REASONS WHY AFRICA WILL CHANGE YOU FOR GOOD

I know exactly what you’re thinking, ‘this chick is crazy. She’s obsessed with this continent (Ok. Maybe I am, just a little)’ but trust me after reading this post you will be too! I’m sure anyone who has traveled anywhere in Africa can attest to the fact that this is one of the most thrilling places you will travel to, and I’m not lying!

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

So I want you to take a minute…think about a few destinations of where you want to travel. I’m sure your list includes places like London, Italy, Germany, and Greece. Mine sure does! However, I feel like you’re missing one important place…a destination that will change you forever while placing an imprint on your heart that you’d never expect- Africa. 

First flight to Africa in 2015 

First flight to Africa in 2015 

I know it’s intimidating, and can be scary, but you’re thinking too much. Africa took me in with open arms, and not once did I feel unwelcome or like I didn’t belong. Have you always wanted to go on a safari? Do you like to climb mountains? Surf? Skydive? Scuba dive? Market-lover? (I know you’re out there.) Foodie? Have a history obsession? If you just answered any of those with a head nod, then I suggest you walk towards the idea of traveling to Africa ready for it to grab your hand and take you for a whirl.

 I think some people are afraid of what Africa has to offer, and that’s because they don’t know what exactly she does have to give. It’s ok to be scared, but I want you all to start using that fear, the fear of the unknown, and trust that fear so much that you start to wonder ‘why am I afraid?’ Then go after that fear and discover it; unfold it.

I thought up a short list of 5 reasons I think Africa and you are going to be besties. I limited it to 5 because I could probably go on forever about my time there...so check ‘em out.

View of Table Mountain from Blouberg, South Africa 

View of Table Mountain from Blouberg, South Africa 

Sunset in Cape Town, South Africa 

Sunset in Cape Town, South Africa 

  1. The locals I encountered in South Africa as well as other parts of Africa are kind, caring, hospitable, and so willing to share their culture with you. They are there for you and make you feel like you’re never alone. You’ll learn an unbelievable amount from them; whether it’s tips for what not to do, or the best local spots to hit up on a Friday night, they’re your go-to peeps. Infused with tradition and history, you’ll be amazed and never want to leave the conversation with them (especially when you hear their accents ;) )
  2.  The sunsets. They say there’s nothing like a South African sunset, and I will ditto this ‘till the day I die. No matter where you are, the colors that merge together paint the sky like you’ve never seen before. It’s a different type of sunset and brings you all the feels when you’re reminiscing on how amazing your day just was. The best thing to do is grab a bottle of wine, some snacks, and hike up to Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, chill at some bar in Ponta do Ouro, or sit around the campfire in Namibia. Oh, and don’t forget to give your mates a ring, because the company make it all the better! You’re going to catch yourself saying, “wow, I’m actually in Africa” and I promise once you see it you’ll know exactly what I mean.

  3. Lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my!) Well, maybe we should say lions, giraffes, and zebras instead! Safaris here are such a phenomenal experience. If you’re lucky you may see 3 of the Big Five, and now that’s something to send a post card about! Make sure you do your research before deciding which company/location you're going to use when you do go. When I was in South Africa I went to Kruger National Park and had the most amazing tour guides who were experienced and knew how to answer every question I threw their way. 
  4. Let’s all melt in a pot, mix it up, and call it Cape TownI only spent 3 months here and I wish it had been longer. After a few weeks I already knew in my heart I wasn't going to want to leave. Cape Town has it all and is for everyone. You name it and it's there! My favorite thing about this city is how different every single person is. You have people from every corner of the world and it just makes my heart so happy. Cape Town is another home for me, and definitely a must see if you're ever in Africa. 
  5. The wine…and beer. I barely have to say anything here. I know we all love a good glass of wine (or two..maybe three!), and for all those beer lovers out there a.k.a. me, Cape Town, ZA is your place to be! There are tons of wineries and super fun local breweries that will make your day. Groot ConstantiaFranschoek, and of course the infamous Drifter Brewing Company are just a few of my favs. There’s plenty to drink and you definitely won’t leave thirsty. 
  6. Just one more for good luck: She changes your life. Whether it’s the people you meet, the things you see, the volunteering you participate in, or the way it makes you feel at night, this is the place that changes your life. That airport in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Mozam, wherever you end up, will see you cry. Not just tears rolling down your cheeks, but the tears and cries filled with emotions that you can’t even put into words. Africa is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. Start with the flight, then go from there. You’re going to love it. You’ll go back, because it’s now a piece of you forever.
Volunteering in Cinsta East, South Africa 

Volunteering in Cinsta East, South Africa 

Africa stole my heart, and I have a feeling she might steal yours too.  

WHEN IN ROME....EXPLORE AS ROMANS DO: MY EXPERIENCE WITH SCOOTEROMA.

When I decided that I would be re-visiting Rome, I knew that I had to find a different way to see the city than I had before. I had been to Rome twice, and it was the second visit that made me fall in love...I couldn't even imagine what the third visit would bring!

And then I found ScooteRoma.

Yes, it is exactly what you are thinking. I fully committed to the Roman way of life, and decided to explore the city by scooter ("motorino" if you are Italian). As a note, if you are feeling nervous, they have more than just scooter tours! I actually found them through their adorable instagram account that I highly recommend you follow just for kicks.

What I discovered in my three hours with ScooteRoma, is that you can explore all corners of the city efficiently (and without further eviscerating my feet). I loved the thrill of weaving in and out of cars (I truly didn't think that I would), rushing through alley ways, and navigating to the front of traffic by snaking through traffic. Considering that I had to buy new sandals on the way to meet Mimmo (my Roman tour guide) because my feet were hurting so much, this relaxing ride was more than welcome.

Mimmo met me at a central spot and had my helmet ready to go. He was nice enough, not only to wait for me as I arrived flustered and late, but to also stop for coffee at a fantastically local cafe mid-tour and provided me with some sugary treats to fuel my adventures. A cappuccino and cream filled pastry was exactly what I needed to set the tone for my day whipping through the city's streets!

I had planned on walking to the Piazzale Garibaldi to get a view of the city..but Mimmo checked it off my list without even knowing. He took me to the "secret" spots, while also passing through the popular Roman landscapes. I was able to see the Roman forum, the "keyhole" to Rome, the orange garden in Parco Savello, and (what felt like thousands) more in between.

There are tours, and then there are tours...this my friends, is worth it. I'm not all for following a tour guide holding an umbrella upside down to mark where they are in the crowds. I can assure you that ScooteRoma provides a more intimate way to see Rome in a way that a Roman would every single day.

So why not hop on?!

5 REASONS IT'S OK TO BE YOUNG & IN LOVE (WITH TRAVEL)

Flowers at  the Old Biscuit Mill  in Cape Town, South Africa

Flowers at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, South Africa

I think it’s safe to say we have all had that first love; the one that we talked to all night and danced under the stars for hours after curfew with, the one who made you laugh so hard you had tears rolling down your face, the one who embraced you and let you feel so much of their warmth, and the one who left that impact so deep in your heart that you think about everything you did together every single day since you left them. They made you feel so young, young and in love...with travel. 

I was 20 when I found mine. Her name's South Africa.

I didn’t expect to find myself wanting and wishing to be back until my first adventure to the Rainbow Nation. After spending one month in the country with a couple of short trips to Swaziland and Mozambique, I was hooked; I was so hooked in fact that I decided to fly back less than a year later. I spent 12 weeks in Cape Town and fell truly, madly, and deeply in love with the country and its people. When I tell people this I usually get two types of reactions, but the looks of awe and curiosity are the ones I love the most.

Boulders Beach  near  Simons Town , South Africa

Boulders Beach near Simons Town, South Africa

Check out this quick list I put together of 5 reasons that justify why it’s ok to be young and in love with travel!

  1. You're only young onceso why not live life to the fullest, right? You can redefine “growing up” (whatever that means). You can broaden your perspective, make your world connect in different ways, and do something new every day. Stop asking yourself when you’ll go back or when you’ll leave, just go.
     
  2. Now's your time to be selfish, it’s your time to fill your soul and no one else’s. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but honestly I cannot say this enough! I know we all have that picture perfect future in the back of our minds, or that picturesque path that you’re currently standing on leading you to that amazing job, but when will you ever get the chance to take off and find something that you’re not even looking for or that’s not even there yet? Feed your dreams of eating gelato in some random city in Italy, grab a coffee at the same coffee shop you already went to four times, and laugh that belly deep laugh because what do you have to lose (you’re in Italy for crying out loud!!). Let your mind wander and your feet will follow, I promise! 
     
  3. That big girl/boy job will be there when you get back, well, probably! You just graduated with that brand spankin’ new degree- ah it looks good in that frame (that imaginary one, because it’s actually still hanging out in the closet, oops) and...YOU GOT THE JOB! Not the dream job, but A JOB! Now this is when things get hard. You’re trying to decide if you should take that trip to India that you’ve dreamed of since you were in high school and that trip that was inspired from your one week volunteer trip in Haiti, or stay home and take the job and work forever and ever and ever...hmm. I’m not saying it’s an easy decision at all, but if all goes well with the world, that job (and more) will be there when you get back. Going abroad will open doors, doors you had no idea existed. You’ll learn more about yourself than you thought- yep, even the fact that you have learned to embrace wearing the same pair of socks 7 days in a row- and that dream job that overlooked you the first time, won’t even second guess your strength, independence, and well roundedness.
     
  4. (Insert home town here) isn’t going anywhere. If you’re worried about leaving mom, dad, sis, bro, g-ma, or g-pa and THAT’S OK! I cried almost every night for a week when I studied abroad. I missed my family and my friends, but the funny thing was that nothing was changing at home. Everyone was still doing life, the same life that they were doing a week or six months ago, and I was over in Cape Town like "what’s happening bru and are we having a braai!?” But no, I’m serious- make moves, you won’t regret it. 
     
  5. You’re stronger than you think you are and I know you can do it. Make your life an adventure and step out of your comfort zone. Traveling is fun and scary, it’ll make you cry happy cries and sad cries, but it will be the time that fills your soul with magic and make you feel alive...really alive. 

So basically what I'm trying to tell ya'll is don't be afraid to fall in love with travel and IT'S OK to do so! I hope this helped put your mind at ease a little bit, and let the adventure continue...

Travel far & travel often my friends.