Living Boldly Series: Chenaé van Niekerk

At the heart of Unsettled lie bold, inspiring, provocative, human-centric stories. At the end of each retreat, while we say goodbye to our participants, we also create bonds, friendships and connections that stay with us indefinitely. In our ‘Living Boldly’ series, we highlight members of the Unsettled alumni family who have been an integral part of our story. These are the same people we’ve had deep conversations with about love, life and politics. We’ve shared a new Unsettled ‘home’ with these new members. And we continue to have adventures and live boldly in over 65 countries with our Unsettled alumni family. 

This week, meet Chenaé van Niekerk.

Cape Town, South Africa.

Unsettled destination:

What do you do for work?
I’m a culinary-trained chef and I work on yachts.

What makes you feel most alive?
Anything that gives me an adrenaline rush. Bungee jumping, flying to a foreign country I’ve never been to before, discovering new sailing paths, and insightful conversations about cultural and political history. I also feel charged when I face my fears…

What does it mean to “never settle” in your own life?
To never feel stuck in one place because of a job, or a relationship! I never want limit myself from the freedom of booking a plane (or yacht) ticket… and just GO.

What was the most defining moment during your Nicaragua experience?
Our Valentine Day’s dinner was very special in Nicaragua. We all came together (despite only knowing each other for just over a week), and each of us helped in some way — some cooked the dinner, others decorated the dinner space, some even contributed towards the entertainment for the evening. There were also some who just made sure our glasses were always full! On a holiday that you’d usually spend with a lover (or a tub of ice-cream), our Unsettled Nicaragua family of 28 amazing people came together and spent Valentine’s Day with each other. We all felt so loved and valued. It didn’t matter what your background, culture or history was, as long as you had a smile on your face, you were part of our family.

What in your life has changed, or have you committed to changing, since your Unsettled experience?
Since Nicaragua in February 2017, I’ve shifted my focus on traveling as much as I can. I’m also changing the way I choose to live my life. During my two weeks in Nicaragua, I feel grateful to have seen my life, successes and failures through a different set of eyes, and also realized the real value of everything I have.

What’s your favorite quote that you think the world needs to see?
“When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to have a husband, rob his children from a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.” – The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. I read this book when I was traveling from Antigua to the UK and the most important lesson in it was that theft is the greatest sin of all.



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