Lightning strike over Joburg, seen from Randlords

An Instagram Challenge in 2016. A Blog Challenge in 2017.

In 2016, I committed to post a photo on Instagram every day of the year as part of a challenge called #366DaysOfMakingSpace. Even though the subject of the challenge — anything that relates to making space in my life — was broad, and even though I didn’t have to post photos on the actual day they were taken, this challenge was damn hard. It was so hard that my blogger friend who convinced me to do the challenge in the first place didn’t finish herself. (You know I love you anyway, Dee.)

Istanbul sunsetI’m interspersing this post with some of my favorite #366daysofmakingspace shots from 2016. I posted this one during my visit to Istanbul in February.

I only missed one #366daysofmakingspace post the whole year. I was in Cappadocia in Turkey, and was so overwhelmed by the scenery that I forgot to do a post. I made up for it by double-posting the following day.

Cappadocia, also in February.

There were many days in 2016 when I felt uninspired and had to dig way back into my archives to find a photo. (I never posted any photos that I’d posted on Instagram previously.) There were days when I was insanely busy and didn’t remember the challenge until right before I fell asleep, then had to drag myself up and find a picture.

White lionsWhite lions at the Global White Lion Protection Trust, where I visited in August. Keeping up the #366days challenge was difficult at GWLPT, where there was no 3G and the wifi was weak. Somehow I managed.

This challenge forced me to post photos that I wouldn’t normally post on Instagram — photos that I loved but suspected my audience wouldn’t like. #366daysofmakingspace reminded me that my Instagram feed belongs to me, not my followers, and I should post what I like.

Looking Back on My Instagram Challenge

I’m happy I did this challenge. 2016 was a hard year, both personally and for the world. There are a million articles out there about how much 2016 sucked so I won’t dwell on that angle. But looking back over my #366daysofmakingspace photos (see all of my #366days photos here, minus the two still to come), I’m reminded of all the wonderful experiences I had in 2016. I visited amazing places and had great times at home, both on my own and with people I care about.

Figs and cheese at Ruth and Michale's houseFigs and cheese on a Westdene rooftop with my friends Ruth and Michael in April. A great memory of a lovely evening.

Ray in the DrakensbergOn holiday with Ray in the Drakensberg in March.

Ballet dancers at Joziburg LaneBallet dancers at the opening of Joziburg Lane in June.

The Melville Cat on the roofThe Melville Cat, exceptionally fluffy in his winter coat, spying on me from the roof of our house in May.

Inside mini PonteInside “Mini Ponte”, one of my favorite Jozi discoveries of the year, in June.
 Susanna pregnant in Gather My sister Susanna, five months pregnant, at our father’s house in Maryland last November.

Flyfishing in MagoebaskloofA misty September morning in Magoebaskloof.

Fahema in JeppestownFahema snaps a mist-shrouded Jozi skyline at a rainy Instameet in May.

The 2017 Challenge: #Gauteng52

I’m looking forward to the first of January, when I don’t have to post anything on Instagram unless I feel like it.

But for some bizarre reason, I’ve decided to start another challenge in 2017. This will be a weekly challenge, not a daily one, but I suspect it will be more difficult than #366daysofmakingspace because: 1) It’s location-specific; and 2) It involves blog posts rather than Instagram posts.

The challenge will be called #Gauteng52. Every week of the year I will blog about a place in Gauteng Province that I’ve never been to before. (Gauteng is one of South Africa’s nine provinces and it includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. It’s pronounced something like “HOW-teng”, with a guttural throat sound in place of the H.)

The new places I blog about can be anything — restaurants, shops, parks, monuments, neighborhoods. The only rule is they must be places I’ve never been. I plan to explore every part of Joburg, especially areas I don’t know well like the West Rand, the East Rand, the South, and the outlying townships in every direction. I’m also keen to explore more of Pretoria and other towns in Gauteng.

A few of my friends are concerned I won’t be able to find 52 interesting places that I’ve never visited before. I know this won’t be a problem. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in six-and-a-half years of living in Joburg, it’s that this city will never stop surprising me.

The real hard part will be finding time to write a #Gauteng52 blog post every week, even when I’m traveling. I’m up for the challenge though.

Now I need help from you, dear readers. Do you have an idea for a quirky, interesting place in Gauteng that you think I should visit? If so, do a quick search on my blog to ensure it’s not there already and then send your suggestion via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Please remember that I’m not made of money and I won’t be accepting free meals (or anything else for free) during this challenge. Affordable suggestions — or even better, free suggestions — are ideal.

Keep an eye out for my first #Gauteng52 post next week. Also, feel free to join in.

Lightning storm from RandlordsMy favorite #366days post of 2016, shot just a week ago.

Happy New Year.

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  • Reply Gail Scott Wilson December 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. Even though my mind is a total blank at the moment. Good luck and looking forward to your posts.

    • Reply 2summers December 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks! I’m sure you’ll think of some ideas soon enough 🙂

  • Reply The Louwkuls December 29, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Yoh, this is a serious challenge! I’m sure we’ll join in on some missions around Pretoria if you’ll have us. We actually have an idea to do a series of posts about what to do within 60min from Pretoria. One a week might just kill us but we’ll talk soon there are some good opportunities here.

    • Reply 2summers December 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Oh yes, I’m counting on you to team up on Pretoria fun! Let’s schedule something soon.

  • Reply Di Brown December 29, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    You inspired me to join the #366daysofmakingspace 4 days into January 2016. Pleased to say I only missed 3 days, also made up by double posting. It was tougher than I anticipated, but so much fun (most of the time ) I am looking for a new challenge for 2017. It should be blog related as my blog is the most neglected thing in my life. Still deciding. Talk me into committing to a travel post a week.
    I am really looking forward to discovering much more of Jozi through your blog. Best wishes for 2017

    • Reply 2summers December 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      DO IT! We can motivate each other.

  • Reply Anusuya Nayak December 29, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I followed your space making posts on Instagram religiously. I am so inclined to do it myself in 2017, I am not sure if its copying someone’s original brain child.
    I did 100 happy days posts last 2yrs and it felt so good..

    • Reply 2summers December 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Oh please do it! And please just tag me in an IG comment so I can follow along 🙂

  • Reply violetonlineisonline December 29, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I think travelling can include a dog walk at Emmarentia, chatting to the basket sellers on the street corners, hanging out in a new coffee shop, baking a Polish cake, buying a dress in a new shopping mall, and so on….
    I look forward to your posts in 2017!

    • Reply 2summers December 29, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Let’s meet at that new place next to Bread & Roses! It’s on my list.

      • Reply violetonlineisonline December 29, 2016 at 5:27 pm

        it’s v cool and you could go on a free range travel journey, I can help you by drinking their coffee. Yes, and first week of 2017, let’s do it.

  • Reply thirdeyemom December 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Happy New Year Heather! Wishing you the best for 2017! 😊 Lovely photos as always

    • Reply 2summers December 30, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Nicole. Right back at you!

  • Reply Derek Smith December 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Well done on the 365 – I did one last year when I turned 60 and it’s not easy to shoot something fresh each day. It can become quite stressful ! I’ll PM one or two suggestions for your 52 challenge – you might know them…or not. All that is wonderful and good for you and Ray in 2017.

    • Reply 2summers December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks so much, Derek.

  • Reply Tenney Mason December 29, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Great favorite pictures of the year.You could layout a page of them for your last post on IG.
    Good luck with your new challenge. Sorry I can’t join you. Maybe I’ll challenge myself to something similar around here.

    • Reply 2summers December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Do it! Start a Sykesville blog!

  • Reply Lani January 1, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Whoooweeee. What a challenge! Dang girl. Won’t you have some wiggle room? Like a few of the posts can be places, maybe places you’ve only gone to once? (Don’t use me for a motivational coach or anything, okay.) Good luck!

    And can I say, thanks for not posting anything negative about 2016? When I was doing a review of the year, I thought about dragging out those ouchies, and then I thought, why? I’m ready to move on. Besides, it’s de-pres-sing!

    Happy New Year, Heather. Hope it rocks. Love! xxoo

    • Reply 2summers January 1, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Hahaha, we’ll see how it goes I guess. I think I can do it though. And yes, onward and upward to 2017.

  • Reply Kat January 2, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Looking very forward to this! Some ideas – modderfontein nature reserve, oaks coffee roasters in modderfontein in the east rand.

    Good luck and I’m looking forward to discovering jhb – 1 week behind you 😂

    • Reply 2summers January 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Yay, thanks so much! I’ve explored Modderfontein quite a bit actually and I really love it. I need to go back and make more discoveries.

  • Reply Megan January 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    If you’re looking for a really nice but quirky place in the East Rand then you should check out Uncle Tims Cabin on High Road… Its a little center with an antique store, a saddlery (place that sells horse riding gear?), a second hand book shop, a second hand music store, an esoteric/crystal shop, an arts and crafts store, an embroidery/quilting store and a couple of little restaurants (one is called the Secret Garden and the other is very healthy food related). There are other stores as well but what I like is the fact that I can browse around crofters market type shops without spending a cent (and under cover in case of rain!), and the second hand/antique stores always have nice deals on interesting stuff… So I can buy something if I’m in the mood – without going bankrupt! The Secret Garden makes awesome food, but if you bring your own lunch and cold drinks you can hijack one of the benches under the trees and have a mini picnic… A really nice little venue, and there’s live music on Sundays (maybe Saturday too?)…

    • Reply 2summers January 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Sounds awesome, I’ve added it to the list! Thanks.

  • Reply The traveler's new year's resolutions | The Louwkuls January 11, 2017 at 8:34 am

    […] Fellow blogger and friend 2Summers gets it, she has set out to discover things she hasn’t done or seen in Gauteng and do a blog post each week for the entire 52 weeks of 2017. Based in Johannesburg it will definitely be follow worthy at #Gauteng52 […]

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