Journeys are about the people you travel with and meet along the way and the experiences you have.
Travelers shouldn’t waste too much time trying to fill every second with a laundry list of restaurants, sites and activities recommended by the staff at Lonely Planet. Most of the suggestions are major tourist attractions that provide great photographs, but tend to block travelers from engaging in a more local experience.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s no problem with hiking up Table Mountain to snap that perfect sunset photo, but I choose not to center my day around the obvious attractions (I still have pictures of the sunset even though they might not have been taken from the top of Table Mountain.)
As I leave South Africa, I realize that I didn’t do anything that I planned on doing. If you’ve been following me, you know my opinion about plans and how they are never set in stone. I didn’t hike Table Mountain. I didn’t go on a safari. I wasn’t even able to go shark cage diving because Semester at Sea’s insurance refused to cover it because of the recent incident involving a great white and an unstable cage. Regardless, I look back on my time in this beautiful country with a smile because I made unforgettable memories with some really cool people.
A few friends and I had the privilege of staying with Kerry, a new good friend from South Africa who traveled with us on the ship from Mauritius. (In the above photo from left to right: me, Katie, Derek, Christine, Braden, Kendall, Tory, Dawn, Kerry and Ross.)
Her family welcomed us into their home for three days where we hung out, ate good food, drank good coffee, played board games, shared stories and laughed until our stomaches hurt.
Kerry and her boyfriend Ross showed us around their town of Noordhoek in Western Cape. We ran through the white sand of a few secluded beaches, drank and ate at a couple of a local bar/restaurants in the mountains, encountered a group of ostriches…
Our friendships grew strong during the short period of time that we were with Kerry and her family, but it goes to show how incredible human interaction is. It was hard to leave, but I know I’ll be visiting again soon.
Hands down one of the best experiences on my voyage thus far. Although I hate to rate them because they’re all so different and spectacular in their own way. I’m just happy that I was able to not only connect with Kerry and her family, but get closer with a good group of fellow shipmates.