Globetrotters: Janaline Smalman (South Africa)

  • Tell us about yourself and where we can find more about your travelling.

Hi there, my name is Janaline and I am a South-African girl who is addicted to travelling and seeing the world. I have been travelling and working my way around the world for more than a decade now and have had some amazing experiences along the way. When you live in a country you get to experience it from a different view than that of the ordinary tourist, I think it’s the people of the country and the little crazy everyday things that keep it interesting. Right now I am working in and exploring Cape Town, South Africa! You can come and read all about my adventures on my journey blogDSC03506

  • How many countries have you visited and where would like to settle down at some point (I know you fall in love in so many places, but choose one and tell us why)?

I have travelled to about 26 countries so far and it is extremely hard to choose my favourite. Each country or city has something that makes it special or stand out from the others and offer a reason to settle there. But I think I might have found the area I would like to settle down in for a couple of years. The Cape region here in South Africa is so beautiful, filled with friendly people, beautiful places, so much art and don’t forget the great wine! I have been living here for a bit over a year now and think I would like to make this area my home for a while.


  • What do you miss most, aside from your family, from home?

I miss the taste of home, home cooked meals made with the spices and herbs blended just the way that South Africans can. I miss the open spaces and the weird sense of humour we South Africans have.

  • Where did you meet the friendliest people and how did you feel about being around them?

The friendliest people were definitely in Turkey. Nearly each shop owner invited us for a coffee but after a while the friendliness does get a bit much and can make you feel uncomfortable. Especially when you walk along the street, woman alone and people invite you in for coffee or even propose to you!


  • Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?

I think I made the biggest fool of myself while living in Moscow. My first winter here in Moscow was a huge shock to my system. As I grew up in sunny South-Africa I have never experienced cold like this before and was definitely not prepared. My first experience of -27 degree weather was quite comical. The wind was blowing outside and you could see that it was a cold day but I felt confident that I could wrap up warm enough. I got dressed in 2 warm vests, a long sleeved top, 2 sweaters, a jacket and then over all this put on a warm coat. I had on stockings and jeans over them, thermal socks and even some fur-lined boots that I bought the previous weekend. I put on a warm hat, folded my coat’s collar up and wrapped a scarf around so that in the end only my eyes and nose stuck out. I felt that now I was ready to brave the Russian cold.

I looked and moved like the Oros man (the South-African version of the Michelin man) and got into the lift with one of my neighbours, they just stared at me, said something in Russian and laughed all the way down. Secretly I was hoping that he commented on how cold it was today but I suspect he might have said something about me looking like an idiot dressed up like that and that it’s not even that cold outside.

The sidewalk was covered in ice so I did my penguin shuffle, where I hardly lift my feet and move forward with small shuffles and my arms straight out to the side so that I can balance. An old lady of about 70 sped past me with her shopping but did turn and laughed at me before speeding along again.

By the time I reached the metro my eyes were watering from the cold wind, my nose felt frozen and ice had formed where I was breathing against my scarf.

You can read all about this adventure here.

  • Tell us about a favourite dish from the world and one from your country that everybody should try (If you have a picture, share it with us).

My favourite dishes are all from Vietnam! My top dish is “Ban Xeo”, which is a large crispy omelet with prawns, pork, beansprouts, spring onions and tons of oil. The golden crepe (rice pancake) is accompanied with a fresh array of vegetables like basil, a savoury leaf (which they call the fish leaf), a large leaf that tastes like wasabi, and a range of others I don’t know the names of. Together the flavours fuse into an incredibly crispy, savory, minty mix!

It’s a messy dish because you eat with your hands so take some wet wipes with you. You break the “Ban Xeo” into pieces and then pack it onto the big fish leaf with an assortment of the other leaves, sprouts and onions. You roll it into a spring roll with the lettuce and dip it in the fish sauce as you eat it. Absolutely delicious!!!

You can read about the other two dishes here.


  • One thing you don’t like about other travelers or traveling?

People who travel to other countries or foreign cities and then don’t try out the local cuisine really irritates me.

When you travel you have to be willing to give anything a go, well almost anything. Tell yourself that you may not be in this situation again so you better try it now. Whether you are trying a new food or doing an activity like hot-air-ballooning, it is important to always give it a go. Don’t be the one who wishes you did it years later. Be the one that gave everything a try.????????????????????????????????????

My motto is if I don’t try something I will never know what it is like and there is no time like the present to do it. Be a risk taker, but within reason and live life to the fullest.  You will be amazed at how many more adventures you will have by simply saying yes more than no. Give it a go and try it at least once.

  • What has been your most valuable lesson learned from travel?

As soon as you leave your comfort zone and step out to see the world, you meet new people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines and simply breathe in the unfamiliar surroundings!

While traveling is a big adventure it can also be frustrating and challenging at some times. I learned countless lessons by going through adventures and misadventures, tears and laughter while exploring the world. I know I still have so much to discover and so many things to learn.

But so far traveling has definitely enriched my life and taught me so much, not only about the world around me but also about myself.

There are a couple of lessons that sometimes I had to learn the hard way.

The first lesson was: Appreciation and Understanding

Traveling around the world and seeing people in all sorts of circumstances makes me appreciate my freedom and life more and more. I don’t think you can truly appreciate what you have until you travel somewhere and are faced with poverty, or to a place where people don’t have the same freedoms we are blessed with back home. That is where I consider myself lucky, and I don’t think I would have ever come to this realization without traveling so far and wide.

I have learned to accept others for who they are and have created bonds with people outside my own culture. This has taught me to respect their beliefs and customs although I don’t always understand them. Sometimes I think as a society we have very closed minds to other cultures and I believe travel teaches you to understand and appreciate other cultures and what they stand for.

You can read about all the other “life lessons” travelling has taught me here.


About Imagineth

Ukraine born and raised...... after that, a long time has passed :P I'm an observer. Stopped traveling for a while. This is my break. Tomorrow is another day, hopefully tomorrow will bring me somewhere closer to the beach and the sun!

One comment

  1. Wonderful interview!

    Liked by 1 person

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