Did I impulsively decide to just live in Cape Town for a month? Yes. Did I just steal the title of a Madagascar movie for this blog post? Also yes.
Traveling has been one of the most important things in my life over the last three years. However, with all of the memories you make while traveling, you also miss out on quite a lot of memories back home with those closest to you. In short, 2018 held several massive turning points in my life, and about two months ago, I was dealt a clean slate. It was a brutal clean slate but a clean slate nonetheless.
After wallowing in my sorrows for several weeks, I decided to seek solace in the thing that I knew I could count on to make me feel alive again. Traveling. Within a day of stepping foot back into the United States, I booked a series of flights that would eventually lead me to Cape Town, South Africa.
First, a flight to London to see some of my closest friends that I had made while backpacking. Also, the flight was only $200 but guys I promise it was mostly to see you ;). Second, a flight to Barcelona to let loose in my favorite city for a week. And let loose I did. Finally, a flight to Cape Town to go on my second trip with PACK co-working retreats.
The itinerary was set. Despite titling this post “escape to Africa”, I prefer to view it as snatching the opportunity at an empowering fresh start rather than running away from my problems. It would be my first real trip to Africa, a continent that I had only grazed once on a cruise ship stop in Tunisia. I can’t say that I was particularly nervous or anxious about the trip but I knew (and hoped) that it would be a much different experience than most of my trips in the past.
Two weeks in, I believe I have made one of the best choices in my life by coming to this city. It is hard not to fall in love with Cape Town, a city nestled between towering mountains and powerful oceans. A city where vibrance reigns supreme, constantly teeming with life and excitement. A city where all sorts of vagabonds, nomads, and misfits can feel at home and welcome.
From the challenging treks to the lazy beach days, the thunderous nightclubs to the chilled out coffee shops, the modernity that a digital nomad requires to the omnipresent celebration of its African roots, Cape Town is a city that I could only have possibly dreamed up.
Well, this city is real and I have barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. Being here has revitalized my love and passion for exploring, storytelling, and life. There is an epic sunset to chase every single day. There is a challenging trail to hike every single day. After surviving those difficult weeks before this trip when I felt I had nothing left, every single day matters again.
Most importantly, I began to rediscover the real reason I loved traveling in the first place. The people you meet. There is a lot to learn from the people you find in this city. Everyone has their own story to tell, their own passions to share, and experiences to learn from. Sure, you might think you can say that for every big city really but Cape Town is just… different. It feels like many people that end up here have a wild rabbit they are chasing, or perhaps they’ve already caught their wild rabbit here.
It’s hard to explain what it is about this city, a city where shoes are optional and friendly smiles are required. Before arriving here, all I would hear were horror stories about the dangers of traveling in South Africa. And yes, some of those horror stories are justified. The scars of racism have yet to entirely heal. Poverty can be seen in every corner of the city. Safety is still a major concern for those that aren’t careful, whether it’s flashing expensive jewelry or forgetting to lock your car doors.
Objectively, Cape Town is far from a perfect city but it would be an injustice to yourself if you let those stories deter you from experiencing what the city has to offer. It isn’t just about the city itself, it is about who you become when you indulge yourself in what Cape Town offers.
Sore, exhausted, and out of breath at the end of a challenging trek, you become a conqueror. Thousands of pictures and a multitude of experiences later, you become a storyteller. You can be yourself or you can be no one at all. No matter what your vibe is, you will find it in Cape Town, and you become alive.
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Table Mountain, well-deservedly named one of the world’s seven natural wonders. The views from up here were incredible and that sunset was unforgettable. Cape Town just keeps getting better 👌🏽 (also strongly considering just hiring @melaniejanevz to follow me around to take all these epic pics 🤔🤔)