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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Launch: Self-Helpless by Rebecca Davis (19 September)

Everywhere she looked, the world was in poor shape. And because she’d quit drinking, she no longer had the comfort blanket of alcohol to tamp down her anxiety. How did sober people stay sane?

In recent times, the self-help industry has exploded into a multi- billion dollar global industry – and along with it has come every imaginable type of therapy, healing or general woo-woo. In the past, Rebecca scoffed at this industry, mocking its reliance on half-baked science and the way it appears to prey on the mentally fragile.

But as she searched for a meaning of life that did not involve booze, she found it increasingly hard to rationalize her default scepticism. This shit really seems to work for some people, she reasoned. And it’s not like I have any particularly solid alternatives.

Rebecca lives in Cape Town, the undisputed epicentre of ‘alternative’ paths to peace and enlightenment in South Africa. She decided that over the course of a year, she would embark on a quest for personal wellness, spiritual enlightenment and good old-fashioned happiness. She was willing, within reason, to try anything. She would open herself to even the most outlandish contemporary fads in self- improvement.

What followed was a twelve-month immersion in the world of auras, chakras, hallucinogenic drugs, sweat lodges, sangomas, past lives and more.

And by the end of it? Maybe she would find some new ways of thinking and living. Or maybe she would emerge with her prejudices untouched.

Either way, it would be a good story.

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A woman’s quest to save wildlife turns lethal in Tony Park’s Captive

A very eager – and rather naive – Australian lawyer, Kerry Maxwell, flies into South Africa to volunteer at a wildlife orphanage run by notorious vet Graham Baird.

Graham is as jaded and reckless as Kerry is law-abiding and optimistic. When Kerry arrives at the animal sanctuary it’s to the news that Graham is imprisoned in Mozambique following a shootout with elephant poachers. In the gunfight he killed the brother of corrupt politician and poaching kingpin Fidel Costa.

Kerry’s earnest sense of justice takes her to Massingir to help Graham with his case, and into a world of danger. Kidnapped, chased, attacked and betrayed, Kerry learns the bitter truth about the complexities and deadly nature of the war on poaching.

Even the motivations of well-meaning charities, wealthy donors and private zoos are not all they appear. Kerry’s perilous entanglement may be what Graham needs to shake off his drunken cynicism and rejoin the fight for Africa’s animals, but is it enough, and in time, to stop Costa’s quest for revenge . . .
 
Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, a press secretary, a PR consultant and a freelance writer. He also served 34 years in the Australian Army Reserve, including six months as a public affairs officer in Afghanistan in 2002. He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time equally between Australia and southern Africa. He is the author of fourteen other African novels.

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Listen: Angela Mahkolwa discusses The Blessed Girl with Sara-Jayne King

The Blessed GirlWhen you are accustomed to the finer things in life – designer shoes, champagne, VIP lounges, exotic holidays abroad, a luxury penthouse, expensive wheels – what independent young woman in her right mind would want to let them go? Certainly not the beautiful, ambitious and super-streetsmart Bontle Tau, the girl who has used her good looks and winning charm all her life to get exactly what she wants. The lifestyle doesn’t come cheap, though, nor does maintaining the body that allows it (just ask Dr Heinz at the beauty clinic).

Luckily, Bontle has a degree in MENcology, and there is no shortage of blessers at her penthouse door, eager to give her all the love and (financial) support she needs.

Papa Jeff might be overweight and getting on a bit, and receiving some unwanted attention from the Hawks; and Teddy might not have fully come through for her on that messed-up tender business; but Mr Emmanuel, the Nigerian businessman with deep pockets and the possibility of conferring second wife status … could that be love? Keeping all her boyfriends happy and living a fabulous life is not without its challenges.

With so many people clamouring for Bontle’s attention – from her shebeen queen mother Gladys in Mamelodi, who is taking strain bringing up her teenaged brother, Golokile, on her own; to her girlfriends, Iris and Tsholo; not to mention her soon-to-be ex-husband, the ever-patient, ever-loving Ntokozo, Bontle barely has time to post on Instagram these days.

Sooner or later something’s got to give …

Angela recently discussed The Blessed Girl, her fourth (!) novel, with fellow author and radio presenter Sara-Jayne King. Listen to their conversation here:

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Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe on Being Mountaineers: “Your Physiological Condition Needs to be Right”

Poles ApartSean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe, the adventurers who wrote Poles Apart with David Bristow, were interviewed by Nancy Richards for Country Life magazine.

In this inteview, Richards asked Disney and De la Harpe about what it takes to be a mountaineer. They told her about the mindset that enables them to succeed and some of the more peculiar equipment they require when they climb mountains.

They have some great stories to tell, and are planning even more adventures. “First your physiological condition needs to be right – some people cope with altitude better than others – then you have to have the mental strength,” said De la Harpe.

Read the interview:

It all began in a crowded bar, as only male bonding can, when journalist David Bristow had a chance encounter with a couple of strong-looking lads from Joburg. But, as Bristow discovered, Vaughan de la Harpe, ‘the Somewhat More Dapper One’ and Sean Disney ‘The Taller One’ turned out not be a pair of lycra-clad chancers in the Cape about to try their luck at the Argus Cycle Tour, but two eminent mountaineers, members of the elite global Explorers Grand Slam rock-climbing club of people who have conquered all Seven Summits – the world’s highest – with both North and South Poles thrown in.

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Excerpt: Poles Apart Authors Share the Funny Questions They Get Asked About Climbing Everest

Poles Apart“So, is it cold up there?” ranks as one of Sean Disney’s favourite ridiculous questions that he and Vaughan De La Harpe get asked at dinner parties when fellow guests find out that they are going to be climbing Everest.

In this excerpt from Disney and De La Harpe’s book, Poles Apart written with David Bristow, they share some of the questions they get asked and talk about descending the Khumbu Icefall, which De La Harpe feels is the “most dangerous, foreboding, menacing place on the planet”.

So, is it cold up there?

VAUGHAN: Dinner parties. You’ve just got to love the questions they ask you at dinner parties when they hear you’re planning on climbing Everest.

Like: Oh, it’s very nice to talk to you while you’re still alive. (My pleasure.)

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Frostbite, Vertigo and “Extreme Envy” at the Launch of Poles Apart by Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe

Vaughan de la Harpe, Sean Disney and Nancy Richards

 
Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean DisneyPoles ApartA large group of people braved the cold for the launch of Poles Apart: With Some Pointy Bits In Between at Kalk Bay Books recently – although the Cape Town weather seemed bearable in comparison to the book’s subject matter.

Nancy Richards, who was in discussion with authors Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean Disney, began the evening by noting that even James Clark’s cover shout emphasised the terrifying and exciting nature of the book, as he said he “suffered frostbite” just reading it.

Richards jokingly admitted to feeling “intimidated” by De la Harpe and Disney, calling them a formidable pair, and adding that she felt like she was talking to the “gods of the mountain”. As told to David Bristow, Poles Apart documents the journey of the two intrepid mountaineers’ climbing expeditions. De la Harpe and Disney have completed The Grand Slam, which includes The Seven Summits (including Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest) and the North and South Poles, as well as summiting many other peaks over the years.

Topics discussed during the evening included everything from ethics to physical exertion, acclimatisation, dangerous environments, sherpas, altitude sickness and the interesting characters the authors met on their travels. Richards was entertaining and engaging, and admitted to suffering “vertigo, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, outrage, shock and altitude sickness” while reading the book – but ultimately “extreme envy”.

De la Harpe, who reached all his summits on the first try, explained how he and Disney stay motivated, insisting “it’s not just about climbing”, and noting the importance of factors such as support, planning and assessment. However, most crucial, according to De la Harpe, is factoring in “internal motivation” and having “an objective that is worth achieving”.

Disney, a mountaineering guide and motivational speaker, has done the Seven Summits twice, and says he tries to do two or three new challenges every year. He shared his insights into the technical knowledge and practical challenges of mountaineering, including understanding the affects of altitude and mountain medicine, preparing for the journey and knowing the body’s ability to adapt to such experiences. Disney equates the skill to Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers and the notion that you need 10 000 hours of practice in a discipline to achieve optimum results.

It was difficult to believe the pair had summited the world’s highest mountain peaks and were still left with the energy to document their story, but as Vaughan explained, they wanted to “break the mould of this kind of book, we wanted it to be free of ego and in a conversational style” combined with a “large dollop of humour”. From the talk it is clear that De la Harpe and Disney’s story is detailed, riveting and definitely worth a read.

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Join Poles Apart Authors Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe for Dinner at Leopard’s Leap

Poles ApartLeopard’s Leap and Open Book Festival will be hosting a book event with the authors of Poles Apart, Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean Disney.

The event will take place on Thursday, 12th June, at 7 PM, at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyard, near Franschhoek, and will cost R200 per person, including welcome drink and dinner.

Poles Apart is a fascinating account of De la Harpe and Disney’s formidable mountaineering accomplishments in summiting the world’s seven highest peaks as well as journeying to the North and South Poles.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 12 June 2014
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM
  • Venue: Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
    R45
    Main Road
    Franschhoek | Map
  • Refreshments: Catered supper
  • Cover charge: R200
  • RSVP: 021 876 8002

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Join Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean Disney for the Launch of Poles Apart at Kalk Bay Books

Poles ApartKalk Bay Books and Pan Macmillan invite you to the launch of Poles Apart (with some pointy bits in between) by Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe as told to David Bristow.

The authors will be in conversation with Nancy Richards, on Wednesday 11 June at 6 PM for 6:30 PM.

See you there!


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Join Sean Disney and Vaughan De La Harpe for the Launch of Poles Apart at the Museum of Military History

Poles ApartJoin Sean Disney and Vaughan De La Harpe as they discuss the adventures detailed in Poles Apart, written with David Bristow.

Disney and De La Harpe, the first South Africans to achieve the Explorers Grand Slam, will be speaking at the Museum of Military History tonight at 6 PM for 6:30 PM. Tickets cost R150.

Don’t miss it!

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Vaughan de la Harpe Admits Climbing Mountains Got “Out of Hand”

Poles ApartVaughan de la Harpe, co-author of Poles Apart, explains the psychological impetus that drives him to achieve incredible feats of endurance and stamina.

De la Harpe and Sean Disney’s new novel is about their experiences completing what explorers call the “Grand Slam” – reaching the seven highest peaks in the world and the North and South Poles – and becoming the first South Africans to do so.

The imposing list of the Seven Summits is Aconcagua in South America, Everest in Asia, McKinley in North America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Vinson in Antarctica and Kosciuszko in Australia.

In an interview with Bruce Dennill from The Citizen, De la Harpe attempts to answer the age-old question set to mountaineers: Why did you do it?

It’s my own psychological make-up.

I like to set an objective, meet it and then set the next one. I’m like that with everything, but climbing mountains just got out of hand. First it was one, then it was the Seven Summits, then the poles. But it’s about achieving and moving on – I don’t dwell on it.

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