“Dental Hygienist by day, and Travel Curator by night”- Lerato Pakkies: slasher, and last week’s ‘Mbokodo Stan.
At the heart of our mission at Imbokodo Stan, is to put a spotlight on women who are doing amazing things, whether in the creative space or not. Lerato Pakkies, founder of Kuyenda Travels and qualified dental hygienist personifies the qualities of a ‘Mbokodo. She sat down with Pat on Brands’ Mpumi Satsha to take us through her journey.
Where it all started
Lerato started her travel curating business after friends and family asked her to share her tips and tricks for travelling to luxurious destinations on a budget.
“I have always loved travelling, and for me, it was a matter of deciding if I should leave dental hygiene for good and concentrate on travelling, or find a balance between the two”, says Lerato.
Five years later, she realised that she could balance her love for travelling as well as fulfil her love for oral hygiene by working as a freelancer. This resulted in her being able to travel more frequently.
Many luxurious destinations later, her friends and family were curious as to how this dynamic young woman can travel so frequently and work at the same time. Especially in an industry as demanding as the medical one. This struck a light bulb for Lerato and Kuyenda Travels was born. Offering curated, cost-effective quality travel experiences to solo, small or large groups.
Do as the locals do
“I am never going to compromise on luxury, but I just need to make sure that while I am in this industry and I need to bring about a difference”, says Lerato. Many South Africans are afraid to travel because they feel it is expensive, especially travelling overseas. However, Lerato unpacks this with her business. She helps create unique and exciting travel experiences that suit the traveller’s budget and taste while maintaining quality.
When asked what travel is to her, Lerato shared that travel is a culture. Whenever she travels to a new place, she prefers to do as the locals do. Whether it is travelling on a train in New York City, or feasting local cuisine in New Orleans. “You have to be open to learning about all the local experiences wherever you are”, she said.
Travelling changes the way you think, the experiences you collect shape the person you are and how you will then view the world. And of course, it is best to start at home before travelling to other countries, there are many hidden gems in South Africa that need to be explored. Lerato prides herself on fostering a society of young, black, well-travelled individuals who are assertive and unapologetic about taking up space.
Watch the full interview here.