Monday, September 8, 2014
Addo Elephant National Park
I had the most wonderful weekend out in the wild, going on game drives where there was little to no signal. Every so often it is so good for you to deviate from the beaten track and get lost in the roads less traveled.
Day One was scorching hot, I arrived mid-afternoon and ventured out on a game drive where I spotted beautiful and majestic elephants, eagles, tortoise, zebra, warthog and lots of buck.
This is a photo of me introducing my nephew, Jenson (9 months old), to Pumba!
He was such a gem all weekend, laughing, smiling and giggling in between his adorably chaotic crawling EVERYWHERE!! Nothing is safe anymore now that he is officially mobile! Ahhh!
The elephants and the eagles really did steal the show for me this weekend. Both are creatures that I am absolutely fascinated by.
Unfortunately we saw no wild cats; but on day two we did manage to spot black-backed jackal and hyena munching on stolen prey.
I called shot gun with my mum while my brother, his wife and Jenson went in their own car... and boy did mum and I party it up in our vehicle. We're as bad as each other really!! Mischief I tell you.
In the evenings once the gates to the park had been shut and everyone else had gone to bed, mum and I ordered bottles of wine, stole glasses and hopped down to the watering hole hoping to see animals drinking but alas, it was dead.
It was really wonderful to bond with her again though.
Our family has been through a lot lately and so it was lovely to forget everything and just let our hair down together.
In the mornings we'd head over to the local grill and bistro and fuel up with some breakfast - Jenson having his mushed up carrots and butternut baby foods. I couldn't help but feel bad!
I had to share this photo of Auntie Jade and her stunning nephew though - how freaking cute is he in his little stripey shirt and Happy Chappy cap!?
My heart melts.
Overall, it was just wonderful to break routine and escape out into nature for a while.
I'm not the kind of girl that likes to be in big cities, in clubs and shopping malls and wearing bloody makeup and high-fashion all day, every day.
I don't like sitting on a computer day in and day out - surrounded by drama and developing a seriously bad case of small-town syndrome.
Escaping this past weekend really just fuelled me up in wanting to head back out there into the world again.
I've been stuck in South Africa for a year now, which is the longest I've been without traveling in an incredibly long time and it is starting to eat away at my spirit.
I've got a few ideas in mind - mainly being to save, save, save while working my butt off and keeping out of trouble and then heading over to India for a little trip next year for the Holi One Colour Festival (tick another thing from my bucket list!) in March.
From there I'd come back and continue working and saving like mad until I have made a firm decision on where I want to move to for a few months and work overseas. That's been an idea of mine for a while now and the main countries that really appeal to me are Canada (one of the things on my bucket list is to learn to snow-board at a ski-resort there and work there while I'm at it! Lets face it, Canadian accents are beautiful, the country itself is beautiful and the people are renowned for being friendly, quirky and fun!), then there's Bali... my biggest dream in life (barring being a famous novelist!) is to go there and surf - be a beach bum for a while. Here I could teach surfing or English, work in a back-packers. I was thinking about it all yesterday and the thing is that in Canada, I know loads of people from really close friends I met while traveling through Europe last year, old school friends that have moved there since university to pursue musical careers, to amazing 'pen-pals' and blogging friends. Bali, I know no one that actually lives there but I know many friends of mine that go there often to surf and get away (lucky right???). This inevitably makes Bali slightly more scary for me as I'd be 100% alone - but it's awesome to have options.
Lastly there is Australia. Again, I have not only friends from school and friends that I met while traveling through Europe that live there but I also have family. Family who have been so kind as to offer me FREE accommodation while finding my feet there.
I don't want to choose a country purely based on accommodation reasons though - and to be honest, Australia, as wonderful as it is, wouldn't be number one on my list.
My cousin that lives there has been giving me some amazing advice though... drilling into my head that if I don't get out of this small town and branch out, experience what the world has to offer while I am young and have nothing holding me back - then I will regret it... and you know what? He's right. I will. So I know I need to go.
I was looking at my savings account as some sort of a security blanket and thinking how great it is to have all this cash saved up for if and when I need it but I could die tomorrow. Any of us could - and if I don't go and live my dreams of travel while I can, with the money I have saved, I'll always regret it.
Someone very cynical told me that I won't have a chance to regret it, because I'll be dead (thanks for that.....) but I see it completely differently.
So I can confidently say that I have made my decision.
I will be going traveling again A LOT as of next year. A few more months of saving up to achieve this and then poof... I am off on a new adventure. Where to, I don't know yet - and that is half of the excitement.