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.

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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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Simplicity and Happiness According to Cate

IMG_8714I got the idea for this blog on my birthday. Compared to really poor families in Cambodia, Malaysia or even South Africa who live in one-room houses and could never afford to buy expensive presents for their kids or take them somewhere for a cool birthday outing, I had an awesome day. I got a few small presents; we had an afternoon beach outing. I had a wonderful day.

But compared to families in Canada or US or wherever else, who hold awesome birthday parties for their kids and give them lots of presents, my birthday was simple. I’m not trying to vilify any first-world families. I am one of those families, but even more fortunate (traveling around the world; how the heck could anyone say I’m not lucky?) Continue reading

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Hair!

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When I was growing up, some of my closest friends had “black hair” – otherwise known as curly hair, otherwise known as afro hair. Back in the day, access to black hair products, and hair stylists who had a clue about how to manage it, were pretty limited. As in, basically non-existent. Acceptance of diversity was also in its early stages (translated: having afro hair was not “cool.”) 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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Beautiful heart; beautiful mind

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Today our oldest baby turns 11! More amazing than the lightning fast passing of time is watching Cate grow into such a remarkable person. She is without doubt the kindest, most thoughtful person I know. She never has a harsh word to say about anyone. And her sense of social justice? Let’s just say she has strong opinions about how things should be in this imperfect world. And I think she will do her part to set wrongs right.

Did I mention that she’s scary smart? She’s a homeschooling parent’s dream – she loves to learn, she proactively sources curriculum (not just for herself, but her siblings too), and she actually worries if she doesn’t think she’s done enough work. Really!

As if that wasn’t enough, she’s a talented writer and is currently working on a novel set during the civil rights movement in the US. (See above re: acute sense of social justice.)

I can’t think of any more fitting tribute to our girl than sharing some of her writing with the world. Below is the intro paragraph to her novel, and further below is a short piece she wrote last school year for a writing class. The assignment was to write a story based on a famous work of art. She chose Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Now I know I’m biased, but pretty amazing for a 10-year old, no??

On that note, Happy Birthday Catie Bella … we love you so very much! 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

Categories: Kids Only, South Africa | 3 Comments

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

Categories: South Africa | 4 Comments

Koala-Palooza

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We drove down the narrow road to Bimbi Park — advertised as an opportunity to “Camp under the Koalas.” Spotting our first Koala high up in a eucalyptus tree, we excitedly jumped out of the car, snapping pictures and taking video in a frenzy. Continuing on our journey, we saw a second koala, then a third, then a fourth… then a twentieth. It was a veritable Koala-Palooza! Continue reading

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Cow-a-licious

Cen here. For the last four days we’ve been at a farm stay on the Great Ocean Road, and it’s been the best four days of my life so far.

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Why? Because there are … Continue reading

Categories: Australia, Kids Only | 3 Comments

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