After two months in South Africa, it’s unfortunately time to say goodbye (for now).
I really don’t want go (My flight is in 11 hrs and the contents of my bag are still strewn around my room, all of them in denial that they soon that have to do the march into the bag).
When I arrived here I felt like a kid on the first day of middle school: would I be able to make friends? was my backpack too dorky? (yes, it attaches to my bigger bag, so it matches it in a “I bought matching luggage so I would always be able to find it” kind of way), would I be able to get around JoBurg by myself (all research basically said, “Stay Inside! If you go out, you’ll get robbed! and raped! Maybe just watch TV instead), were my clothes okay? (on the list to now replace – my jeans, I hate the jeans I brought).
It took about a week for me to get my travel legs – I still hadn’t quiet realized what I had done in deciding to take a full break from work, from regular life. Suddenly going from hundreds of work emails a day to none had left me without an identity; I walked around in a bit of brainless haze (but did not get robbed or raped).
But then, I started volunteering, and travelling and meeting people. I was out in the fresh air, my allergies went so berserk that I hacked out multiple lungs, but my body was so happy that it had no problem growing them back quickly (wherever I end up, the one thing I know is that I need nature)
I’m travelling alone, but over nine weeks, I haven’t spent one day alone: when the Overland group was in Lesotho we went stargazing/ tried to see who could count the most shooting stars – 8 of us crammed onto one pretty small rock and chose to sit like sardines in a can instead of spreading out. There are all those famous quotes about how the journey is more than the destination, which are all certainly true, but the journey is really only fun (for me) if you get to share it with people you love. And I have found so many people I love on this trip.
Countries visited: South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
Injuries: cut above my eye from chopping firewood, bruised ribs from sandboarding, pulled muscle from slip n’ sliding
First Sightings: Black Wildebeest, Springboks, Nyala, Blesbok, Meercats, Jackass Penguins, Cape Mountain Zebras, Waterbucks, bunch of really cool grasshoppers
- In French, the song is “The Lion Dies Tonight” (which is why the village is peaceful)
- To properly drink Rooibos – add a lot of milk and sugar
- You Say Tomato, I say Tomato: a couple of things South African’s say differently – Samosas are Samoosas, and pick-up trucks are bakkies
- Walking around barefoot is the best, until you look at the underside of your feet
- South African airports are fantastic: food courts have table service where they bring you real pots on tea in real mugs, real silverware and real salt and pepper shakers.
Tonight I leave for New Zealand and I have that same anxious feeling in my stomach – how is it going to measure up to this? I know I will meet some absolutely amazing people, but it is so hard to say goodbye to the amazing people here – to all you guys (around the world), I will wear you on my heart forever. Okay enough cheese, I should brush my teeth and have some tea.