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships?

Yes, that’s right.

Social connection adds to our happiness and wellbeing.

Now I want to tell you that I was happy to hear this but it’s not really the kind of news an introvert likes. I have always preferred keeping my distance from people and now I realize that that isn’t healthy either.

Studies have shown that isolation and lack of connection are a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Surprised?

Me too.

In fact, new born babies need to be embraced in order to promote healthy psychological development. The lack of the loving assurance that comes from physical touch can inhibit normal development.

Side note: I believe this to be the same for some adults as well. Some people, you know the ones I’m talking about, just need more hugs in life in general for their overall development.

Now back to the good stuff.

The benefits of strong social connection are:

* 50 % increased chance of longevity

Now I don’t know about you but this appeals to me. I want to live long enough to wipe my partners ass. Some real talk right there.

* Lowers rates of anxiety and depression

(Personal note on anxiety: I used to have it quite badly many, many years ago. At certain times my heart rate would go off the charts and I’d sweat profusely. My doctor prescribed medication for me but I didn’t want to live on medication for the rest of my life nor did I like the way it made me feel. I work at a fast pace and on the medication I felt 100% slower. Sometimes I felt like I was moving backwards instead of forwards. It was very strange and I took the executive decision to ditch the medication altogether.)

* Healthy relationships help strengthen the immune system

Very important during this time

* Helps lower the risk of dementia and mental decline

* Increases self esteem, creates greater empathy and more trusting relationships

Hands linked
Holding hands at sunset

Being that we are in a pandemic
I understand that physical connection may be hard but there are some solutions. As long as we remember that connection comes from the heart, some of these ideas will hopefully help us all stay connected as friends.

Video call as much as possible
It has been shown that video and audio calling produces similar amounts of happy hormone as it does when you see a person face-to-face.

Looking for a good games night? Try the Houseparty app.
You can play a round of trivia, test your skills at charades or even try pictionary.

Host a virtual movie night with Netflix Party.
It’s a free google chrome extension that allows you to watch a movie at the same time as family or friends. It also has a group chat function where you can share commentary and emojis.

Start a virtual book club.
Keep your mind active while remaining connected at the same time.

Start a virtual knitting club.
Since we have been limited in using our sense of touch during Covid-19, this is a great way to incorporate physical touch in our lives. Knitting also helps you stay relaxed and calm. Gather your friends on Zoom and have a little “tit and knit” session. (oh and tit as in tit bit, just in case you were wondering)

And if none of these appeal to you choose one person in your contact list every week and check in with them, get on social media and start engaging ( I have made a few new friends this way, yes very shocking) or call your family and say hi.

Sending virtual hugs and high fives friends. Stay healthy, safe and connected.

With much love
LML

P.S. If you have any other suggestions or if you want to invite me to a games night (at your own peril), drop me a comment below.

How a random act of kindness saved me on a drunken night in a new city

Lights in Seoul at night

I was saved by a random act of kindness on a drunken night in a new city. 

It was my first night and I couldn’t speak the language, which meant I had no idea how to tell the rather patient taxi driver where I lived.

Luckily I had remembered that my Korean care-taker (another lovely, kind human being who was assigned to make sure nothing happened to me) had written my address on a piece of paper which was stuffed inside my purse.

After a few minutes of confusion the taxi driver grabbed the paper out of my hand and gave me a thumbs up and off we roared. 

At some point when we got to the smaller narrow roads I recognized the shop that was near my apartment. It was my lighthouse and I had memorised exactly how to get from there to my apartment.

For reasons unknown to me and the taxi driver, we started having an argument.

I was insisting that he stop

because this is where I lived and he was frantically pointing to my address on the piece of paper and pointing up ahead. He was trying to stop me from getting out the car and I was insisting I was home. 

It was probably in sheer fear of being stuck in a car with a crazy, drunk foreign woman that he eventually gave up and let me out. But he was not happy about it.

I made my way up two flights of stairs, put the key in the lock, turned and pushed. Nothing happened. What? A little panic started to set in. I tried again, still nothing. I tried again. Nothing.

And that’s when I realised.

This was not my apartment

I wobbled down the stairs, walked into the deserted street and took a few minutes to get my eyes to focus. I looked at the building and it dawned on me that not only was this not where I lived but that every apartment block in the area looked exactly the same. 

There was no differentiating feature. 

How was I going to find my apartment?

I was alone, in the early hours of the morning, in a foreign country, on a deserted street, in high heels, with no idea where my apartment was.

I reached into my bag to pull out my purse because I thought if I got to the main street and flagged down another taxi I would show him the piece of paper and he would be able to get me to my apartment.

And this is when real panic set in.

There was no purse. 

I had left it in the other taxi.

I don’t normally swear but this was a good time to say, “ what the f@£$?”

I got sober very quickly

I was in this country as a professional and I definitely did not want to phone my care-taker on the first night to say, “I’m drunk and lost, please help me”.

The only thing I could think to do was get back to my lighthouse (the shop that had caused all the trouble in the first place) and trace my steps from there. 

And I swear to this day the sound of heels, clip clopping, clip clopping, gives me nightmares because that’s all I could hear in the still of the morning and it was giving me chills.

By some miracle I found my apartment

But still, I had no purse. No identity. No cards. No cash. 

I spent the next morning stressing and avoiding making the dreaded phone call to my care-taker. 

I was hungry and I was hungover and I was also having deep regrets about meeting up with my friends downtown. Just one more drink turned into too many.

In the afternoon I heard a knock at the door and all kinds of wild thoughts went through my mind.

Did we do something stupid?

I did a quick scan in my brain from the night before. 

Did I remember everything? 

I gingerly opened the door and a little Korean man I did not recognize was trying to push something into my hand. 

I looked down.

It was my purse.

Before I could open my mouth to say thank you he had run down the stairs and was gone. 

I had no idea what his name was or where he was from but he just handed me back my life. 

I had my identity document, my cards and the cash was still all there.

Mother Theresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love.”

I have never forgotten this random act of kindness, this drunken night nor this taxi driver.

Kindness is a habit of giving—of wanting to lift burdens from others or to merely provide a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. It humanizes us; it lifts us spiritually. 

And it is good for us and for our wellbeing.

One act of random kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. The miracle of kindness is that it is contagious and something we should all want to pass on and spread to many others.

On some level I will always be connected to that taxi driver. This is what kindness does, it connects us, in ways that are more powerful than we can imagine.

My mother went to the grocery store the other day and she decided to give the only cash she had, which was R100, to the car guard. She said she just felt compelled to do it. He cried and told her that he had 6 kids at home that were starving. 

Sometimes when we give what we think is a little, is actually a lot for the next person.

Let’s do small things with great love. Let’s be kind. And let’s stay connected.

With much love for you always

LML

#1 secret to losing weight AND keeping it off

losing weight

The secret to losing weight and keeping it off, according to me, the former Jananda (family nickname for being overweight) and professional emotional eater, is to let go of your baggage.

What baggage you ask?

Maybe it’s the baggage you carry in your home. The things you have but don’t need.

Maybe it’s in the back of your cupboard – clothes you’re waiting to wear, clutter you couldn’t bear to throw out, outdated bags, old shoes  – all needing to go, yet hidden from sight.

Maybe your baggage is stuck in your body – old wounds, devastating grief and hurt words. 

Maybe it’s still in your head and heart – critical eyes and fingers pointing at you, picking on the scab of your scars and pressing on the bruise of your insecurities.

Maybe your baggage is woven through your social media feeds – old lovers you don’t need to keep up with but haven’t had the guts to let go, friends who bully you or jokes that make you feel less instead of making you laugh.

No matter where it exists, you probably know if you have emotional baggage.

You know because you are easily triggered. You know because the same series of behaviours crop up all the time. You know because you can sense it.

Something from your past is holding you back.

My baggage was stuck in my body and in my head and heart. 

My body was carrying grief that I hadn’t yet acknowledged – an ectopic pregnancy many years ago that caused a mountain of physical pain and at the time no emotional pain. The pregnancy was discovered and in 24 hours it was surgically eradicated.

And I use that word because it was like it was there and then it wasn’t. It felt like in a second, it was gone. My boyfriend and I had no idea what we were supposed to do – cry, communicate it to others, grieve, be sad or angry?

We chose silence

We never spoke of it and therefore it didn’t exist.

The only thing was it did. 

And only once I acknowledged that I had lost a life, a life that could have been a son or a daughter and only once I allowed myself to accept it and grieve it, was I able to let it go.

In letting that, and echoes of critical words, statements of unworthiness and projections of not-good-enoughness, all go, was I able to drop the physical weight.

And, keep it off.

In life we are taught to hold on

We are taught that perseverance is the ultimate feat of character and will. We are taught to never let go of our dreams, our ambitions and our hopes for our lives.

We are taught to stay in failing relationships in the hope that something will change. We are taught to stick to dead-end careers because it pays the bills. We are taught to sacrifice ourselves because it will benefit others.

The sentiment of holding on is often helpful but it is not always the entire picture.

Sometimes, letting go is the bravest, and most important thing you can do.

You will be summoned to regularly let go throughout the course of your life.

You will have to let go of past experiences and past identities – the ones that have molded your surroundings and your environment, all the pieces of who you became, that are not pieces of who you really are.

You will have to let go of old belongings, the ones that were owned by those old identities, that defined them, expressed them and created them.

You will have to let go of old relationships, people who understood and connected with the person you used to be.

You will have to let go of old emotions and traumas, those things that have kept you stuck and have held you back.

The releasing and re-growth process is inevitable.

We can try to continue to hold on but eventually we will have to let go.

Emotional baggage is stored in our bodies but it is also scattered throughout our lives. 

It is in the things that hold memories in our homes. It is in the old clothes we have stuffed at the back of our cupboards and it is in the expired friendships that we keep.

We can acknowledge and accept our pain. We can also let it go. 

We can thank our old clothes, old memories and old belongings and we can also let them go. 

We can start to build a new life

We can start to build a new life around the person we want to be by slowly letting go of the person we were. 

One day we’ll find that the emotions that were keeping us stuck and holding us back have started to neutralize. Not because we forced them away but because we acknowledged them, thanked them and let them go.

We start making choices that support our new lives. 

We eat and exercise to nourish our bodies. We create spaces that make us feel calm and cocooned. We dress in a way that elevates our style and speak in a way that supports our wellbeing.


Each time we choose a better future, we let go of the past.

We don’t let go of love when someone leaves, we let go when we learn to love again. 

We don’t let go of our past identities when we start disliking them, we let go when we wake up and find ourselves surrounded by a new environment, one that matches the person we are becoming.

We don’t let go of our fears once we know we have them, we let go once we show up – nervous, sweating, shaking and unsure but willing to move through them anyway.

Letting go is an important part of our wellbeing

We know what to do and we need to find the courage to do it.

I’d love to know your thoughts? Drop me a line below.

Please hit the share button and send to a friend who might need to hear this.

As always, I’m here for you and rooting for you x

My story

Comparison of the same person, one pic of 2018 and one of 2020

The beginning

My story begins in Durban, South Africa where I was born. Followed by a few years in Malawi and eventually being raised in a small village called Big Bend in Eswatini.

Living in a different country sparked my love of travel and it is one of my passions. In the last few years the most important journey I’ve been on is to a world within.

The only coping mechanism I had for anything in life whether it be a chaotic upbringing, a devastating death or a simple break up, was food.

My entire life my weight yo-yoed and I used it like a protective blanket. One that I both loved and I hated.

It has always been the one thing I desperately wanted to control but couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried.


In 2017, my boyfriend broke up with me, my father died, I got retrenched from my job and I moved cities. I was stressed, grieving and a bit lost. 

What happened to me?

I wasn’t aware that I was eating my pain away until the end of 2018, a year that I mostly spent sick.

My “big”clothes would no longer fit and by chance I jumped on a scale and got the fright of my life. It was like the veil had been lifted.

I felt so heavy physically and emotionally and I was desperate for help.

This was my life story and I wanted to overcome it because I was tired of battling with myself and my body.

What started off as an education of food and of the body, simultaneously became an education of myself.

For the first time I was honest with myself, I was gentle with myself and I started to heal myself.

What changed for me?

I became mindful of everything.

I trusted myself and my body and I used everything I had researched to eat in a way that gave me joy, to exercise in a way that brought me happiness and to live in a way that brought me pleasure.

I lost 17 kgs in a year and I’ve kept it off.

More than being healthy in body, I am healthy in mind and spirit. I changed my mindset. I changed my thoughts. I changed my life.

And in turn I want to help others change theirs too.

Foods That Make You Glow

Pouring olive oil from a bottle

Let’s talk about foods that make you glow AND get you looking at yourself naked in the mirror and going “Hot damn, you’re looking good.”

I’ve been hearing a lot about this lately. How being connected to your sexuality is empowering and to be honest, that is really what this is all about.

Whether you’re stripping down for yourself or for someone else, looking good naked means feeling sexy. And no, you’re never too old to feel sexy.

Below are some of the best foods to eat to give you that extra glow AND make you look sexy naked.

Collagen

Collagen = good hair, good skin and good nudes (and no, this does not mean dick pics gents, please no)

It helps strengthen hydration and elasticity of the skin, which means tighter skin and fewer wrinkles.

Mango

Did you know that the stress hormone cortisol creates belly fat and keeps it stored there? Adding Vitamin C to your diet helps combat the stress hormones.

Mango is rich in Vitamin C and is also known to have high levels of vitamin B-6, which supplies your brain with dopamine, the feel “happy hormone.”

Olive Oil

Have you seen how the people in the Mediterranean look so glowy and live for so long? They drizzle olive oil on EVERYTHING.

Olive oil has vitamin E and K, lots of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Healthy fat = glow.

Nettle Leaf

Now this I’m excited about. Inflammation is the buzzword of the health industry at the moment.

It’s been suggested that it’s the cause of bags under your eyes and water retention, which by the way sometimes masks extra weight that you’re carrying.

Nettle leaf is a herb and is a natural diuretic that flushes out acid from your joints and muscles and helps detoxify your whole system.

Lean Protein

Have you heard those healthy types always talking about lean protein? Well, they’re doing it because they know something we don’t. It leaves you feeling energized (lighter) and fuller for longer.

If you were getting excited about seeing protein on this list, then take special note that it needs to be a small portion, as in smaller than your vegetables and leafy greens.

And there you have it. Go on and get your glow friends and enjoy that sexy vision staring back at you in the mirror.

With much love and some extra glow
LML