Every year Brett and I have an exciting overseas trip planned. New year, new country! There is nothing better than exploring a new country especially the food and the culture.

This year, instead of a new country, we went back to South Africa where we got engaged. It is a beautiful country in all its ruggedness and heart-breaking history.

Brett and I packed, we always set ourselves a challenge, one check-in bag between us. Crazy, I know! We checked in 14kg for 2 weeks of holiday 😱

We arrived in Johannesburg at 4:30am, by 5:00am, my holiday was over. I was detained with the plan to deport me. I promise you I did NOTHING illegal, the visa laws changed for New Zealanders travelling to South Africa after we had booked our flights. It was a situation that was poorly communicated and poorly managed and many kiwis were caught in the same boat.

Arriving in my cell, was daunting, in the corridor on the wall there was a statement, “A.R.M. do not take any liability for damages to people or property”… They checked the contents of my bag, searched me and took my phone.

So I was detained for 18 hours in Johannesberg airport, locked in a room with a tiny metal bed, a woollen grey blanket and pillow. There was no entertainment, no one to talk to and no way to talk with Brett or my family. I was totally alone. Brett, by now, had been moved through customs (being an Aussie, he had no problems).

After four hours in the cell and they came to escort me to a kitchenette for breakfast. I was left in this room unsupervised with 15 other detainees, all male. I did not feel safe. To top it off, I couldn’t work out what the food was and no one could tell me, I ate the rice and left the rest.

After breakfast they returned my phone, I called EVERYONE. The roaming charges were high, I didn’t care. I had beautiful messages from friends and family who were all concerned and had attempted to contact every facility possible to attempt to get me out. That support was incredible and just the little boost I needed to get me through.

What happened next was terrifying, one of the security guards brought another detainee into my cell to demand for money, I had nothing and I was so scared of what that would mean for me. If the security guard actively brought this man to my cell then she must have been okay with whatever consequence resulted from it. He commanded me to give him money 3-4 times, “I need money”, “give me money”… I emptied my bag and wallet to show him and then he walked off and she locked the door giggling like a stupid girl.

I was so pleased when they came to collect me for the flight, I was going home, I had all my belongings by now EXCEPT for my passport. I was seated on the flight, I asked for my passport and they said they’ll give it to me in Sydney, Australia. I waited, nervous. I’m a Kiwi on a flight to Australia with no passport and no proof it was on the flight with me… seriously, what would happen if I landed in Australia with no passport? Probably be deported…

Arriving in Sydney 14 hours later, I got up to find the Manager and get my passport. I asked for my passport and he stared at me with a blank face like I was crazy, I burst in to tears. He had to get the help of his staff to search in all the kitchens and they finally found it in the end. I was so relieved!

There’s two things I learned from this experience that you MUST take away from this.

1. Visa laws can change at ANY time. Don’t assume that it won’t change just because you’ve booked your flights and that someone will tell you, the risk is too high to get it wrong. Double check before you leave, you never want to be in a situation where you don’t have any rights.

2. When your rights are taken away from you, all you’ve got left is your mind, body and your health. It was an incredibly stressful time and to top it off, I was jet-lagged with little food to eat and no water to drink. I could stay focused, calm and optimistic because I’ve been working this year on being healthy. If this had happened in 2016, I would have survived, I wasn’t super unhealthy but the stress would have made me sick and it would have taken a long time to recover.

If you aren’t at your best when life throws you a curve-ball, you aren’t giving yourself the best opportunity to manage the stress and impacts well and are likely to get sick or burn-out more quickly.

I’ve had two significant situations in my life that have called on me to be strong, resilient, calm and supportive. South Africa was one where I was completely alone and needed to be there for myself. The other was my sister diagnosed with a life-threatening condition while in an induced coma and it took weeks (felt like forever) for the world to get back to normal, I had to be strong, a pillar for my family, her friends and myself.

If life threw you a curve-ball tomorrow, could you say you have given yourself every opportunity to be the best you can be when times are truly tough?

So many of my clients put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own, usually it’s about giving their kids or partners everything and ignoring their wants and needs. I’m not a parent so I can’t comment on what that feels like but I can say that when times are tough you need to be 10000% ready to give your all to survive it. Starting from a place where you have mental clarity, are healthy and fit is going to set you for that home-run feeling so when it is over, the rebuild (finding your feet again, getting back in to routine, helping others find their feet) doesn’t take nearly as long because you’ve looked after yourself before, during and after.

Stress is a huge contributor to weight gain, low immunity and fatigue, I don’t want you getting caught out like I have, learn simple to implement tips for your health on our mailing list to set you up for inevitable success no matter what life throws at you.

Here’s to a new health paradigm!

Chloe xx

PS for those who want to kickstart their health, follow the below link to receive a guide for a very simple, easy way to lose weight (Hint: it isn’t diet or exercise! )https://mailchi.mp/4eaaabca075d/how-to-lose-belly-fat-in-1-week

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