From the ever so enchanting Mpumalanga province, Dineo has been travelling long before I met her on Instagram and now she travels full time. She may have studied quantity survey and worked a 9-5 job, but travelling was a calling she could not ignore. At the end of 2018, she decided to quit her full time job to pursue her dreams of travelling the world and eventually reached her goal of travelling to 30 countries before turning 30. Now the young South African travelpreneur has launched her travel firm where she can help more South Africans to achieve their travel goals and to see more of the world just as much as she has.
We had an interview with Dineo and this is what she shared :
1) Tell us what career field you were in before you took to travel full time.
I worked in construction before I decided to travel full time.
2) How long were you in this field?
After studying at university for 9 years, I only started workingfull time from July 2017 then resigned at the end of August 2018. So, I worked full time for 13 months.
3) What was your role in this career field?
I was working as a Candidate/Graduate Quantity Surveyor. As a junior, I had the opportunity to learn and assist my senior and my duties included; monitoring costs relating to building and civil engineering projects – from the initial calculations to the final costs of projects.
4) What are the requirements for someone who wants to be in this field? (age, education, special skills etc).
In addition to the qualification requirements (question 5), it is beneficial to have good knowledge of construction, excellent problem-solving skills and know how to communicate as well as negotiate.
5) Do you need a college degree or qualification to be in your profession (travel and degree based occupation)?
To qualify as a quantity surveyor you can either gain a South African Diploma in Construction (QS) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Quantity Surveying or Construction Economics. You can study part- or full- time and can study while gaining experience in the construction industry.
6) Why did you choose this particular career?
In 2011, I completed studying Real Estate/Property Studiesbut felt the need to further improve my career prospects by broadening my qualifications in the property and construction industry. I also chose quantity surveying because it’s a career that gives you the opportunity to travel the world whileworking on different projects.
7) What did you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoyed working on interesting projects and having the ability to help shape the client’s requirements on paper and then being able to turn that into a reality.
8) What other careers would you try out if you could do something else?
Well, as you know I love travelling and I would probably try a few careers that allow me to live that dream. I had always loved aviation, so if I had the opportunity, I would definitely love to be a pilot. Teaching English and Travel Consultancy are other careers that I would like to try out.
Dineo embracing the smoke on Volcano Acatenango
9) Why did you choose to leave your full time job?
You simply can’t fight the travel bug, Haha! Since I am still young with no dependents, I felt like that was the right time for me to venture out into the unknown. The whole leave days situation depressed me, and I longed to explore more of this world. I prefer backpacking for longer durations compared to a week or two of vacation. So, if not now, when?
10) What inspired you to travel full time?
These days, many people are travelling full time while working remotely. There are several jobs out there that allow you to live this kind of lifestyle. So, knowing it can be done continues to inspire and motivate me every day. I’m a non-conformist and I just want to be able to make all my wildest dreams come true.
Caye Caulker is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Belize. The island was split in two by the infamous Hurricane Haitte in 1961
11) How many countries have you traveled to?
On the 23rd of March I officially reached my “30 countries before 30” goal. (My 30th birthday is on the 22nd of April).
12) What experience do you require?
To travel? What prepared me to travel full time was the fact that I had travelled (backpacked) extensively before so even though I am exploring new countries now, I have learnt from my previous trips.
When travelling fulltime, travel slowly to minimize costs, stick to your monthly budget and keep track of your finances to know what exactly you are spending your money on. I mean, there are many things to look out for in order to travel full time but I wouldn’t necessarily say you need certain kind of experience. Just book the ticket and leave!
Dineo admiring one of the New 7 Wonders of the World – Chichén Itzà in Mexico
13) Name any two travel culture shock moments that you have encountered so far.
An experience I can’t get used to is when I am met with curious stares from the locals when I am travelling in a country or village where the people have not seen an african woman before. Now I understand that they are not trying to offend me but are rather curious. However, this has made me realise that I don’t like that kind of attention (I don’t know how celebrities do it).
I have travelled in countries where stuffing the toilet full of toilet paper isn’t okay and most bathrooms have signs requesting you to place toilet paper in the bin instead of flushing it because the narrow piping may clog up. As a result, I always dread having to use a public toilet or try wait until I am back at my hostel but this can be hard because most days I have a full day of sightseeing and have no choice but to use these toilets!
14) Where is your next travel destination?
I’m currently on an indefinite trip, having travelled to all the countries in Central America in the past 7 months, I am now about to start exploring South America, starting with Colombia.
Dineo floating in the blue ocean in Cozumel, Mexico
15) Why should people follow your blog?
I live for adventure! On my blog (dineozonke.com), I don’tonly share my travel experience and photography, but I also help my readers travel smart and aim to change the typical backpacker narrative by stating the costs of the accommodation, transport and activities. I also share usefultravel tips that can be applied to any country you wish to visit.
16) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I am planning on launching my Travel Planning Business very soon, which I am very excited about. Over the years, I have gained substantial knowledge and today I can proudly say that I have successfully planned countless trips for myself and friends. In the next 5 years, in addition to blogging, I aim to be an international travel planner and travel photographer, who helps more people reach their travel goals and discover new places which they may have not thought of travelling in.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely inspired to book a ticket out of this world after reading Dineo’s interview. Dineo is bold and adventurous and I hope that she will inspire you to be bold enough to follow your dreams. To read more about this travelpreneur and to also book a trip with her, visit her website at: DineoZonke.com
Until next time, follow your passion!