A year ago today, we left on our much anticipated road trip around South Africa. We sold our house and everything. Little did we know that our brand new laptop would die on the 2nd day of our trip and our car would start giving us problems before we even left the Western Cape, just over a week later. If we hadn’t been so committed, I’m sure we would have been very tempted to give up on the whole thing and just go back home.
When people learn that we sold our house, many are horrified. Heaven knows that when you’re on the property ladder in Cape Town, you don’t just get off. The thing is, it was really a choice between selling the house or having it repossessed (within a few months), to be brutally honest. And you know what, I’ve met enough people who have gone through that to know that you avoid it, at all costs. Of course, you can recover from it, but you recover more quickly when you set the ball in motion.
Of course, even now that we’ve been back for more than 6 months, we still aren’t on our “back on our feet” by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re making the best of it. But enough about that.
Family travel is very different to singles or couples travel. If I was a better blogger, I probably would have documented our journey (on social media) a lot better. I mean, it’s taken me over 6 months to finally start culling the photos we took and placing them in some semblance of order. Life happens, you know?
Real life on the road
Between negotiation peace treaties with the kids and trying to work out how you’re going to get everyone to the destination safely, while finding the time to pick up something to eat so that you can cook it and feed everyone when you get there, that was pretty much my priorities when it came to our 11 week road trip. Car selfies and beautifully styled nature shots were pretty low down on my to do list. I guess I just don’t have the right personality type. Or maybe it’s just a stage we’re in, given the ages of our kids.
So, was it worth it? Definitely. I feel so much more settled as a person. I know what I believe and I’ve grown up. Travel has matured me and I have gained invaluable knowledge about South Africa and the travel industry. Family travel in South Africa has a long way to go when it comes to making travel appealing and feasible for families, but the adjustments that need to be made will be worth it.
Need to be convinced? Just spend some time with my kids. I can’t believe how much they have grown and matured over the last year. If nothing else, they have an understanding of what a small town looks like vs a major city. They have developed an interest in history, wildlife conservation and economics. At ages 9 and 12 respectively, they can have an intelligent discussion about what they have seen and experienced. They have an opinion! (Which is a sign of analysing and interpreting information and then processing that information into something they can apply to their lives).
At the start of our journey, I had a bucket list approach. Now, I know that ALL travel, in its many shapes and forms, has value. You don’t have to get on a plane, but if you can, do. Think twice (or more) about adding more STUFF to your life. Your money is better spent getting out of your comfort zone and going to do something new. Whther you go down the street, to the next city or visit the country next door, travel will fill the void in your life far more than the latest cellphone or sound system.
Travel feeds your soul. You don’t know how much you need it, until you start…and then you find that you can’t stop. Never be satisfied with what you know. Go find how much more there is to see. You won’t regret it.