What are you doing?


By Tanya Seiderer

Dave Ramsey, American radio announcer and financial advisor, once said: “We buy things with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”.

I think the average person has a misperception of joy. Because yes, joy and happiness are two different subjects.

Social media skews our life perspective. My definition of success and joy in life is definitely not going to be yours, but what do you let yourself be guided by? What do you measure yourself against?

Where did humanity stray from the path? Why does everyone follow other people like sheep to the slaughter? Have we really lost all track of reality and don’t stop for a moment and think about it?

Ernst Grundling, comedian, author, journalist and skilled hiker, perhaps a pilgrim if you like, has made pilgrimages a hot topic on many people’s lips. Is a 270 km hike in the beautiful Garden Route, 307 km from Stellenbosch to Cape Agulhas or, for the more adventurous soul, 616 km in Portugal perhaps really our answer to clearing our heads and living more consciously?

Pilgrimages were originally undertaken as a long journey to a place of specific spiritual or spiritual value and to prove commitment to the faith. Pilgrimages are not unique to one faith at all, but are practiced by various faiths, and include Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.

Don’t think that 200 km on foot along a beautiful mountain pass is going to solve all your problems for you, but I would say that it creates the ideal milieu – that’s when you are no longer aware of the burning blister on your little toe and the merciless sun on you face not

Where else will one get the opportunity to be left alone with one’s thoughts with one’s most basic belongings on one’s back, nature stretched out in front of one and walking stick in hand?

Reflecting on pilgrimages, many pilgrims have shared how the worries about materialistic joy change into a healthy life perspective. Something that lay in front of you like a mountain or was a burning thorn in the flesh – decays into a trivial nothingness. The desires for more – more money, a bigger house, more prestige take second place.

During pilgrimages, the pilgrim is dependent on his route and who he encounters. The pilgrim’s ethos plays a big role here: to be grateful for what you get and to be constantly aware of how little one really needs to not only survive, but to be truly happy.

A pilgrimage will take you out of the mad rush and allow you to look at your life as an “outsider” and thus one gets the opportunity to look with new eyes at blessings that have only become taken for granted.

The Ecclesiastes warned years ago that everything is chasing the wind. We quickly think yes, but times have changed. In fact, those words are just as applicable in today’s society as they were when they were first penned down. So be on the lookout in which directions your winds are blowing you.

  • Tanya Seiderer is a freelance writer.