To say that I have travel in my blood, both literally and figuratively, would be an understatement. My blood family’s heritage starts in South Africa when a shipwrecked Portuguese sailor is washed ashore along the West Coast after a storm. Clinging to life, he walks to Cape Town, and sets in motion a lineage of D’Oliviera’s across the country. My adopted family arrived as missionaries during the 1820’s, and my mother was the first female purserette on the Union Castle Lines. I grew up with tales of travel ringing in my ears.

I have been travelling passionately from my late teens, and I’m now in my late 40’s… I’ve lost count of the amount of passports I’ve owned. Unfortunately travelling can be very expensive, especially for South Africans on SA passports, so I don’t get to go anywhere on a whim.

I have pinched pennies and backpacked through Europe, travelled First Class to luxuriate on Caribbean yachts, driven an RV up and down the coast of California, taken bum numbing trains across India, put my life on the line in Tunisia, and run from volcanoes in Bali… to name but a few of the varied places I have travelled to.

I think I have a unique perspective on what it means to travel, and what it takes to be in the tourism industry. I own and run a guest house in the Klein Karoo, with my partner Andre. We’ve been together since 1994 and have been running Wolverfontein Karoo since 2007.

Apart from attempting to achieve my travel bucket list, I’m also attempting to avoid kicking the bucket. I’ve been HIV for close on 30 years, and although I’ve literally “bought the farm”, I would prefer to not kick the bucket until I’ve kicked the bucket list.

I’ve survived having full blown AIDS, and its various opportunistic infections, and I certainly showed Testicular Cancer where to hang its hat.

So I continue to move forward, with an always developing outrage at social injustice, a deeper understanding of what remarkable privileges have come from being white in South Africa, a greater understanding of the responsibilities I have to the LGBTQI community, a pinch of evangelical atheism, and a profound gratefulness to have been able to love (and be loved by) my partner for close on three decades.

I hope that you’ll enjoy my writing, and join me as I carry on attempting to Kick the Bucket List.