Who is Earth Pilgrim Africa?

BIO: EARTH PILGRIM AFRICA

 
In the Himalayas with Everest in the background
 

I can’t say I remember the occasion, but I was born to loving parents Gladys and Ian Dalglish near Johannesburg on November 19, 1948. My birth certificate confirms my identity as Geoffrey Michael Dalglish, a South African. Geoff sounds better! Or maybe Geoff-free!

 

I do remember my first day of school though, and sobbed my eyes out, even before some sadistic sod locked me in the toilet (probably to silence my wailing). But school soon became enormous fun and I developed a reputation for mischief, rebellion and resourcefulness.

 

I attended a succession of Durban schools culminating in a brief adventure as a boarder at Kearsney College where the principal misguidedly telephoned my Dad in Japan to solemnly announce: “Your son lacks parental control.”  I’d been caught bunking out, smoking and being one of eight in a car ‘borrowed’ without permission or a driving licence between us. My parents lived on the other side of the planet.

 

“Of course, he lacks parental control,” my Dad fumed. “That’s why he’s with you!”

 

A move to St Mary’s International School in Tokyo was awesome. I got to drive at age 16, meet the Beatles and the Beach Boys, borrow my father’s many credit cards without detection, and develop a passion for travel in foreign lands, often at the wheel of a fast car.

 

A fully paid scholarship to study economics and business administration at Whittier College in California was instructive and entertaining, often involving high-speed car chases with the police, but proved a poor investment on the part of the university authorities. I did meet old-boy Richard Nixon of Watergate fame and frequented a country club favoured by the Kennedy clan, although sadly my boyhood hero JFK had already been shot.

 

I headed home for a holiday and decided to get a proper job, initially doing financial journalist impersonations in a pin-striped suit before becoming a proper newshound on various rags including the celebrated Rand Daily Mail.

 

I indulged a passion for uncovering the truth and exposing injustice, as well as pursuing a love affair with speed, cars and motorsport, which ultimately saw me as motoring editor of The Star, then founding editor of Drive and years later of Drive Out, a guide to 4x4 destinations.

 

Between times I raced, rallied, helped set national speed and endurance records, became a 4x4 instructor and found time to marry delightful Scots lass Carol Macmillan Lochhead, fathering two amazing daughters Bonnie and Tammy – surely my greatest achievement.

 

Life was a rollercoaster of fun and jet-set travel but increasingly it lacked adequate meaning.

 

I found a sense of purpose in ever-more ambitious expeditions, in which I saw the sacred in all around me. I drove from the northern tip of Africa to its southern extremity; from Timbuktu to Table Mountain and from China to Cape Town, also trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro, along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and through the Himalayas to Everest Base Camp.

 

I began to see my body as the temple of the soul rather than as an alcohol recycling plant. I abandoned life as a carnivore, drank pure water and breathed as much crisp, clean mountain air as possible, which isn’t hard living in Cape Town, arguably the world’s most beautiful city.

 

Still there had to be more. I realised that Life needed to include contribution to the wider good - my days as an indulgent motoring journalist were finally numbered.

 

Fast-forward to a succession of Vision Quest rituals, several months as an unpaid volunteer at the spiritual community of Findhorn in northern Scotland; and finally a lightbulb moment. I’d become an Earth Pilgrim and a wanderer with a purpose.

 

Its payback time … I need to consciously play my part in helping heal our world and each other. 
 

 

MILESTONES

1966            Graduated from St Mary’s International School in Japan

1966-7         Attended Whittier College, California

1967            Joined Financial Mail in Johannesburg as trainee reporter

1969            SA Associated Newspapers School of Journalism

1969            Reporter on Northern Reporter, Sunday Express

1970-1         Drafted into SA Defence Force

1971-3         Rejoined Sunday Express as photo-journalist

1973-8         Reporter on Rand Daily Mail

1976            Covered Soweto uprising and unrest in SA

1976-96      Married Carol McMillan Lochhead, England

1978            Appointed Chief Reporter on RDM

1978-80       Chief Reporter on Sunday Tribune

1980-3         Motoring editor of The Star

1981            Motorsport debut in Roof of Africa Rally across Lesotho

1981           Daughter Bonnie born on March 19

1982-95       Toyota-sponsored driver in off-road championships

1982           Dad Ian Dalglish passes Nov 27, my anniversary

1983           Daughter Tammy born on May 10

1984            Founded DRIVE! Editor/shareholder

1984-94       Sunday Times columnist 

1984            Mitsubishi-sponsored driver national off-road championships

1984            Member of VW’s record-breaking team, East London

1987            Member of BMW’s record-breaking team at Gerotek

1988-95       VW-supported national championship rally driver

1988            Competitor in Porsche Turbo Cup at Kyalami

1988            Drives Ferrari F40, world’s fastest at Maranello GP test track

1994            Celebrates new democracy in South Africa

1994           Mom Gladys Marion Dalglish nee Edwards passes

1995            SA team to international Camel Trophy. Runners-up

1995            Qualified Land Rover 4x4 Instructor, England

1995            Epiphany in Guatemala – will begin new meaningful life

1996           Divorced from Carol and partnered by Karen Lubbe

1997            Goes freelance. Columnist for various mags

1999            Moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town

1999            Lead driver in African Connection Rally, a trans-Africa expedition

2000            Founding editor of Drive Out, a destinations publication

2000           Partnered with Adelle Horler

2001            Malaysian Rainforest Challenger. 1st ever SA finishers.

2001            Lead driver BMW Trans-Africa Safari in BMW X5s

2004            1st summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak

2005            2nd summit of Kilimanjaro

2006            Hiked Inca Trail in Peru

2006            4x4 support driver for Mini Odyssey, Johannesburg to Cairo

2006            Led Toyota Timbuktu-Table Mountain Expedition

2006            Helped launch National Geographic’s Africa MegaFlyover

2006            Honorary Bateleur (flying for conservation in Africa)

2007            Chana Trax expedition leader from China to Cape Town

2007            Hike to Everest Base Camp in Nepal

2008           Partnered with Inga Hendriks

2008            World’s highest commercial abseil in Lesotho

2008            Logistics for extreme athletes in Op. Smile Coastal Challenge

2009            First visit to Findhorn ecovillage and spiritual community

2010            Served for 6 months as volunteer at Findhorn

2010           Inspired to walk with a message about treading lightly

2010-11     Pioneering drive to SA scientific base in Antarctica

2011       Earth Pilgrim Africa begins walking in Scotland

2013       Geoff walks as ambassador to the World Wilderness Congress

2013          Appointed PR for the Findhorn Foundation Community

2014          Nominated as finalist for Adventurer of the Year 2014

2015          Joins the Walking Water pilgrimage in California

2016          Geoff co-focalises many Findhorn programmes 

2016          Geoff presents an 'Art of Pilgrimage' retreat on the Isle of Iona

Comments