This past week I took a well deserved break to Mombasa Kenya and here’s how it went. I didn’t jump at the idea to go initially because you know adulting tends to be a nay-sayer of note; but Johannesburg’s cold winter convinced me to go where it was nice and warm. After I bought my plane ticket I thought that was all the preparation I needed to do because I mean you don’t need a visa to travel to other African countries right. Kids take note ignorance is not bliss, I was so lax with my research and I cut it pretty close with vaccinations and medications. Kenya is a yellow fever region therefore you need to get a vaccine and it is advised that this vaccination be done at least 10 days before you leave, but being the *daredevil that I am I got mine 6 days before my trip. *Sidebar I would like to let you know that Google is your friend. After being informed about the need for a vaccination on Saturday night I headed straight to Google to find travel clinics that were open on a Sunday. Lo and behold there was one 2 minutes away from where I live and it was open on Sundays so needless to say I went to bed with a smug “I got this” grin on my face. Woke up the next morning took a walk to the travel clinic and I was told they are out of the yellow fever vaccine and they’d probably get stock sometime during the week *Shock!Horror!Gasp!* I went back to Google and called the other listed clinics with no luck, so I stop calling because I was over hearing no, so I ended up driving to a clinic that Google said is open without even calling ahead. At this point I’m talking to God, the universe and my ancestors simultaneously on some “help a sister out”. I am happy to report that they heard me and I got vaccinated and got my malaria tablets, I was officially clear for take off.
Then things started looking up, the Gautrain station in Sandton let me park my car there for free and on the flight to Nairobi I had a whole row to myself I was literally on cloud nine. When we landed however there was a mess up with my booking and I missed my flight to Mombasa. The airline put me on the next flight( which was 2hours later) with no charge. I was lucky, hella cranky but lucky nonetheless. When I landed at the airport in Mombasa and the first thing I saw was a board with my name on it I knew God,the universe and my ancestors were all looking out for me. It was smooth sailing from then on.
First and foremost Happy New Year everybody. I was trying to work out where I wanted to go next; you know since I’ve already done my dream destination Paris (which I fully intend on visiting over and over and over) and I realized I really only have one requirement…. warm weather. See my ultimate dream is to never experience winter again, yep I’m talking 365 days of summer.
Therefore it only makes sense that my next few destinations be beachy and tropical, yes. So here is a wishlist of destinations:
Zanzibar: For obvious reasons, look at the beautiful water and gorgeous beaches.
Namibia: I just really want to see where the desert meets the ocean. How pretty is this?
Bahamas: The pink beach of Harbor Island in the Bahamas. There’s no need to explain this one its a pink beach come on man.
I think the pics in this case say it all.
Greece This place looks like paradise
So I’m gonna work hard and play powerball (you know to cover my bases) because paradise awaits.
I’ll be the first to say I never understood traveling alone, I don’t even like the idea of going to the movies by myself. So to say I found the thought of going to another country all by my lonesome daunting would be the understatement of the year. When I was toying with the idea of going to Paris I tried to recruit everyone I knew. It soon became evident that the universe had other plans for me.
I said in the beginning of the year that I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and what better way for an introvert such as myself to be thrust out than traveling alone. In all of the excitement that I would be going to my dream destination I kinda forgot how scary this actually was. Landing in Paris on a cloudy and chilly morning was however a quick reminder. As I waited outside the airport for my late shuttle surrounded by chain smokers the voice inside my head was like “WTF Ofentse? What did you do? What were you thinking?” yo I was ready to get back on the plane and go home.
When my shuttle finally arrived I told that voice to shut up and suck it up because we’re here now. I tapped into my inner Shonda Rhimes on some “I can do this I’m badass“. Luckily I had a jolly and rather chatty shuttle driver and then we were joined by some nice and equally chatty old ladies suddenly things didn’t seem so bad. I was like “hey this isn’t so bad I can do this” the next part could’ve been my imagination but I swear the sky cleared and the sun came out and Paris was magic again.
I went exploring, chatting to strangers, asking people for directions and asking them to take my picture. It was quite liberating to do things without overthinking everything. I also realize that I sound like a cliche but it was liberating and a growing experience. I only realized it when I came home and started telling people stories about my trip. I never thought I would ever take a solo trip let alone enjoy one, but I did and I highly recommend it.
Afterwards I had N*E*R*D’s ” She’s badass” playing in my head as a soundtrack because I felt like I could do anything if I managed to navigate my way in a country where I only knew a handful of phrases in their language and still managed to have a good time. Also traveling alone means not having to compromise on anything really; you do what you feel like, when you feel like it. Selfish as that may sound it felt nice not to have to negotiate on what activities to do and when to do them. That alone should be reason enough to want to try it out, that and meeting new people and honing your selfie taking skills.
Ever since I could remember I have been drawn to Paris, but to be honest as time went by I fell in love with the idea of it more than anything else. I avoided going there over the years in fear that it would not live up to the dream, the idea I had created in my head. But since I am in the year of yes I figured oh well Ofentse its time to take Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT and boy am I glad I did.
What I did may have seemed crazy to some… going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language all by myself. Crazy or not I did it and loved every second of it.I would like to say for the record Paris lived up to my imagination, it was whimsical quirky and cool in other words the city version of me.
I went full blown tourist out there guys as you can see from my happy snaps:
Le Palais Royal
Arc de triomphe
And I fell madly in love with the Eiffel Tower day and night.
The stairs leading to the Sacré-Cœur
Montmartre was a workout for sure with all the stairs and everything being uphill but I did enjoy how busy and vibrant it was.
The streets were lined with artists sketching cheesy tourists like myself.
Thank you Paris I will be back again that is for sure.
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Sometimes in those quiet moments I sit and think to myself what have I done with my life? When do I start living? And in those quiet moments is when all those cliches you’ve heard start making sense. You know those corny “life is what happens when you’re making plans”. Then you have the likes of Facebook with their reminders of what you were up to a couple of years ago, and it reminded me that life aint so bad at all.
I mean I’m not saying I have the coolest life, not by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve done some cool stuff here and there you know.
Canopy tours in Magaliesberg
Quad-biking in Mozambique
Desert Safari in Dubai riding camels and 4×4’s over sanddunes
Getting a star on the Hollywood walk of fame (sort of)
Climbing all these damn steps to get to the top of the Schlossberg and the Clock Tower in Graz Austria.
Walking through the Kruger National park (Yeah I walked cause I’m badass)
When I was in varsity this one dude asked me “how are you going to enjoy seeing the world with a camera stuck to your face?” that question always confused me. I love taking pictures everywhere I go, its like freezing a single moment and when you look back at that picture you have that same feeling over again. I’m happiest when I’m traveling and the pictures remind me of those happy moments and I honestly cannot wait to capture more happy moments. So I hope this answers old boy’s question.
Here are a few of my immortalized memories:
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And here’s to many more memories 😉