Meet the Original Boobies

blue-footed booby blog team

3 Boobs in a Room

Way back in 1998, Karen and David met when he, naive and unsophisticated, used his 21st birthday present – an air ticket to London – to bravely depart South African shores. Arriving without much money, no friends and no plan, he nearly called it quits after 3 days in a dingy King’s Cross hostel, surrounded by various unsavoury characters.

But his mom called a friend whose son was also in London. This friend’s offspring heroically came to the rescue, swooping in to collect David and installing him on the sofa in the apartment he shared with Karen. Karen and David took one look at one another and the rest was history. They’d only been together a few months when Melissa arrived, all of 18 years old and ready to explore the world as part of her gap year before starting uni. Since she didn’t have 2 pennies to rub together (she’d saved up everything she earned as a waitress to get there) she moved in temporarily with older sister Karen.

Due to space and financial constraints, that meant living on an air mattress on the floor of Karen and David’s small bedroom. There were a few challenges. Karen and David were working as office temps and she had a bar job, so timings were difficult. Everyone crept around trying (and failing) not to wake up anyone else. Meanwhile, Karen and David wanted to embrace their new-found romance, much to Melissa’s unmitigated horror. They nicknamed her The Poison Dwarf because she’s little and her grumpy morning countenance was surprisingly scary (still not a morning person!).

They wanted to nest, she wanted adventure. While dragging them out could be  a battle requiring all manner of persuasiveness, they all found a way to make it work. They did pretty much everything together, like the three musketeers. They bought the cheapest rollerblades from Argos and learned to rollerblade, some with greater difficulty than others.

Karen screaming down the hill at Greenwich Park while attempting to clutch at passing walkers and bystanders who leapt out the way is an enduring memory.

They were often to be seen zooming around supermarkets and despite a few odd looks, no one ever stopped them because, you know, Brits (bless them). They worked hard and played hard (and fought hard many a time). They shared everything (sometimes reluctantly) and scraped together their pennies to go to music festivals, which literally blew their minds. They went on touristy weekend trips and had the occasional wild night out. Despite living in a 4-bedroom apartment housing anything up to 9 people at a time, with just ONE bath and ONE toilet, they created wonderful memories and developed an incredible bond which endures today.

After studying together at the same university, living together on and off over the years and travelling together to more than 12 countries, they’re always connected even if they’re on opposite sides of the world.

karen blue-footed booby blog


Maxim I live by: I don’t ask why, I ask why not

What makes me tick: Learning new things, adventure, my endless fascination with people

Weirdest thing I’ve done: A rock band shaved my head on stage

Most dangerous things I’ve done: Kloof jumping, abseiling, travelling on a very tight budget which led to many sticky situations

Work experience: Cashier, waiter, chocolate factory worker, secretary, HR temp, teacher, lecturer, trainer, clinical psychologist

Super strength: Super focus

Evil vice: Time optimism – trying to fit a large number of things into a small amount of time

Childhood dream job: Professional ice skater, powerful person

What others find irritating about me: Over-sensitive at times

What I find irritating: Rigidity, lack of tolerance

My favourite things: Family, pizza, reading, netflix, sunshine, the beach, Bob Marley

Places I’ve lived in: South Africa, London, Israel, Ireland, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, UAE and I’ve spent quality time in many more

Where I plan to retire: Somewhere tropical, beachy, cheap, and cheerful

Challenges overcome: MVA, ADHD, physical ailments, life stuff

Words of wisdom: People are always more important than things


Maxim I live by: Fly under the radar

What makes me tick: Inertia: I try to work smart so I can do less

Weirdest thing I’ve done: Lived in a mental hospital (not as a patient)

Most dangerous things I’ve done: Scaled a tall building in the dark and rain, surfing alone in remote waters 

Work experience: Usher, driver, waiter, bartender, chocolate factory worker, IT engineer, admin assistant, tutor, teacher, fire poi dancer

Super strength: Physical fearlessness

Evil vice: Inertia

What I wanted to be: Traveller and surfer

What others find irritating: Sometimes I listen without actually hearing

What I find irritating: When people don’t screw lids on jars

My favourite things: Surfing, gnocchi, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pearl Jam, Indiana Jones, Quentin Tarantino

Places I’ve lived in: South Africa, London, Dublin, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, Dubai

Where I plan to retire: Small little bungalow with a balcony somewhere tropical by the sea

Challenges overcome: Dyslexia (sic), dyscalculia, insecurity over my intelligence, ADHD (inattentive type), needles and spiders

Words of wisdom: Be happy in as many moments as you can

david blue-footed booby
melissa blue-footed booby


Maxim I live by: Make waves

What makes me tick: Restlessness, adventure and life design

Weirdest thing I’ve done: Shared my favourite skinny jeans with my boyfriend, went to hell in a bathroom

Most dangerous things I’ve done: Hitchhiking, raves and roller derby; a scooter safari and 2 rallies across Africa; snorkelling with a Great White (sans cage)

Work experience: Waitress, bartender, factory worker, cleaner, pizza delivery, market vendor, tutor, admin assistant, teacher, permaculture facilitator, writer, and life coach in the making

Super strengths: Empathy, healthy living, and persistence. I can write very gloomy songs and marathon cry

Evil vice: Mood swings and evil morning face. Unrepentant nail biter and fidgeter

What I wanted to be: A writer

What others find irritating: I can be bossy

What I find irritating: Fakeness

Places I’ve been: South Africa (scooter safari), London, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Goa, UAE, Oman, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and many countries in Africa

Favourite things: Thai food, rollerskating, bodyboarding, supping, attempting to surf, The Killers and reading books like “The secret life of Walter Mitty” and “I know this much is true”

Where I plan to retire: A beautiful island living off fresh fruit and veg. Or an off-the-grid farm somewhere near the ocean

Challenges overcome: Dyslexia. Fear of speaking (aka pathological shyness), living with depression

Words of wisdom: Live to your values