Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Bench Africa’s Bonnie-Sue O’Garey

This week, we went on a virtual safari with Bench Africa’s state manager for NSW and the ACT. And by that, we mean we looked at YouTube videos of elephants while we interviewed her.

What are you reading?

I’ve gone back to study in all of this madness, so the most exciting thing I’ve picked up to read in a few weeks is a uni textbook or a case study or three.

What are you watching?

Guiltiest pleasure at the moment is that I’m completely rewatching the entire series’ of The O.C..

What are you listening to?

Beyonce, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff are usual suspects on any of my daily mixes, but I don’t even think my Spotify knows me anymore.

I bounce from genre to genre, but the last few weeks I’ve really been blasting the Afrobeats and South African house to keep the spirit up. Liberating.

What are you cooking?

I think we’re all surely past the iso baking stage right?! But I must say, the one great thing to come from 2020 is a proper home-cooked meal for breakfast and lunch, every day. I’m starting the day with eggs and salmon and still have so much time for extra activities all before the workday.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I have been going on walks daily since March (my health app must be so proud of my 2020 step count) which has helped to keep my body moving and also been a great time to switch off the mind and just chill. Now, my corona fit lungs are full of Dettol, having recently headed back to the gym for group classes over the past few weeks.

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

More time and appreciation for our loved ones and a much bigger focus on self-love/care.

Also, the gratitude I’ve seen in so many people is a really refreshing change. I think sometimes it takes pulling back for us humans to realise we really do have it good and that little things really don’t matter.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That I am actually bonkers.

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

Be proud of what you do. This too shall pass.

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

Uluru for sure!

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

This is really so, so cheesy (and on brand), but truly what’s keeping me going is the many memories of the feeling of stepping off the aircraft post touching down in Africa.

The moment when you first step foot on African soil, to know that I will eventually feel that once more, is a guiding light.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

South Africa.

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