Jet-setter Elizce Nel decided early on that grabbing the bull by the horns was the only way  to get ahead. After all, there was a whole world out there waiting for her.

After matriculating in Mbombela, Elizce continued her studies, opting to do a BEd degree. She admits that while this was a wonderful experience, somehow it didn’t feel right to her – there was something missing. Unsure about her future and feeling unfulfilled, she stresses the importance of matriculants giving long, hard thought to which path they truly want to follow.

“It really is okay not to know, or not to go to university or college immediately,” she says. “The funny thing at 18 is that we sometimes get so blindsided by the regular, sculptured path we think we need to follow, that we are unable to see the endless opportunities life has to offer. Working abroad, travelling the world, taking a gap year or simply getting to know yourself … I believe that we all have the ability to be great without having pockets full of money, simply by putting ourselves out there, taking a leap of faith and spending time on a little self-discovery.”

Elizce Nel

Putting her money where her mouth was, at the age of 21, Elizce decided on a whim to  secretly apply for a position with Qatar Airways. She laughs as she says before anyone,
especially her parents, knew it, she had a jet-setting job as a flight attendant.

“I had honestly never even heard of Qatar, and had no idea where it was. I simply knew it was somewhere in the Middle East and that it would give me the opportunity to travel to places I could never even dream of seeing. At first my parents were not convinced that leaving in the middle of my studies was the best choice, but I truly felt it was my calling. And I needed a break from the life I knew.”

Elizce loved her new job, describing it as beyond wonderful. “Some days were terrible, dealing with demanding and rude passengers, and some days I missed boerewors,  speaking Afrikaans and being able to sokkie,” she smiles, “but it enabled me to pay off my study debt, see the world, meet new people, explore new beliefs and cultures and save money for an apartment. I managed to study part-time and completed my bachelor’s degree in education. I also qualified as a Super Yacht stewardess and personal trainer. It helped me on the path to starting up my own jewellery line.”

She adds that there are probably some people who think it’s crazy to be qualified in so many fields, but hopes it inspires people to always keep exploring, to know that you don’t have to fit into one specific box. “After all, we only have one life. Why do something that doesn’t make you feel happy and alive?”

During the six years working as a stewardess, Elizce met her husband, Wybo, a pilot. You might think that their paths crossed in-flight, but in actual fact, they met on Tinder. Elizce
laughingly explains that she’d always said she’d never use a dating app, until her best friend convinced her it was fun.

“And sometimes, if you’re lucky,” she adds, “you get to meet someone extraordinary.” The couple married in 2021, during Covid, just the two of them in the Seychelles, then celebrated a year later in the Lowveld, surrounded by friends and family.

Elizce and her darling husband, Wybo

Elizce’s jewellery line, Claire de Lune, came about almost by chance and started out as a hobby. She designed her own wedding jewellery as she wanted to create something
bespoke and sentimental. From there she received a number of requests and soon found herself designing jewellery for others. “I was selling a few of my designs at a local Christmas market in Qatar when I was approached by the sales director from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Doha,” she explains, “and I immediately knew it was a good fit for my work. After receiving a proposal from them to display and sell my designs in their boutique, I registered my business and my dream began. I now work hand in hand with the hotel selling my designs from their boutique, and every three to four months we host an event with which we create something special for small groups of local ladies.

“We had our first bespoke event in April and had a wonderful time creating paperclip necklaces with clip-on pendants. Each pendant had its own meaning and the necklace itself can transform from hip to edgy and elegant. It was the first time that these designs were available, and we strive to create limited items, making owning one of these pieces even more unique and special.”

Elizce’s journey is only just beginning. Inspired by the ocean, moon and safaris, she describes her jewellery as being a lifelong adventure that she calls ‘work’. After all, life should be about celebrating new beginnings, endless adventures, milestones, commitments, friendship and everlasting love.