Ondela Mlandu is taking us on a trip of beautiful adventures

Technology has made it possible for millennials to seamlessly work remotely. The traditional 9-5 is a primitive concept that we’re consistently working to eradicate. All we want is to have parallel work and life experiences.

Such is the scenario of Ondela Mlandu’s life. She is a joy to chat to. Her cheerful personality is enough to wrap you all around her, completely oblivious of everything else around you. I kid you not, and I am not saying this for brownie points or because of my enormous love for black women who are content in their own skin, dreams and ambitions.

But because I believe her new gig is a perfect fit. The audience of the airwaves are in for a treat – as the travel and lifestyle show coming to 2oceansvibe’ radio station, will be a funducation session for both avid and prospective travelers.

“I’ve always wanted to experiment with radio. I go to a lot of radio interviews for traveling and other things. I know the station manager, Rowen Johannes. We’ve spoken about a radio show but somehow we’d never seem to work because of timing.”

At the end of last year, the duo decided it would be a good element to the station, ‘seeing that there wasn’t anything that focuses on the travel and lifestyle. “

“It came at a perfect time, where a girl is a little bit mature. And really excited about it.”

‘’I’m self-aware, self-motivated and a go getter,” she says this of herself.

Elaborating that she is far from the awkwardly introverted teenager she once was. “I still am introverted but I’ve grown to be independent in my thinking and doing. I found my voice.”

Like the rest of us who grew up watching YOTv and KTv, she thought one day, she’d be a television presenter.

This of course, on her part, was a tried and tested theory, with a stint at BAY TV in PE –  including a number of auditions. This is where she discovered the beauty of media’s behind the scenes.

It all started in high school, when she studied tourism as a subject and decided it might be something worth pursuing.

She then went on to study marketing and tourism, with the idea that she can have the best of both worlds.

“After varsity, I took a study/gap year. I stayed in Amsterdam for a year. I had a blog, where I basically captured all my travels. Then, I didn’t know that it would unravel this way.”

Upon her return home, she worked at a Cape Town agency as an intern, to a full time employee. A year in, she was scouted for a job at Getaway magazine.

“It was actually a friend, who worked at the magazine, Vuyi Qubeka, who recommended me and that’s how I got into the magazine. Which is SA’s best travel magazine, I am not being biased.”

She cites support from parents as her greatest blessing, “My parents never limited me, in terms of my dreams. I was always allowed to dream much bigger. I’m fortunate and blessed because of that.”

She explains, that another reason for her love of travel is the ability to take pleasure in the exploration of different lifestyles, cultures, and settings.

Attributing books and literature for the interest. “You know, when you read books you visualise the places, the settings of where the characters in the story are – and because of that, I have always been intrigued by the world and what it has to offer.”

As a newbie in the travel sphere, I marvel at the likes of Ondela, who are passionate about travel and even go about it solo.

A post shared by Ondela M. (@ondela_m) on Oct 18, 2018 at 11:11am PDT

My Namibian trip has, for the past two years, remained postponed because I am terrified of solo travel. Which is not really on par with my personality, as I am quite confident about my alone-ness. I have always done things alone.

And with the benefits that she and other interviewees noted in True Love Magazine, I believe I will revisit the solo travel issue.

“Solo traveling is one of the incredible things that one could ever do but it’s not for everyone. It creates a lot of self-introspection, self-awareness, and has psychological benefits. It allows you to get to know yourself better. It puts you in a zone where you’re so comfortable with yourself, like for me – going to dinner by myself is incredible. It gets you out of your comfort zone, if you’re an introvert like me, you have to push yourself to make friends, talk to people, ask for directions, and in that, you will rediscover yourself.”

While that sounds peaches and cream, I think my major concern is safety. I had to ask her the real question, it’s no secret that human trafficking is a real thing – particularly at a time where some countries are facing violent unrest and people going missing, so how does a black woman, ensure safety during the bucket list checks?

“I get this a lot. I think research, research, it’s so important to familiarise yourself with your travel destination. And if you’re traveling individually, you need to know that it is going to be safe for you as a woman. Ask people who’ve been [at your destination], find out their experiences.”

When you want to travel, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. And I couldn’t agree more with Ondela, research is vital. I’ve said as much on my previous travel article.

And, her show came at a precise moment, when we really need to have these discussions. She will use her experiences to drive a show that is “fun and uses practical ways to advise listeners on how to book for their travels, [and all the] the nitty gritty bits that people overlook when it comes to planning a trip.

She will be bringing in guests and share traveling tips for us millennials, because truth is, our bank accounts are not really set up for luxurious travels.

“I am looking forward to engaging with people, about their travel experiences, [shifting the minds of] people who dream of traveling but never think that it’s doable. I am thrilled and I really can’t wait for the show to kick off.”

Take A Trip with Ondela M premieres on Tuesday, 12-2pm on 2oceansvibe radio.