My African Adventure lasted 3 weeks beginning just after Christmas until Jan 22. The experience was pretty much 3 distinct mini-experiences so I’ll blog about each one individually. This is Part 1.
As I boarded the plane to Cape Town I was both exhausted and excited. I had just come off a whirlwind tour hitting Seattle and Salt Lake for 6 days to see my family and friends for Christmas. I had less than 24 hours back home in NY to unpack, do laundry, and repack for what would be my longest trip away from home so far- all in, one month on the dot (would be hitting Finland on my way home from Africa). This would be an exercise in packing smart, and good practice for the actual backpacking journey that will be starting soon. What do I really need to bring with me? Turns out not much… which I’m getting more and more comfortable with.
There would be a big crew of my friends from New York down to hang and visit Joe, plus a ton of other international guests of his Cape Town crew. It was going to be fun, albeit probably a bit chaotic coordinating that many people. Joe did an amazing job sorting out a bunch of activities, events, and accommodations for everyone- it truly was a ton of effort which I know exhausted him tremendously, even if he wasn’t showing it externally.
We hit the ground running on Day 1 (12/29) with a huge boat party! There were about 30 of us on a Catamaran for about 6 hours sailing around the city and its beautiful beaches. Cape Town really is the most beautiful city in the world (sorry to all the other cities I’ve visited but there really is no comparison). The mood was amazing as Summer had just kicked off in CPT and most of us were flying in from colder, winter weather AND many of us haven’t seen each other for a while now that we’re all starting to scatter around the US and the world a bit more. The champagne was flowing, the music was blasting, and life was good. One thing I’ll stress throughout these posts is my sincere gratitude for the friendships I’ve made over the years. I truly am blessed to know some amazing people, and here I was in a beautiful international city, on a boat, with some of my best friends AND at the same time making some awesome new ones! As if things couldn’t improve any more, my friends Phil and Liz announced their engagement (Phil had popped the question a few days earlier but they waited to share the news)! Life is indeed good!
Getting up early following the boat day was a little challenging (*a few of us decided to also go out that night). But we managed- nothing a Peanut Butter Bomb and Floo Shot from Kauai couldn’t fix! As South Africa is well known for its wines, we couldn’t not do a day of wine tasting! So, a group of us headed up to Stellenbosch to check out some vineyards. I wouldn’t even come close to aptly being able to describe the beauty of the region. Everywhere you look is absolutely picturesque, like something out of a movie! We toured around 3 wineries, getting the full history of the vineyards and their most popular wines. We ate an amazing lunch next to a beautiful lake which reflected the nearby mountains and blue sky like it was a mirror. Cheers to us. Side note- this is some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted and the average bottle cost was about 7$ for a solid mid-tier and 20$ for a high end! As you can imagine, I bought a lot 😉
Insert good conversation, hiking, getting massage, going to the beach, hanging by the pool, etc (any time there’s a break between ‘events’, this is what was transpiring… life wasn’t awful at all.
Next stop New Years Eve! That evening I found myself at a beautiful winery down the coast a little bit with some of our crew and some of Joe’s CPT friends. The other half of the crew had booked a dinner in town. Side note about this group- everyone was really cool that we didn’t all have to do the same things always. Everyone was pretty independent, no hurt feelings, and we kept things pretty casual for the most part. Sometimes people were on their own, sometimes we had big events… Uber made it very easy for everyone to just kinda do whatever they wanted with minimal stress which is always a huge possibility with a group our size. OK, back to NYE. We decided on this event as it’d be a little more chill- knowing what we had in store for New Years Day. We hung out, enjoyed some amazing wine accompanied by a beautiful sunset, danced to fun music, and then rang in 2017 with some sparklers on a dock down on their lake- underneath a starry South African sky. The year ended on a pretty perfect note, and 2017 was officially off to a good start as well
New Years Day. The party we’ve all been waiting for… Joe sorted out a massive block of tickets for what was advertised as the place to be on New Years Day. Pacha was throwing a big day party down on the waterfront and allegedly ‘all the cool kids’ would be there. Surprisingly, everyone got in with zero trouble! Rare for a party this ‘cool’ and a group of our size. Surely we thought one or two of the after market tickets would be fake and we’d have to grease a door guy- nope, everything worked out perfectly and we had an amazing time drinking and dancing in the South African sun all day. Once again I’ll stress how amazing it was being surrounded by the people I was. The group was just so fun and positive. Although the surrounding party provided a great backdrop, the real party was w me and my friends, and I couldn’t be happier than to ring in the New Year with this group.
Our next adventure found us heading into the mountains of Tulbach. We decided that after the craziness of the New Year, it’d be cool to take the entire crew up to a massive farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere for a little ‘us-time’ away from Cape Town. We stopped at the store along the way as different groups would all be responsible for a different meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) over the 3 days. It was a fun exercise hanging out in the kitchen, preparing and cooking the food (or just hanging with others while they did). We talked, listened to music, and just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, During our days at the farm we hung by the pool, had great life discussions with friends old and new, hiked, and even did a Pilates class. At night we ate amazing meals, hung around the fire drinking wine and telling ghost stories and laying outside looking at one of the most amazing skies I’ve ever seen (there was barely any artificial light this far out).
After our farmhouse it was back to Cape Town to close out the last few days. We didn’t schedule much and instead just kept everything light. We hiked, braai’ed (BBQ’ed), continued to chat about life and how we all want to approach our self betterment this year. I even played in a Volleyball tournament (3rd place!).
The week was a good one. And as people began to head home, we would all agree that it had been as close to perfect as it could’ve been. We spent time with our best friends and forged new amazing friendships as well! There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by people you love, that truly love you back. We’ve also all moved past the superficial stage of life where it was all about partying until we were too hungover to move. We talk about real shit and challenge each other to get better. We share our lives on a much deeper level now and it feels amazing. This is what life should be.
…and I still had 2 more weeks down here!
Some Photos for your viewing pleasure
Liz’s new bling!A solid addition to the group- nice work EMillz!Because we needed to go out after?
Wine Tasting! A Classy Affair…
Did someone say ‘Classy’?
Backdrop for NYE- The sun setting on 2016
New Years Day Party- Pacha 2017
Wait a minute, that’s not Phil!#TwinningPacked houseThe Beautiful People?Oh, there they are…Shenanigans! Also, beards on this side <- Non beards over here ->A solid crew…Because we needed to go out after… again Who wore it better? Late night outfit switch
Up to the Farm House
Chillaxin’ pool sidePoolaxin chill side?A room with a view… oh wait they all are!Communal cooking was a great way to spend time together!And communal eating too, of course!Good, good times… (minus 2 vampires)
My Volleyball Tournament
Tablecloth on point that day!A beautiful backdrop for some Volley!Only the Essentials…My man Ricky! Dude was a baller! Carried my cramping ass all day…3rd Place out of 16 teams!
There truly is no place like this… Love ya CPT!
Just a guy on a hero's journey...