Click here to see my lovely Travel Map at Travellerspoint. It’s still a work in progress. So many places I’ve been that I still need to add (mainly Europe). Still so many more places to see. Travelling makes me happiest.
My friend Hayley (British), came to visit me in South Africa. After backpacking together for 6 months, I know pretty much what she likes and dislikes. We spent 2 weeks exploring Cape Town together, and then I sent her and another friend, Braden (Canadian) off on a two week trip from Cape Town to Coffee Bay. Because they had limited time before Hayley flew back to England, we had to fit a lot in for them in that time. So I made them a plan of action, and it goes a little something like this:
I’ve been home for 6 weeks already. Time. Where does it go? It’s crazy to think that 6 months ago I was all covered in banana sap on a grubby, sweaty, humid, spider infested banana farm in Australia, living in an 8 bed dorm for 3 months, and counting those days away with so much resentment. Now, the days are flying by quicker than I can even imagine.
The boring stuff: To summarise the end of my time in Australia… Hayley and I worked in Dingo, Australia for three months, and it was an interesting experiences to say the least: from baby kangaroos to light aircrafts filling up at the service station, a town with a population of 56 people, one dingy pub with no ambiance in the slightest, lots of hours spent cooking burgers for truck drivers in the roadhouse, mopping kitchen floors, but most importantly at this stage (at the end of a year of travels), we were saving money. I know money isn’t everything in the world, and I try my best to live with only the necessities,but in order to come home and happily settle my feet back down on the sandy shores of Cape Town before starting to look for a job here, money is a necessity!
- Table Mountain – Whether it is hiking up or cable car, it’s just a top attraction, filled with panoramic views of the breath taking city that I call home
- Boulders Beach – Penguins penguins everywhere. A beautiful beach off Simon’s Town, with huge boulder’s and nosey little penguins. And be sure to stop in at the famous Brass Bell for lunch in Kalk Bay on your way home.
- Kirstenbosch Gardens. – Be sure to go check out the Botanical Gardens, they are magical. There is a bridge walk you can do over the tree tops. Bring a picnic basket, wine (lots of wine), friends, and enjoy the magic. If you’re here over Summer, you’re in for a treat. The botanical gardens offer sunset concerts every Sunday through Summer. Live music, in a natural amphitheatre, surrounded by trees and Table Mountain as the backdrop.
- Go see a Jeremy Loops concert. By far my most favourite musician that has grown up on these shores, your heart will melt as he captures the essence of Cape Town through his music.
- Mosey around the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay for a cruisy Saturday brunch with a glass of bubbly in hand and some great local music.
- Go to The Assembly to see a live show. I can’t explain it. It’s just a must do.
- Go to Robben Island and see where Nelson Mandela lived for so many of his prison years. If you have time before coming to South Africa, you should read The Long Walk to Freedom while you’re sitting on one of your many flights/busses/trains around the world.
- Hike up Lion’s head to watch the sunset
- Another great market to go to on a Saturday morning is the Old Biscuit Mill to the Neighbourhood Goods market. Great food. Craft beers. Happiness.
- Drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive. The views are incredible. The road was closed for a number of years because of dangerous rockfalls, but now that that’s all fixed up, take advantage of the scenery.
- Looking for a tip top beach to soak up some South African sun? Llandudno beach is the one for you. A local surf spot, a small beach, lots of boulders to clamber onto, white sand, and the only thing you could try fault it on is the crisp cold ocean, but even that is hardly a fault.
- Go SKYDIVING!! Cape Town has one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Mountains, Ocean, City. Why not do a jump out of a little aircraft and take in all the sites from the sky. These guys are great www.skydivecapetown.co.za
- Go to a music festival. Cape Town is know for it’s PsyTrance music scene, and the parties are world class. When it comes to other music festivals, Rocking the Daisies is a brilliant one.
- Mike and I went to a rally in Hyde Park. The rally was against the new lockout laws that the government is trying to introduce in Sydney. Basically, there was a fight in the famed Kings Cross party area in the city, and a guy was sadly killed. Now the media has basically forced the hand of the government, to pass a new law that night clubs stop selling alcohol at 1:30am, and close all night clubs at 3:00pm. To me this seems acceptable because at home in South Africa, it is relatively similar, but I understand that it’s not what they are used to in this huge metropolitan city.
- My cousin, Anton, and his wife and their gorgeous little 19 month old twins also live in Sydney, so I spent a night with them and got to meet my second cousins. I also got to catch up with Anton after not seeing him in about 8 years. So happy. Family is always family.
- The famous Bondi Beach is really quite beautiful, but also rather over saturated with people. On this particular Saturday afternoon, I met up with an old friend from High School, Natalie. It’s been about 6 year since we last saw each other. Well, whenever the last time I was in London was, that is when I last saw her. She lives here now. It was really interesting to chat to her about different visa options if I ever decide to settle down in Australia permanently, and obviously just to catch up in general.
- The Sydney Opera House is of course a must see tourist attraction, and with my interest in Architecture, it was incredible to be standing next to this huge piece of art, carefully crafted against the skyline of Sydney and the harbour. There is a bar just next to the Opera House, called Opera Bar, and it’s a must see for anybody visiting the area. I went alone and had a beer, to the delights of an American family snickering next to me about how they feel so sorry for that girl sitting all by herself. My patience for American’s is still very very low, because every time I come across American’s, they prove to be the identical mould of the stereotype that they are perceived to be (bar a few special cases, where I have met and made amazing friends with).
- Back in the days when I grew up in Johannesburg (between my age of 0-11 years), we were good family friends with the Zock Family. One of their sons now lives in Sydney, so of course our mothers co-ordinated for us to meet up. Him and I went out for beers and dinner, and I spoke so much that instead of waking up with a hangover the next day, I woke up with an aching jaw from all the chatting I’d been doing. Poor guy, having to listen to me nonstop chatting for hours. It really was a great night though and I’m happy that I saw him.
And then off I went again, as I do, always moving, never staying still in one place for too long. The next flight out took me to Cairns to meet up with my friend Hayley (a girl I met in South America), and the two of us will be going out and searching for jobs on farms, fruit picking, for the next three months. More to come on that in the next post……
Is it weird that I am so incredibly frustrated at being home? Home should be a happy relaxing place to rejuvenate before my next journey. Instead it’s making me more and more anxious and restless.
My previous post touched on how, upon returning home after 5 months in South America, it felt like I had changed so much, but everybody else had stayed the same. But now, after being home for almost 3 weeks, I’ve actually come to realize that everyone else has changed to. Of course life doesn’t stop, and I understand that, but I’m no longer a permanent feature in my friends lives and therefore I’m not a priority. Lots of friends have actually blown me off since I’ve been home, choosing rather to hang with the people that they know will be there in the long term. People move on. Life moves on. Everyone moves in their directions.
Don’t get me wrong though, I have had some absolutely magical moments while being at home, I’ve been to a beautiful music festival out in the wine lands of Cape Town (Origin Festival), I’ve been to one of the most prime up and coming electronic music festivals in Cape Town (Cape Town Electronic Music Festival), been to food markets, eaten incredible food, swam in the ocean and spent time with my family and been for countless walks on the beach with my beloved doggies. All of that said, as much as I still love all of my friends at home, it’s become very clear to me since I’ve been home, who my true friends are, friends that are my friends no matter whether I am at home or not and which people have moved on from our friendships probably without them even realising it themselves.
It’s been a weird trip being home, and I kind’ve wish that I had’ve gone straight from Ecuador to Australia, but such is life, and here I am in South Africa. Three more sleeps, a few goodbyes, and I’m off on the next part of my adventure. I am beyond excited.
Have any of you other long term travelers had any similar issues with friendships and reverse culture shock and settling back in at home? I’d love to know if I am being over sensitive or if this is a general trend.
Happy travels xx