Alumni Spotlight: Kim Maritz


Kim Martiz is a fun loving, loud noise making, adventure seeking 19-year-old, and a complete bomb of crazy who is aspiring to be an all round badass chef. She has grown up moving around and never settled in a city for more than 3 years. When she finished high school in South Africa she made a bold decision to take a gap year - which has been her best decision yet. She spends her extra time writing, taking photographs, or spending quality time in nature; Kim is adventure.

Why did you choose this program?

I discovered the Warriors Academy Gap Year Program when I was 16, and promised myself that one day I would become a "warrior".

I fell in love with the way they helped me to fall in love with myself. I had been bullied and hurt a lot in my life, and the Warriors Gap Year Program was the glue that helped fix me. Not only is it full of adventure it has educational balance; I'm not talking about mathematics or science, but life. A balance to help get your mind, body and spirit all balanced.

Many programs only focus on physical fitness, but Warriors also focuses on spiritual and emotional fitness.

I learnt to love myself once more through all the personal coaching we received from the program directors, and all of the workshops and scheduled lessons we participated in. Warriors is not only fun, but you meet people from all types of different paths and countries - and these people learn to understand you in a way that high school kids never could.

We are cut off from the negative stress and anxiety of the world outside and with that we learn a new language of speaking,I'm not talking about swearing or slang, I am talking about choosing to speak positivity about your life in negative situations, or how to address those who don't speak nicely to you.

We get taught at Warriors how to live once more, how to be alive, how to create a better "you" for your family - and most importantly, for yourself.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider gave us all of the necessary paperwork to apply for the program, they organize transport whilst on the program, as well as accommodation, food, and the schedule for each trip. The Warriors Academy has everything down to the last meal planned in detail with perfect timing.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be prepared, mentally, to break away from society - you will meet new people completely and you live and travel with these people. Be prepared for personality clashes, when you break down eventually because you miss your parents or friends.

Go in with the mindset of "I am here for me. To change my life. To find myself. To make this the point in my life where I make a stand". Be prepared to be pushed, tried, tested and guided in so many different ways - you discover strength and patience you didn't think you had.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Busy. But every week, and every day is different. Aside from the basics exercise in the morning, meal times, and daily life at base camp - we never do the same thing twice.

Each week we are off to a new destination for a new hike, a new race, a trip to the amusement park, to see a show, to jump off something crazy - or to get a lesson or two on self development.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being judged and not being accepted into the group - having no friends abroad after leaving my own behind.

But this didn't happen, Warriors become family quickly, we learn to accept people as the are, no matter how tough or rude. We learn a lesson from them in the end. Warriors and the facilitators always take care of you - if you need anything, they're there.

Do you have any other advice for prospective 'Warriors'?

What to take with? A lot of sunblock, Africa is hot. Take cool clothing. To add a "homey" touch for your cabin bring photos of family. and friends. Don't pack too much, as space is limited and you travel so much that big bags become an inconvenience. Laundry can be done at an extra cost.

The food is great. If you are vegan or have special dietary needs, they don't have any problems with it, and will cook amazing food for you that meets your needs. There were two vegans in my group.

Both boys and girls attend Warriors, but it is mainly male dominated. We do a lot of running, cycling and fitness - be sure to take fitness shoes. Make up isn't really necessary, only bring the basics.

We don't drink, unless we get permission to have a single beer or drink when we go out to a restaurant for a pizza. No drugs, steroids, or anything illegal is accepted whilst on the program.