I thought about bragging for having hiked over 20 miles non-stop, in a single day, but the truth is that after the 10th mile, and the realization that I was hopelessly lost in a desertous mountain and out of water, I began to ask myself why I had even considered going on my own. I´m writing this from the mountains, still out of water and still lost, joking! please don´t send rescue, I eventually managed to limp my way back. Here it is, how not to hike Lake Tahoe, from a foreign, city-girl´s experience.
When English is Your Second Language
Have you ever dreamed of having an exciting job as a scuba-diving instructor in the Mediterranean Sea? or perhaps as a DJ for hundreds of people? or maybe be a Safari guide in wild South Africa, along with lions, elephants and more?
With his core belief that life is meant to be fun, and his only acceptable state of mind, happiness, after dropping out of engineering school in 2010, Simone Lapin-Peregrini (26), decided to follow his heart and live exciting adventures for a living. Today, he is a wildlife photographer, Safari Guide, and expat in the South African bush.
When did you move to South Africa, and what called your attention about this country?
I moved from Namibia to South Africa in March, 2012. It´s difficult to put into words what was interesting to me about this country. I was working in Namibia as an overland safari guide in different areas of the country, and although it was what I wanted to be doing, I also wanted something more stable. So when an Italian company offered me just that in South Africa, I took it.
What drove you to become a Guide?
Passion for nature. This passion sparked when I was 10 years old and I was introduced to scuba diving. This particular environment became very special to me and I enjoyed everything about it, but particularly shipreck driving. The way in which life forms there is very different and special. Nine years after my first dive, I had my first nature-guiding experience in Sardinia, Italy.
Tell us about being a Scuba diving instructor
It was awesome! I needed a job as I had decided to leave my Engineering studies for Natural Sciences. I loved scuba diving, and when I saw the opportunity to work as a guide I said, why not? The deal was that I would work in exchange for accommodation, food, plus my instructor license, so it was a win-win, and awesome experience. I worked two, 6 month seasons in the sea, and in my home town [Reggio Emilia, Italy] I taught scuba diving courses.
And how was your transition from scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea to guiding in South Africa?
I was still working as a scuba diving instructor when I met Davide Bomben, Founder and President of the Associazione Italiana Esperti d´Africa, and the person responsible for me being here today. I had started studying Natural Sciences at a new university when Davide told me about courses that I could take to become a Safari Guide. I thought cool, let´s try it! There wasn´t much thought into it, I loved the courses, so it was a pretty good experience.
What are your best memories of living and working here?
It´s very difficult to select just one memory. Every close experience with a wild animal is very special to me because it allows me to understand nature in a greater level and even myself. Animals can read you, and depending on how you behave, they will react in a different way. I´ve had some awesome experiences in the bush and seen places that I didn’t even think existed.
What has been the biggest culture shock you´ve experienced here?
The people here are very welcoming, they don´t make it hard to be a part of here.
From my perspective I have found a completely different way of living. Life here is so much more relaxed, and there is so much less stress. In Italy, I was used to being rushed all the time, but when I got here, people looked at me like I was crazy since I still expected things to be too organized and rushed. Now I have adapted, and I take things slowly as they come.
In a more humorous point, the big culture shock here was the food! Of course, wherever I go in the world this will happen because food is so cultural in Italy. But I still cook my own Italian food every other day.
I set the plastic bag filled with homemade sandwiches in the passenger seat of my car before driving off. I had put together enough meals to feed 20 people this time and I was hopeful it´d be enough. As I drove through the downtown streets of the city, fiercely avoiding the wholes on the broken roads, the tired looking houses, the dead gardens and the bony stray dogs, were sad characters in this reality of struggling poverty. As a Colombian, I have seen some poverty, but today, being here, it felt far more real and sad than ever.
After I sent a work email last Friday morning, I reached for my phone to scroll through my Facebook news-feed. Before my thumb could start scrolling, the realization of the emotional impact that this action would have on me, made me put my phone down and take a walk outside instead.
In Colombia almost 20 years ago, I was riding an old city bus next to my mother and sister. The driver drove fast through the humid air, while I stared out the window with the almost blinding sun rays. My gaze fixed at the top of a mountain, the same mountain where a few days before, one of my mother´s co-worker had been suffocated to death before his fingers were cut off.
Bienvenidos to Tijuana's secret gem, Playas! Coming to this place has become a must every Saturday morning, when the weekend finally begins, the sun is out and the breeze is perfect! This Bohemian-like beach is only a 15 minute drive from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tijuana, and it is filled with restaurants, coffee shops and beautiful art. If you come to Tijuana at all, do yourself a favor and do not miss Playas!
If you've lived in the United States, there is a pretty good chance that you have witness an obnoxious heated argument about illegal immigration. Am I right?
It is true that In "the melting-pot" that is the US, immigration is a widely and openly discussed subject; even by those who are completely unqualified to speak of the issue.
But let me tell you a secret that may surprise you:
Americans reach out to me on a daily for advise on how to bypass immigration regulations when traveling to Mexico.
Here it is, my most sincere, sad-face blog post to date: lots of things have sucked in the past few months...
Every September, the northern Nevada sky is colored with over 100 majestic hot air balloons in the world´s largest free hot air balloon event: The Great Reno Balloon Race. The catch? Getting out of bed to the cold outdoors at 4:45am.
This year, the more adventurous me decided to be push myself out of bed and attend for the first time, not once, but two days in a row. It was completely worth it, so much so that in case you missed it, I have put together the top 10 Instagram photographs from this year´s event.
Do you remember the last time you lived in the moment and you felt so high on life you wouldn't have changed one single aspect of it? When nothing else mattered and you were completely free of all worries? When you were surrounded by like-minded people with whom you shared intense relationships, if only for a few days?
This is exactly what travel does. It awakens a high, so high, that I have never experienced doing anything else.
Ready to see what this high looks like?
These are my two absolute favorite travel videos, until I create my own ;) Enjoy!
Alright people, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a whole lot of outrageous stories from the South African wild.
Seriously, tie yourself to your chair, it´s about to get craaazy!
(***Disclaimer: I never drop f boms…it´s really not my style, but on this post, you betcha I will!)
South Africa is home to some of the most astounding creatures in the wold. From its graceful leopards, to its stunning birds, South Africa is paradise to those who can truly appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the country´s wildlife. The way in which these animals move so gracefully, their elegant furs, and their colorful feathers are some of the small details that makes it worth while flying across the world to admire with your very own eyes.
The following is a collection of some of the most astonishing photography of African wildlife, captured by Photographer Simone Lapin-Peregrini.
This female cheetah stands on top of a termite mound looking for prey at sunrise.
If you haven´t been to Colombia, you probably haven´t heard about all of the street art work with which the local graffiti artists have painted the streets of downtown Bogota. In addition to the very unexpected/peculiar weather of Bogota, its streets in downtown are filled with surprises: live music at Chorro de Quevedo, funky restaurants, bars and beautifully done graffiti art by local and foreign artists.
These artists are extremely passionate. Through their art, they express not only their feelings, but also the history of their home town, their people, and of their country. If you are ready to see magical art outside of a museum, Bogota is a must see.
In 2013, the current Mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro, passed a legislature making graffiti (in designated walls) legal. Prior to this, graffiti artists had to go on the streets late at night, hiding from the police and risking having to spend the night in jail.
Even with the prohibition of street graffiti, downtown Bogota was already filled with astonishing graffiti art. Today, world renown artists from all over the world are coming to the country to leave their mural size graffitis.
One of Colombian´s most famous graffiti artist goes by the name of Stinkfish. Do not be fooled by his silly name, his work leaves no doubt of his artistic talent.
Today, different companies offer guided graffiti tours of downtown Bogota. These are commonly done by artists who fully understand the meaning behind each graffiti, and the history that comes with it.
In this form of art, local and foreign artists have been able to express all over downtown, the social, political, cultural and moral values, as well as issues of the country and the world.
Colombian, living and traveling the world (well- not so much at the moment) I am currently sharing my time between San Diego, CA and Albuquerque, NM.