2012s lessons learned & experience gained . . .

I don’t like resolutions, I think the fact that you need to stand on the precipice of a new year and promise to do stupid shit that you inevitably do not do is fucking stupid! If you have wanted to do something you would have done it already, the fact that you were waiting for the current year to end is merely an excuse to delay and as Pof Parkinson so wisely put it “Delay is the deadliest form of denial”

I far prefer looking back over the past year at my successes, my failures, the learning’s and the things that have changed me for better or for worse. I like to look at these things in retrospect to see where I have gone wrong and where I can try be better, happier and more successful in any sphere I think it necessary, certainly not just professionally.

So here goes (I like pictures so I’ve tried to use these wherever possible) . . .


The year started with a regular trip to the perfect sunny slopes of Arosa. This has been an annual trip for our family for pretty much my entire life (I could ski pretty much before I could walk) and as this years trip was my last one, living in South Africa, I didn’t realize until it was over the significance of it.





My family is a little scattered around the world now and its amazing when you are not close to your family, geographically, how much you miss them. I miss Friday night dinners at my parents, I miss the chaos of my two brilliantly beautiful nephews and I miss messing around with my two older brothers. It seems that our lives so far have flashed past us and somehow we ended up millions of miles away from each other, fortunately we continue to be very close, however its amazing how much you take time for granted until its no longer possible anymore.

Funny, every person will always tell you this but until you realize it yourself you will never fully appreciate it, I guess we can only hope that its not at the loss of someone close as this year I’ve seen many of my friends and family experience. Its sad and pathetically soppy I know but regardless of your relationships with your family, every time you get the chance to, hug them all a little tighter, none of us know how much time we have left together.

PS On a side note the Airbus A380 is fucking epic!!

Life Changes.

In March I moved to Shanghai for many reasons. It was a job that was supposed to be the first time I could elevate myself out of day to day operations and focus on building a long term strategic business in China. To date I suppose it hasn’t exactly turned out that way as I currently find myself running a business if 13 000 people with about 16 direct reports who barely speak English, needless to say it has been interesting.







What I’ve found to be most important is that in life we so often like things to stay the same. Not that that’s a bad thing but for me I needed life to be challenging again, I needed to be pushed and this gave me the opportunity to do it in probably the most vibrant city in the world! Has it been easy, certainly not in fact sometimes its so frustrating I want to cry in the fetal position in the shower but has it been interesting, that goes without saying. It has been perhaps the greatest learning time for as long as I can remember – plus it has certainly changed a few stereotypes of China for me.

All in all 10 months in I continue to be on the border of invincible and totally defeated even on a daily basis but one thing I have learnt for absolute certain is that in life its important when you get a win, no matter how small, you celebrate it! The other thing I’ve learnt is no matter how hard things are and difficult life seems, you never, ever wish time away because each moment defines you no matter how hard it may seem at the time. Someone much smarter than me once said ‘this too will pass’ but I really do believe it is important to experience it all one moment at a time.



I’ve written a lot this year about South Africa through a number of different lenses. I guess having some distance gives one a bit of perspective. The most often asked question between SAns living here is will you ever go back? The truth is I’m not sure, my feeling is and will remain that I believe there really is no place like home and for its flaws I believe in the Africa that I came from, I really do. Having said that there are some very real issues that you can clearly see when you step out of the snow globe for a while. We have a President who is an absolutely epic moron, with respect, he is openly corrupt, completely useless at his job, has led us down a path of embarrassment and left us longing for an ailing Nelson Mandela to turn back the years and lead us once more. At least for now it seems like we have gotten rid of the spoiled whiny sociopath that is and was JuJu!!


My fear is that there is no one left to make the hard decisions in our country and it reminds me of a kill at Inyati where the lions take down some prey and eat until they are so fat they can’t move, then the hyenas come and fight over the scraps with the hordes of vultures picking at whatever is left of the poor carcass. One by one each species has its turn to stuff itself.south-africa-olympics


I experienced from a far the triumph of sportsman in London that for a brief moment allowed a shattered country to reunite behind a common goal only for it to be splintered again by the massacre of miners in Lonmin. An event that has opened a Pandora’s Box of disruption and chaos scarring the miners and people of South Africa with its apartheid style slaughter.

south africa olympics london 2012 fans

Closer to the end of the year again my heart was plunged into homesick sadness as I watched videos of a real true homegrown hero trying to make a difference for people in such desperate need of it, once again I truly believed that the soul of Africa is too good, too strong to let us die down this path filled with greed, corruption and gluttony!

So my roller-coaster of emotion and bonds with my home continues on. Like I have said before, there really is no place like home!




I guess this one is a little more caveman in its make up than the rest but this year in a city like Shanghai I have really realized that I live to eat, I truly do!



11 I have experienced meals that have blown every part of my mind from tasting menus prepared by students to the visionary opening of UV by Paul Pairet.


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Like with music I cannot believe how these people, these magnificent creatures mange to create such sensational things out of absolutely nothing. It really is a gift and it is an honor of mine to be able to experience things like this so often.



I truly do live to eat!



2012 was a bit of a bumper year for travel for me really.

There was the trip to Switz with the family in Jan, then move to Shanghai in March. After that a quick swing back to SA in June and then things started to get fun.

A swing through Singapore . . .



Then on to London to see two very special family members get married with a small stop off to recharge ones civility in Oxford.












Then into a few days of magical Bali . . .







Onto Russia (from Russia with love – a mad town!) and Bangkok (what i learnt in 30hrs in Bangkok) one for business and one to hang out for a weekend with the a fore mentioned brothers.









Finally to end the year with in my middle brothers new backyard of Patong Phuket & The Racha . . .  













With a sprinkling of trips inside China to keep things interesting. It’s quite amazing the things you learn when you travel in China, I’ve tried to put them all down but some I just cannot do justice to!

There are far too many pics to explain all the different words i would use for this adventure . . . you will have to go look for yourself!

So to sum it up 2012 was a fantastically difficult year, an amazingly challenging one and certainly both personally and professionally rewarding. In amongst it all I turned 30 with the absolute honest view that the 30s may well be the best decade yet, who knows really as long as you have fun along the way what else really matters.

So for now I remain content in rainy freezing Shanghai and will dive head on into 2013! May it be a sensational one for all of us!