south africa

Exploring South Africa and Tanzania with Reuben Hernandez by Katherine Yaksich

My guest post and Africa images on the We Keep Exploring blog:

My dear friend Andrew and I decided to do a 6 week adventure in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zanzibar because he quit his job this year and launched his own company. We wanted to do some things we have never done before, such as summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the seven summits and the highest mountain in Africa. I was on a personal long time mission to see Great White sharks breach in South Africa, which I missed on my previous two trips to Cape Town. Just over five years ago, I also quit my full time job, hit the reset button, and hopped on a plane bound for South Africa.

For the past five years, traveling and exploration has been much of an independent pursuit, as I am often sent out on assignments on my own or other people just don’t have the flexibility to join me. A huge challenge with being away on the road so much is that I can sometimes feel disconnected from my community and friends. Building community, exploring, and creating are some of my core values, and to be able to share all of those things together at the same time with a good friend is quite meaningful and memorable. And at times it was beautiful and transcendent, especially at the top of Africa at nearly 20,000 ft above sea level, and when we took a boat out to surf the outer reefs of Zanzibar. 

Lately, I’ve had this grand vision of building community through travel, exploration, and creating art, and I’m reminded of the following quote by Christopher McCandless, “Happiness only real when shared.”

There is beauty everywhere worth pursuing and exploring, even in the places that we least expect it. Get out there and find it. Be fearless. Be wild. Be free.

All My Best,
Reuben

by Katherine Yaksich

Exactly 4 years ago, I left my native California and embarked on a 9 month journey around the world, in pursuit of adventure and the human story. I hopped on a plane bound for South Africa and Mozambique, and then took a 15,653 mile road trip across North America. I sold my car upon arriving in NYC, and haven’t looked back ever since. #neverstopexploring #roadtrip #canigraduate #wanderlust (at New York City)

Exactly 4 years ago, I left my native California and embarked on a 9 month journey around the world, in pursuit of adventure and the human story. I hopped on a plane bound for South Africa and Mozambique, and then took a 15,653 mile road trip across North America. I sold my car upon arriving in NYC, and haven’t looked back ever since. #neverstopexploring #roadtrip #canigraduate #wanderlust (at New York City)

by Katherine Yaksich

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2013 was definitely a year to remember, and above are my ten favorite images from last year. Looking back at all the images I captured and the projects I was fortunate to work on makes me realize how blessed and lucky I am. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel all around the world doing what I love, telling stories, capturing beauty, and working with incredibly talented, creative people. It’s been absolutely fulfilling, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

I kicked off 2013 marveling at the infamous Sydney fireworks from a sailboat in the harbor. The fireworks were literally exploding right above my head, and it was breathtaking and surreal. After exploring Australia and New Zealand for 6 weeks (and knocking several things off of my bucket list :), I was home in NY for a few days before I was back on the road again for a month filming Exposed, a documentary film series about tuberculosis in the UK, South Africa, India, Nashville, and DC. Working on Exposed was definitely a professional highlight, and securing our visas for India was nothing short of a miracle!

Personally, a memorable moment was meeting the French artist, JR, one of my favorite artists and the creator of the Inside Out Project, the world’s largest participatory art project. I was asked to document and shoot time-lapse of his large scale pasting/installation in Times Square. That whole experience was magical, and it made me feel like a kid in a candy store.

Another major highlight of 2013 was being selected as a finalist for Tropfest NY, the world’s largest short film festival, hosted by Liev Schreiber and judged by Malcolm Gladwell and Academy Award winning producer, Fisher Stevens (The Cove). We had the incredible opportunity to premiere our short film on the big screen in front of tens of thousands of people! It was quite unforgettable, and probably one of my most significant accomplishments since moving to NY just over 3 years ago. 

Other highlights include filming/surfing in Mexico, catching up with loved ones back home in California, exhibiting at Photoville, and finishing the year snowboarding fresh powder in Vail, Colorado.

I also spent a month living in Paris, learning French, riding a bike, drinking lots of coffee, and trying to soak in and absorb all of the beauty that is literally all over that place. The Eiffel Tower still gets me every single time. 

I’m so thankful and grateful for an awesome and fulfilling year of adventure, beauty, exploration, and good times. All together, I spent over 16 weeks on the road. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year, it’s that you shouldn’t ask yourself what kind of job you want, but rather what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Live the life you imagined, and do it courageously. It’s always important to keep it fun and exciting, especially when things get challenging or frustrating. If you don’t like your job or what you’re doing, then quit it. 

Last but not least, thank you so much to all of my friends, loved ones, clients, and colleagues for joining me on this crazy, wild adventure. It wouldn’t be the same without you, and I truly cannot thank you enough. I’ve decided to dedicate this space as a place where I will try and give back and be generous as much as possible (inspired by Chase Jarvis).

Let’s create something beautiful together this year!

Carpe Diem,
Reuben

Photo Captions
1. A shark on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, just outside Port Douglas
2. New Delhi, India, the 7th largest urban agglomeration in the world with a population of 23 million people
3. Hadouken self-portrait in Austin, Texas using the remote timer and my wristwatch
4. Paris, France, also known as the City of Light
5. A portrait of a Parisian in Le Marais
6. The scene outside my apartment window in Lisbon, Portugal
7. The Indian Sunrise on the 6 am train from New Delhi to Agra
8. The Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand, one of Jacques Cousteau’s top 10 favorite dive locations in the world
9. Pristine, untouched beauty in Wilson’s Promontory, Australia
10. Winter wonderland on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado

All images © Reuben Hernandez

by Katherine Yaksich

This is one of my most memorable travel moments of all time. My South African friend, Garth,   had been visiting Kruger for over 14 years and had never seen a leopard there until this moment. We saw not one, but two leopards (mom and cub) crossing the road in front of our vehicle.

This is one of my most memorable travel moments of all time. My South African friend, Garth, had been visiting Kruger for over 14 years and had never seen a leopard there until this moment. We saw not one, but two leopards (mom and cub) crossing the road in front of our vehicle.

by Katherine Yaksich

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Going through old South Africa footage makes me excited to plan my next adventure. Here are some screen shots from Kruger National Park and great white shark diving in Gansbaai. The lion was filmed using a 50 mm lens from an open air safari vehicle so that’s really how close it was.