Meet Rouxné van der Westhuizen, a travel and environmental journalist and instructor at Africa Media, a wildlife media company situated in Mossel Bay in the Garden Route, the most beautiful part of South Africa according to her. 🙂
Where do you work and live? In the Hartenbos neighbourhood of Mossel Bay, an inspiring coastal town in the Western Cape.
Tell us a bit about yourself? Your life story, how did you end up where you are now? After studying for four years in Potchefstroom, I moved back to my home town of Mossel Bay in 2019. Though I didn’t necessarily plan on going back, it was fate (and the most wonderful job) that drew me back. As a result, I’ve fallen in love with the town all over again by getting to know it in a completely new way. Writing has always been my first love, even though I didn’t always share it with others. I have a very wide variety of interests, including people, art, music, literature, culture, the outdoors… My greatest ideal has been to find a way to combine these interests, and to tell the stories of people and subjects worth listening to. Whether it be an inspiring life story, a conservation or wildlife issue, or an unforgettable experience of a new place or adventure, in this world there will always be something to write about. I believe the journey of self-discovery and growth is never-ending, and we should all make the most of the unmissable opportunity called Life.
What is your favourite part of working and living in Mossel Bay? The fact that it’s in my home town means that I’m among the people I love. I also work with a group of highly professional and exceptionally cool people, which makes being part of a company that offers training programs in wildlife and environmental media even better. I meet inspiring people on a daily basis, people whose first priority and passion is the protection of wildlife. My viewpoint is that everyone should prioritise or at least be considerate towards nature, because frankly, it was there first and we are essentially part of it. My work has become a means to express myself and because I’m still at the start of my career, I’m learning new things every day.
What does a typical day in your life look like? I like to wake up earlier than I need to, watch a little Nat Geo Wild, read a magazine or update myself on the news over a cup of coffee. Only after about an hour or so, I’d start getting into the day’s work: emails, gathering story ideas, researching, writing, blogging, and of course, tutoring my students about writing and pitching freelance travel and environmental articles. On admin days, or when I don’t have any students for the month, I like to still get out of the house and find a space that inspires me to work – local coffee shops or a spot with an ocean view are always at the top of the list.
Any story you would like to share? If someone told me two years ago that I’d be engaged by January 2019, I would have laughed. Yet, here we are. During a family holiday, he woke me up at 5 o’ clock in the morning for a picnic on the beach, which I wasn’t impressed with at first. But it turned out well. He got a job in Mossel Bay as a biokineticist, three weeks before I got a job. He now prides himself of “being here first.” I’ve never been a huge romantic, but I do know that once you’ve found someone who’s willing to share your dreams and motivate you in becoming the best possible version of yourself, that person is worth holding on to (and deserves your returned love and encouragement). The two of us are planning some great adventures together, and that’s one of the best things in life I could have asked for. A good example for me in this was my older brother who recently got married to a girl from Wisconsin, USA, whom he met while working as a sound engineer on cruise ship. Their wedding was the reason behind our family’s first trip to America! I’m also definitely going to write a book about their story one day.
You can follow her on the following links:
Facebook/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rouxne.vanderwesthuizen