We are excited to introduce Chloë Liebenberg as your Program Advisor for Cape Town and New Delhi.
Born to travel
I have travel hard-wired into me. My parents blessed and cursed me with an incredible curiosity about the world and its diverse cultures.
When I had asked about people living in far away places they showed me images of remote villages in Tibet, and my bedtime stories came from a book filled with traditional stories from around the world. I used this same book years later to teach little people about how we as humans we are more alike than we are different.
My father is a storyteller by trade, and my mother curates the bits and pieces from their extensive travels in their home in South Africa so that a visual journey of their explorations is shared with all who are welcomed there. This is where I learned that the world is so much more than the constructs imposed upon us as little people. I learned that questions fuel questions and that one’s opinions are formed by one’s experiences, and that the scope of experience is vast.
Teaching around the world
I studied education and specialised in curriculum development and special education. I encouraged children to ask big questions and expect big answers right from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.
I have lived and worked in incredible spaces and learned to ask my own big questions and expect big answers that informed my teaching and contributed to life-changing experiences. I lived in Bangladesh and traveled most of Southeast Asia and the Sub Continent where many of my visits felt like homecomings because of the stories and artifacts I had heard and played with as a child. I came home a little to breathe and my wanderlust sent me to live in Mexico where I explored a language and culture so far from my own and fell in love with the subtleties of wordplay and the fierce cultural pride of the Mexican people.
If I could..wander the ancient temple complex of Angor Wat again – I didn’t spend nearly enough time there and I would love to go back!
If I could…eat street food every day I would be a very happy girl! My favourites include pretty much all the street food in Beijing (oh my goodness, especially wild mushrooms grilled over hot coals!), aloo shingara (a samosa filled with potato, chili, and peanuts) from the vendor who sets up mid-morning every day at Gulshan 2 circle in Dhaka, Gai Bing (grilled chicken skewers) in Bangkok, quesadilla con flor de calabasa ( corn tortilla with cheese and pan fried squash flowers) from the vegetable market on Avenida Revolucion in Pachuca.
If I could…do meaningful things in every place that I visit, I would leave knowing more about the place I’ve visited and who I am. I spent an afternoon speaking to a man who’d lost his legs to a landmine in Cambodia – he sat on a cart and sold pirated books. We drank coffee together and debated the deeper message behind “the Life of Pi”. I learned about humility and again about hearing another perspective, especially based on a profoundly different experience.
If I could…offer you some travel advice try everything twice! Explore off the beaten track, meet the locals, have at least a ‘no thank you bite’ of every new food you can – then talk to the person who made it for you and find out a myriad of incredible things about culture and tradition, ask questions, be kind, share with others and you’ll have so much shared with you!