Sefari Outpost Founder Jobi Manson in Africa
Self actualization is a human truth. Some find it in the menial while others need to reach beyond their bounds. Jobi Manson is the latter and better off for it. When turmoil came knocking, she answered meaningfully. We discussed Africa, how travel touches the soul and much more with the Sefari Outpost founder prior to our ocean-oriented creative workshop on December 3rd. Read on, wanderers.
You’ve said you found yourself in Africa. Take us through that moment of self actualization.
When I was 18 years old my family had fallen apart. My Dad was getting divorced for the second time, my mother had taken her life a few years before. High school drama ensued as it does when you live in a small conservative town, and I reached a point where I had to get out.
I recently had seen the movie, The Endless Summer, and my heart was set on surfing Jeffrey’s Bay and going on my first safari…something I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl. I devised a plan to complete the last 2 weeks of my senior year abroad, and off I went.
Up until this point in my life, I had never travelled outside of the United States or known much about African politics. I was far too naive to worry about the real dangers of traveling to such a distant land with nothing but a backpack, camera, and a cellphone. And thank God I was, because what I discovered was nothing short of miraculous.
From the moment I stepped foot on the African continent, it was as if lightning struck my brain and I knew in real time. In that specific moment that my life would never be the same. I also had an overwhelming notion sweep over me: that I had been there before.
I was staying with a family friend, an elderly Afrikaans couple who happened to live just on the dunes of the neighboring beach of Jeffrey’s Bay, called Paradysstrand. It was late that first night I arrived and when we got to their house, I could smell the thick sea salt, it sat heavily on my clothes and wet my face. The wind howled all night long, and I awoke at dawn to see the deserted beach, and perfect peeling right handed point breaks. I was mesmerized.
I was watching my very own personal surf safari unfold right before my eyes. We travelled through the townships where kids ran barefoot playing football (which is actually soccer) laughing, women carrying entire market stalls on their backs as they juggle a child in their arms. These townships and rural communities were bursting with life. People danced through the streets, and the streets were crumbling around them. I watched as these people sang out and beat drums and celebrated life. Celebrating the art of living a life connected to the land, to each other, and connected to their spirits.
In that moment, I too connected. I saw and felt my place in this complicated and beautiful world, and it was as if a fire ignited in my heart. I am connected to Africa at the core of my being because it was where I felt the power of love for the first time. I found my love for life.
What makes sea and safari so complementary to your creative life?
So…as human beings we are all made of energy, right?! And if you are looking at the human experience from an astrological perspective our energy can be translated into four elemental energetic bodies: water, fire, earth, and air.
I, Jobi Manson was born on February 19th, 1987 at 12pm in Baltimore, MD. Astrologically, that translates to me having my Sun sign as a Pisces, my Moon as a Scorpio, and my rising sign as a Gemini. Because I have both my sun and moon in water signs energetically, my physical body also feels naturally at home in the water element. My entire life, water has been my source of healing and connection to God.
As a result, it seems very innate for me to also connect with the element of water when I want to access my inner curiosities, also referred to as one’s creative nature.
Safari, is my ethos - my life metaphor if you will. To go Safari, is to go on a journey. An adventure. And it reminds me that the journey itself is the destination.
AllSwell Notebooks on display at Sefari Outpost
How do you keep the creative juices flowing?
I am constantly exploring nature. I travel to learn the ways of the world, to connect with eclectic energies, and to evolve as a result of my immersions and reflections.
I take time to be still and I am learning now that the more I engage with and still my physical body as a means to rest my mind the more my creativity really flourishes. It is estimated by neuroscientists that our minds process between 60-80,000 thoughts per day. That is an average of 2,500 thoughts per hour. Our intellects work so hard for us every day, all the time, so like anything else they need that balance and relaxation.
What has been your biggest challenge with opening Sefari?
Balancing between holding gratitude for what I have accomplished in a short amount of time and envisioning how I want my company to evolve.
What has been the biggest reward?
It has shown me the capacity I have to inspire myself and everyone around me.
Do you journal during your travels? If so, what purpose does it serve you?
Everyday. I don’t know what I think until I write it, and journalling helps me to understand my surroundings and keep my memories and reflections imprinted in time and space.
Any upcoming trips in the works?
I am launching my own retreats next year, there will be four of them based on the lunar calendar + elemental seasons. They are called…go figure, Sēfari’s.
The first trip will be taking a group of 9 women on Sēfari to Tanzania + Zanzibar in April of 2017.
Earth: Tanzania + Zanzibar
Air: Patagonia, Chile
Water: Kyoto, Japan
Fire: The Australian Outback
How do AllSwell journals fit into the overall ethos of Sefari and how did they end up being featured in the shop?
The AllSwell journals are themed around the intersection between nature and creativity. They could not be more aligned with my vision of Sēfari. I enjoy the simplicity of design and they provided me the opportunity to come to know their creator, who inspires me.
When was the last time you put pen to paper?
Going on an adventure? Snag your travel companion (Notebook No.3) here.