Hi and welcome to Life of Shal!
“I am pieces of all the places I have been to, and the people I have loved. I’ve been stitched together by song lyrics, book quotes, adventures, late night conversations, moonlight, and the smell of coffee.”
– Brooke Hampton
Hi, I’m Shal, a scientist, artist and blogger from Durban, South Africa. I love to travel. I got my first taste of adventure when I was 22 years old and ventured on my own for six whole months to The Netherlands.
That trip changed something inside of me. Since then I’ve travelled to over twenty different countries, got lost in Paris, road tripped through Italy, survived a monsoon in China and ate some pretty crazy things along the way.
Even now, something in my Gemini soul screams for more from this life.
In 2013, I finished my Masters in Microbiology and moved to the Guangdong Province, China. I only planned on passing through for 10 months but ended up staying for two and half years. I spent my first year teaching Chemistry to high school kids and in my second year, I joined the Walt Disney Company and taught English in Beijing. Those years were a whirlwind of adventures and some of the best times of my life.
In 2016, I returned to South Africa and joined the Regulatory Industry, moved to Cape Town for a year (and hated every minute of it). Then briefly moved to Abu Dhabi for all of 3 days (one of the stupidest travel moves I’ve ever made).
But… I regret nothing.
This is who I am – a wanderer of note, always looking for something new and exciting. I guess it’s part and parcel of being a Gemini and yes, sometimes, I make rash, silly decisions, but if you’re smart enough, you can wiggle your way out of anything.
I started this blog back in 2011 and since then, I’ve grown it into an online scrap book of memories. More than that, I’ve let it become a space for me to share my stories and all the things I’ve seen and done, in the hopes that I just might inspire other women to be brave enough to venture abroad too.
I’m not going to lie, travelling half way around the world can be pretty scary, especially for a young woman who’s never done it before, but it’s also so empowering. You learn things about the world, but you also learn things about yourself in the process. And, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
I hope to inspire you to start creating your own adventures too!
Read some of the adventures
My first year in China was filled with all sorts of adventures. From unknowingly tasting shark fin soup at a teacher’s dinner to trekking to the 10th tower of the Great Wall – the adventures were endless. […]
Let me tell you a story of two nights spent in Paris, one entire day searching for the Eiffel Tower and lots and lots of rain. Exploring Paris is a remarkably wonderful idea, when you have bountiful […]
What do you do when, whilst walking through thousands of vermilion gates and Shinto shrines, you unexpectedly wander off the common path and stumble into what looks like a traditional Japanese cemetery?