Margot de Kock is the epitome of an intrepid traveller. Mbombela born and bred, this only child has always been an adventurer, passionately throwing herself into everything she does. Voted “most likely person to travel the world” at school, Margot went on to prove them right and now spends her time traversing the highways and byways of the planet we call home.
Travel is something Margo has always felt compelled to do. “I was never attracted to the whole ‘going to university, graduate, get a job, start a family, get a dog’ way of doing life after school, although I wouldn’t mind a dog!” she laughs.
“I wanted to have a career where I could live out my passion for travel, be constantly challenged, grow, one where I knew my positive personality would be appreciated.”
In her senior year, Margot considered volunteer work in Kenya and Tanzania, and taking care of elderly people in England, when her dad suggested au pairing in America, which Margot embraced, making it her gap year. “I ended up staying with the most beautiful family for two years, developing an American accent and an unhealthy Starbucks addiction along the way,” she smiles.
When she returned home, she had decided she wanted to become a flight attendant, and started researching it. Margot found out that one of the airlines was holding an open day, where anyone can show up and drop their CV off with the recruiter, followed by assessments and an interview. “I watched YouTube videos to prepare for the day and read as many blog posts as I could find. My dad and I went through plenty of mock interviews to prepare me, because I always get nervous when I’m interviewed.”
About 2 000 people showed up that day, and the competition was fierce. Margot didn’t make it, but decided to give it another shot when the next open day came round. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it through then either, and was starting to get restless. “I felt a little caged in, and needed to go back into the world, get back on my feet again, so I applied to once again au pair, and moved to the Netherlands with my best friend, Anel.
“Together, we travelled through Europe, and I decided to start a blog and YouTube channel to share my travels, which is something I’m constantly working on. I also did my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, going to to classes in Amsterdam then finishing the rest online, so I’m a certified international English teacher.”
Soon after, Margot returned to South Africa having already applied to move back to America. Everything was in order. All she needed was her visa, which was unfortunately denied as she didn’t have strong enough ties and had been out of the country for too long. Devastated, Margot felt defeated and heartbroken. Fortunately, her family’s love and support saw her through, helping her to get back on her feet. Determined to succeed, she kept on trying and applied a few more times, only to be rejected. “It was very difficult for me. In September 2018, I had gone to 12 assessment days for two different airlines, all in the space of two years. It was overwhelming, but I had my heart set on it.
“Little did I know that this time would be the last time I needed to apply – two weeks after my last interview I received a call from the airline, offering me a cabin crew position. A few weeks later, I moved to Dubai.
“The moral of the story is never give up. All the research, reaching out to flight attendants, asking for advice, faking confidence and bravado and not accepting rejection had finally paid off!”
Not giving up definitely has it advantages. Margot loves what she does. Who wouldn’t? She gets to see the world, blog about it, and even better, get paid at the same time. “It’s amazing. And apart from the travelling, being cabin crew has so many facets to it. It offers me challenges, like medical cases where I had a woman go into labour during the last hour of the flight, or security situations. People have actually tried to open the door mid-flight for
‘fresh air’. I fly with different nationalities to destinations all around the world at least twice a week. I am surrounded by constant change, which is something that appeals to my free spirit.
“Each country offers me something different, a unique aspect or characteristic of the world we live in. Dubai for example. One of my favourite things about Dubai are the rescue dogs. My best friend, Jayed, told me about an event organised by the Stray Dogs of Dubai, a cause which looks after abandoned, injured and/or abused dogs. Basically, anyone has the opportunity to donate their time and some canned or dry goodies for the cuties that currently call the shelter home. We spend our afternoon walking the dogs around the area, which is actually out in the desert. Camel sightings and dune sunset photos are a free bonus!” Margo laughs. “The ability to be able to give back, especially to such a cute cause, is something that is always worth my time. Being able to spend the afternoon with puppies and my friends is not a bad idea either.”
“Then there’s Europe, which I love for the history. Being met by cobblestones and beautiful old architecture and tiny little streets between buildings with corner cafes transports you to another time and place. In Asian countries I experience a whole different culture, one where they are very focused on customer service. I love experiencing things like traditions, especially when you can feel the excitement in the air and see how proud people are of their customs (hello Ireland)! Australia has the best people (and TimTams), and in America I love learning about their history. I like to say that one of my goals was to go to all six of the habitable continents on earth, and now I have!” she laughs.
Being goal-orientated is important to Margot, and something she advises anyone starting out to consider. “The thing is, we give up so easily. Don’t be hard on yourself, especially if you feel lost, confused or as if you haven’t achieved what you set out to achieve. Eliminate any thought that there is an expectation that you do anything by any age. I am a firm believer that your 20s should be your selfish years. Don’t listen to the opinions of those who try to discourage you because either they aren’t brave enough to do what you want to, or because they think it is a waste of time.
“Live your dreams! Try as many different things as you possibly can, to see what you like and dislike and allow yourself to fail and make mistakes so that you can learn from them.
“I’m focused on growth, and while I don’t expect other people to understand or agree, I believe that when I’m ready, and know exactly which career path I want to follow, that will be the right time for me to go and study.” In the meantime, this passionate young woman lives a fulfilling life, inspired by creativity and people who think outside of the box.
Obviously, this widely travelled meisie misses home, the fresh smell of the Lowveld after an evening of rain, her family, the Kruger National Park, and all her happy, childhood memories.
“When I describe where I come from, one of the things I love to mention is that we have beautiful sunsets and sunrises and what makes it different from the rest of the world is the smell.”
It just goes to show, no matter how far you roam, home is always best.
Facebook: Margot de Kock