Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Bench Africa’s Anji Johnson

This week, Bench Africa’s sales manager for Queensland, NSW and the NT gave us a virtual yoga lesson. The lesson was that we are not very flexible.

What are you reading?

I tend to read two or three books at once and am always more drawn to books based on true events. At the moment, I am reading Shantaram, Colombiano and Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl.

What are you watching?

Narcos, Money Heist and Tiger King.

What are you listening to?

Ziggy Alberts, Ella Fitzgerald, Xavier Rudd and Tash Saltana.

What are you cooking?

I have gone full Italian mumma while in isolation. There has been ricotta, pumpkin and rosemary stuffed tortellini with a burnt butter and sage sauce, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, and tagliatelle puttanesca. All of the pasta I make from scratch.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

Every morning, I walk along the boardwalk with my best friend, it is the best way to start the day for your mind and body.

Then also do an hour of yoga straight after to wake up and warm up my body. Twice a week, I hold online yoga classes for our agents which go for about 30 minutes, and I always finish every afternoon with another hour of yoga and walking.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

I cannot have just one thing! My team, my friends, coffee and wine.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

It has been wonderful to see people volunteering to look after elderly neighbours and friends, offering to get their groceries so they can stay inside, helping with meals and errands.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

I am actually really content in my own company. As a BDM, I am always meeting new people every day, and I love this aspect of my job. So, naturally, I am a social butterfly.

But, during this time, I have learnt that I can be by myself quite happily and the quiet time to myself has been brilliant.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis?

Above all else, look after yourself. This too shall pass, but if you have not looked after your mind, body and soul, you will not be in a state to do the job you love when our industry bounces back.

Make sure you take care of yourself. This is the perfect chance to slow down and centre yourself – don’t waste this opportunity.

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