South Africa

Big and small

Concert at Bulugha School near Chintsa on the Wild Coast

Concert at Bulugha School near Chintsa on the Wild Coast

I continue to be amazed how international travel can make the world seem so big and yet so small at the same time. One moment we are immersed in a culture and reality completely removed from our own, and the next we feel as though we have been transported back home. Sometimes it makes my head spin, and I struggle to absorb it all.

We’ve gone months without meeting a single person from Canada or even the US. This week we met several Americans, including a Colorado man working on a water project in Lesotho. And today I had a long chat with a woman from Abbotsford who has spent the past year setting up a new program at a university in Nairobi. Continue reading

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When you heard from us last…

Outside 34 South on Knysna Waterfront

Outside 34 South restaurant on Knysna Waterfront

…  we were at the southernmost tip of Africa, at Cape Agulhas, with only one road in and out of the small village. It had been raining. Hard. For several days. We were advised that the road would be closed if the rain continued overnight.

As we made our way out of the area the next morning, all seemed fine. In fact, the pools of water we drove through the day before were mostly gone. And then we past the “road closed” drum cans. Why did we continue against all common sense, you may ask? Well, we were right behind a large SUV, and by the time we saw the signs on the drum cans, we had already entered the flooded roadway. The SUV kept going. A car passed us going the other way. The road wasn’t completely closed off, unlike others we previously had to backtrack from. We figured it must be a small pool of water.

We were wrong. Continue reading

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The Road, Rain and the Tip

No we don’t have any travel advice or a major revelation for you, but more on the “tip” later. It has been about 48 hours since we began our two-week South African road trip. We said a sad goodbye to our lovely apartment in Fish Hoek and hit the road.


The first 24 were somewhat uneventful… although we did get to see the world’s only Whale Crier in Hermanus.

The next 24 were wet. Really wet.  Not just Vancouver wet, but a full on monsoon over most of the Western Cape. Continue reading

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Bernard and the entrepreneurial spirit

I saw him in the distance, waving me towards the patch of gravel along the side of the mountain road. As we neared him, I contemplated our options: take our chances and try to find a spot further up the road (closer to the base of Table Mountain), or take the safe bet, given that we’d already passed dozens of parallel parked cars on this beautiful (and busy) Saturday morning.

We took the spot.

As we emerged from the car (a protracted process at the best of times), the man greeted us with a heavy dose of cheer, and deftly slipped me his “card,” a faded piece of flimsy paper bearing his name – Bernard – and an inordinate amount of numbers. This was a first.

Continue reading

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This place ticks all the boxes

We are just loving Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula.

Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment) with the backdrop of Cape Town and Table Mountain

So much so that I can really picture ourselves living here. No joke. A word of travel advice – if you haven’t been here yet, you absolutely must add this to your travel destination wish list.

Now don’t worry everyone, we haven’t made any rash decisions and are still scheduled to come home in late January! Kind of ironic though, that these thoughts have sprung into my head the week I finalized our plans and route home.  Continue reading

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Crashing in the Cape

Hey everyone, it’s Cate here. Sorry we haven’t posted about Cape Town yet; we’ve just been adjusting to the time and settling in to our beautiful apartment in Fish Hoek.

The view from our apartment in Fish Hoek

The view from our apartment in Fish Hoek

We’re staying at a seaside guesthouse: Picture ocean views from our place, comfy beds, huge bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, plus a pool and a beach just ten minutes’ walk away………… ahhhhh. Continue reading

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150 Days and Counting

V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (16912 km from Vancouver)

We’re in Africa! Just outside beautiful Cape Town, South Africa to be exact. Cate is working on a post about our time here to date, so watch for that soon. In the meantime, some observations about being a nomadic family…

In another 24 hours, we’ll start our sixth month on the road. Closing in on half a year. That’s a lot of time and distance from our regular lives. Enough time in this suspended reality to be lulled into feeling this is our regular life. We’ve grown accustomed to being together 24-7 in close quarters. Accustomed to constant change. To lots of time spent in transit from one place to another. Our own version of trains, planes and automobiles.

And yet, though our location keeps changing, we’ve settled into our own routines and patterns. Our own ways, individually and collectively, to find our equilibrium. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, the equilibrium is decidedly off. Some of the patterns are less-than-charming (Sibling bickering, anyone?) But all-in-all I’ve been surprised by how smoothly we have settled into a nomadic existence. Continue reading

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