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Wow, I cannot believe it’s February 2013 already! Happy new year to all. I wanted to do this blog post in the beginning of the year, but cannot believe how time flies when you are busy. We had an amazing year in 2012, and looks like we will be just as busy in 2013. 
The Earthstompers team is growing and we are now 3.
I’m also making use of this blog to welcome Chrissy Wolfersberger to the Earthstompers team. Chrissy came all the way from Kansas City in Missouri, USA to join our team. So yes, you did not call the wrong number when a lady with an American accent answers the phone!  She came to South Africa in July last year and not only fell in love with South Africa, but also fell in love with me! 🙂 She recently moved to South Africa and works on the administrative side of Earthstompers, getting me organized, getting the books up to date, and she will also help with marketing, social media (these Americans love their social media!), blogging, photography, working out customized itineraries and assisting with tour bookings.
As many of you also know Nicole Van Heerden has been helping on the guiding side with more and more tours over the last few years. I just cannot keep up with all the work by myself anymore. So my TripAdvisor reviews are not only about Hendrik anymore, but also Nicole!  Nicole is a great guide and I hope to work with her for many more years.  She’s already been guiding on the Garden Route since 2006 and is a real specialist in the Garden Route and Addo. She is a big asset for Earthstompers.

What are we planning in 2013?
I will not only become an Afrikaans teacher for my American girlfriend and show off our beautiful country to her…
We are planning on expanding Earthstompers a bit. We’re looking to buy a new Toyota Quantum as we can’t get by with just one vehicle anymore. I will be spending more time in the office and Nicole will be spending more time on the road.
Since the weekly Monday 5 & 6 Day Garden Route trips are going off without a hitch, we also plan to focus on expanding our private tour portfolio in 2013.  We have recently had several tours for families or groups of friends that have been really successful.  We like that are able to customize a tour according to the group’s interests and abilities, and share our knowledge of the many wonderful places in South Africa.
We are also going to start a brand new shorter local tour, I’m not going to give away too much just yet, but it will involve great food, great wine and spectacular scenery that is a passion for both me and Chrissy.
In 2013 we are looking at greening Earthstompers and getting more involved in conservation projects, volunteer organizations and ecotourism. We are really excited about this, but this is whole new blog! (Watch this space.)
We will once again attend INDABA in Durban in May and we will be going to the SAYTC (South African Youth Travel Confederation) conference in July. We will probably not attend any international shows again this year.
I’m also excited to become involved again in the organizing of the practical travel arrangements of the tourism students of Boland College in Stellenbosch where I also studied tourism. I’m working with Nicolene Vermeulen, my former teacher on this.  So we will be showing off the beautiful Garden Route to hundreds of tourism students and I will become involved in some lecturing during this time.
So in summary, we have a lot to look forward to in 2013!  Thanks to all who have helped make it a very successful 7th year. 

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