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Finding myself on the plains of the birthplace of humanity

On a journey to self-awareness, Ryan Enslin heads for the hills north of Joburg and discovers that farmhouse-chic and yoga are all you need to recover from being hacked.

By Ryan Enslin
The minimalist aesthetic welcomes the traveller to a place where time takes on a different, somewhat slower dimension (Image Credit: Ryan Enslin).

Late last year, I sensed change was afoot in my life, change that would impact me at an existential level. This forbearance came not on the wind, as is often the case, but rather as a ripple in my very waters. It was a comforting feeling that I instinctively sensed bore me no malice. I stood perched on the slippery-tiled edge of a centuries-wide black hole, expectantly peering into an abyss that would affect a shift in my zeitgeist. The core of my humanity was about to be laid bare in a chain of events that I knew could not be thwarted.

The process manifested itself in various guises. It started with the hacking of my Instagram account in late November 2022, an account into which I had put ten years of social labour. Two minutes after I realised the account was gone, a sense of freedom descended upon me; I recall that moment as if it happened but five minutes ago.

My health was another of the issues under review, part of my karmic assessment, my body having told me during 2022 that things were not ok. As a travel writer and photographer, I chase one deadline after the next while enjoying the fruits of many a lodge or hotel, proud owners often desirous of sharing said fruits. Wine and whisky (sometimes even whiskey) flow freely, and multi-course meals are the order of the day. Add to the mix my childhood disdain for exercise; you guessed it, I was a ticking timebomb. On every level.

And so it was in this frame of mind that I visited Farmhouse 58 earlier this year. A mere 45-minute drive northwest of Joburg, I could not have planned a bout of downtime any better had I consciously applied my mind to the task at hand. Part of the larger project58 conscious community, Farmhouse 58 is driven by the tenets of co-creation, wellness and connection. Located in the Cradle of Humankind, these tenets have indeed been the way of nature for the last 3.8 billion years, where the land has revealed fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on earth in this proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The core philosophies which underpin Farmhouse 58 are continued in visual delight in the rustic yet minimalistic farmhouse-chic design motif. And it is infectious from the moment of arrival, extending a sense of peace and serenity from the outset.

Design and décor elements were intentional as aides to my journey, one I was beginning to understand more fully as this sense of change continued to sweep through my life.

Things take longer at Farmhouse 58 – meals are prepared using produce from the extensive on-site veggie gardens. These gardens employ 11 locals whose families have lived on and worked these ancient lands for generations. Co-creation with community and wellness evident, there before my very eyes. But within this added time, I found a gift; an opportunity to talk to and connect with people around me. I used this time at certain meals for purposeful self-reflection, a gift indeed.

Veggie gardens provide the freshest of ingredients for all meals served at Farmhouse 58 (Image Credit: Ryan Enslin).
The gardens at Farmhouse 58 have been laid out to optimise co-creation with the community while remaining connected to nature at all times (Image Credit: Ryan Enslin).

The slow pace continued in many of the activities on the farm. An early start on my first morning saw me embark on a hike with guide Lesego Mapeka as we headed for the hills that flank the property. What appeared to me to be pleasant conversation sparked by our friendly host turned into purposeful interactions with my fellow hikers. We stopped many times, taking time to reach our destination and enabling a greater appreciation of the beauty of the lands that had birthed our shared humanity.

Having challenged myself to take a yoga class when planning this trip, my fortitude and commitment to my karmic assessment were tested on my last day on the farm. Venturing down to the open-air yoga studio, set back from farm activities in a spot of lush vegetation, I joined Radiyya Ismail for a yoga class.

Yoga in the open-air studio celebrates nature as you twist and turn in interesting poses (Image Credit: Ryan Enslin).

While the class was full of firsts for me, interlaced with unusual poses that I battled with occasionally, the experience reinforced the imperative of intentionality in my daily life. It dawned upon me that just showing up held the possibility of a positive life change at a future time. And that made my sojourning soul jump for joy.

As with all good experiences, my stay at Farmhouse 58 ended all too quickly. I could have revelled in Mother Nature for a bit longer but left knowing that this journey was but a stop on a more significant voyage my soul had embarked on. Thank you Miss_Rosemary001 for hacking my Instagram account last year. You set me on an intentional path to wellness on every level, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

See you on the other side of this rainbow we call life.

Find Farmhouse 58 on the R540 Kromdraai Road, opposite the Nirox Sculpture Park, or contact them via the website.

Ryan Enslin

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