A trip of a lifetime

Archive for February, 2012

The Beginning of All Things: Cape Town, South Africa

My name is Noemi Rodriguez. I’m originally from Spain but I consider myself a world citizen, the world is my house and the road is my path. Since I can recall, I write my dreams with photographs, and I have discovered my passion for travelling through the years.

The starting of my trips comes up from my necessity of experiencing the world I live in. There are so many cultures that we can learn from and so many new situations to experience that I felt I was missing something big.

So after finishing my Photography and Film studies and doing a couple of internships in different places in Europe, I was ready to start exploring the world and myself in the process. I had already traveled to China and Laos a couple of years before but I was not alone in that trip, this time it was a real adventure.

This blog is about my first – but not last – big solo experience: a five-month-trip through Southern and East Africa. It emerges from both my passion for travelling and that one for Photography.

My first African sunrise

My first African sunrise

As a female solo traveler you are an easy target for all kinds of advice that, in spite of their good intentions, will try to discourage you from doing all those “crazy things” like spending months travelling alone through Africa. It is difficult to be able to listen to all of them and just extract the parts that are useful for your trip, without letting anyone discourage you. Fortunately that’s what I did.

I chose South Africa to start my trip because I considered it the easiest, most European-like country and I though the cultural shock was going to be smoother. About a month before departing I had already found a job for the first month, in a hostel for backpackers situated in Jeffrey’s Bay, surfer’s paradise. This was the time when I still arranged things beforehand, but it didn’t last long…

Having a place to work and sleep, and to earn a little bit of money for the trip, was comforting enough to not feel scared when the moment arrived.

And there was I. After five hours in a bus, two flights and four movies on the plane, I arrived to Cape Town International Airport.

I had already arranged a place to stay in Cape Town through Couch Surfing, an initiative that I adore and that I had used many times before. So my host Ryan and his friends were waiting for me at the airport to take me home in a beautiful old Chevrolet.

Trip to Darling to see the flowers in full bloom

Trip to Darling to see the flowers in full bloom

Three days in that house were more than enough to fall in love with those people and their lifestyle, although at first my European mind had problems to get adapted to the so-called “African time”. For them, the word “now” meant several teas and conversations later. Subsequently I discovered that South Africans have two additional types of “now”: the “now now”, which can be anytime from five minutes to five hours, and the “just now”, which can be whenever they want [maybe today if you’re lucky!]. It took me time to get used to this but eventually I ended up internalizing the African time myself.

I didn’t get to know the city itself very well this time, but I definitely experienced the good “vibe” that floats in the air. And I was sure I was going to visit them again.

So after those wonderful first days in Cape Town with these laid-back but at the same time socially aware people, it was time to head for my new destination and the place that I was going to call home for a little while, Jeffrey’s Bay.