cape town, south africa: reflection
**disclaimer: soo many thoughts!!! my brain is working faster than my typing?! I can visualize my finished entry in my head but writing it is so scattered and so many epiphanies! does that ever happen to you?!***
When I got to Cape Town on Thursday, I felt two things: 1. I immediately fell in love with the city. I just felt it! 2. I felt so overwhelmed by how much this city has to offer. The minute I walked into my hostel I was greeted with a chalk board sign with options for over 15 "once in a lifetime experiences." Usually when I get to a city I try not to plan by days as I like to let happen what will happen, however, here I felt there was so much I wanted to fit in. My friends in Durban gave me so many great recommendations so I lightly sketched out my days for the next week. I was so excited!
Then... Day 1, I got food poisoning. Here is my "rough plan" vs. what actually happened. I'm sharing this not so much for the details, but rather, to highlight the stark contrast between what I "expected" and what path I went down instead. I think travel/backpacking can often be glamorized, however, speed humps and hurdles are bound to come along the way!
Thursday "Plan": Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, Hope Street Market
Thursday Reality: Table Mountain, Hope Street Market
Friday "Plan": AirBNB social impact experience 10-12 (meet with local artist and see galleries within Cape Town City), Lion's Head, Hout Bay Market/out with hostel
Friday Reality: Tough it through AirBNB social impact experience, food poisoning... aka not moving from bed
Saturday "Plan": Old Biscuit Mill Market, AirBNB experience 10-2 (visit Township, meet with artists, have lunch, street art tour), Camps Bay, Clifton
Saturday Reality: Food poisoning
Sunday "Plan": AirBNB experience 10-12 (music send-off with local community), Kirstenbach Botanical Gardens, Wine tasting in Constantia
Sunday Reality: Food poisoning
Monday "Plan": AirBNB surfing experience 10-2 in Muizenberg, Simon's Town to see the penguins, Cape of Good Hope
Monday Reality: Made it to surfing experience!! Went to see penguins but felt sick again so came back home for my last day of recovery.
Tuesday "Plan": Skydive! Go to my first futbol game! Cape Town City vs. Kaizer Chiefs.
Tuesday Reality: Still not fully recovered... didn't want to risk it. Explored downtown Cape Town City (coolest design and food places ever!), got a massage (felt so much better!), Workshop17 (great impact hub at V&A waterfront), drinks at 12 Apostles Hotel at Camps Bay sunset (beautiful!), went to the game
Wednesday "Plan": Aimlessly take a Hop On Hop Off bus wherever it takes me, get out, hike, explore!
Wednesday Reality: Pouring rain the whole day (yay! needed for the drought). Find myself blogging here in the best cafe ever!
"Plan" throughout: Eat amazingly delicious food and drink lovely drinks
Reality: Consumed 30+ water bottles in 4 days and finally ate toast at the end!
I have to admit, I realize I had been taking my health for granted. I have had one or two days of feeling off up til now but not this type of multi-day bed ridden illness. When I'm doing gratitude thoughts in the morning, I sometimes include my health, but this really, really made me appreciate what a luxury it is and how grateful I am for the days I can wake up and not feel a thing out of whack. It truly is amazing what our bodies are capable of.
Same with weather. When it is a sunny day I am happy and grateful, however, one rainy day will remind you just what a blessing that sunny day is!
In the past I think I would've had a negative thought track going on in my mind "I shouldn't have eaten XYZ," "I can't believe I'm wasting my time in sickness," etc., however, this time I reframed it to "how lucky am I to be at a comfortable hostel with a cozy living room and the best staff ever," "how lucky am I to not be traveling during this," "how lucky am I that most of my days are full of health."
This experience also helped me to slow down and realize the beauty of life itself. The beauty in the ups and the downs. The beauty in the little things. How even really shitty moments can even turn out to be some of the best ones?! Letting go, accepting what is and making the most of every moment no matter what!
I have to say (didn't think I would be able to make this claim) that Cape Town is my favorite city ever. And I am saying that with hardly doing and seeing as much as there is to offer! To me, Cape Town melds my favorite homes ever: London + San Francisco + New York. The international, cosmopolitan aspect of London, the stunning nature of San Francisco and the great vibes, culture and design of New York. There are amazing people from all over the world contributing to this amazing city.
I actually cannot express in words how unbelievable this place is. The views and nature are unbelievably stunning. There are so many incredible surrounding sections of the city, each offering something unique and breathtaking. Everyone is so active and adventurous- trying and learning new things. Art and music and sport and language radiate throughout the city and creativity is everywhere to be found.
When I visited art galleries, the artist’s stories read so clearly through the style of painting. They were each so open to explaining to me the meaning and evolution of their work. When I went to the futbol game, opposing fans were intertwined throughout the sections, exuding unreal energy and embracing full on joy when their team scored. High fives and hugs and grins ear to ear. I did not have a team so high-fived everyone but they soon caught on ;) When I went on a hike or to the beach, people were running, jumping, dancing, surfing, bodies constantly in motion. Smiles exchanged with strangers when a tennis ball rolled onto my towel.
Not to mention this is the most friendly city ever! Everyone is so chill and stops to talk to you about more than surface-level things. A lot of people I have met have never been to New York and many have never met someone from there so it is amazing to be able to share our stories and experiences.
Ggoifdjgdf. It’s so good!!! I cannot wait to come back here and for much longer next time. And all in all, I was reminded something does not have to be over the top amazing to be amazing. <3
Cape Town Highlights:
- Cable car up and down Table Mountain at sunset (unreal views!), AIrBNB social impact experiences, Workshop17, Journaling at the beach at Camps Bay, happy hour overlooking Camps Bay at sunset and making new friends I saw again throughout the trip, outdoor movie in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town City vs. Kaizer Chiefs futbol game and meeting new friends there! (beauty of being alone :)), seeing the penguins at Simon's Town, surfing at Muizenberg, Greenmarket Square to walk around, Skinny Legs for a great avocado toast, sunrise hike on my last day up Lion's Head/Wally's Cave with my hostel crew (so epic!)