It’s the beginning of November and I find myself in Cape Town for the third time on this Excellent Adventure. There are several reasons why I’m back here:
- Super affordable place to extend my journey (Thanks Joe, Dino, and Sonal for letting me crash)
- Also super affordable place to live the ‘Chosen Lifestyle’. Personal Training/Boxing, Nutrition, Yoga/Meditation, Massage, Personal/Professional Coaching, Good Sleep)
- It’s Summer! The weather is near perfect so there’s added incentive to hit the beaches/trails, mountains…
- Can join the CT crew for the Otter Trail hike they have planned. That plus all the addl hiking I’ll be doing will be great training for Joe and I’s upcoming Patagonia Trip where we’ll be on a trail at least 60% of our days.
- It’s an awesome city. I love it. I love myself when I’m there. And I’m exploring a move there…
But over the course of this month something happened (Spoiler Alert). Yes, all the things I mentioned above, but something else as well. And I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but I experienced a transformation. Another ‘Phoenix rising from the ashes’ moment. Brian 3.0… But we’ll get to that- a few general stories first. I like creating a little suspense…
I’m fresh off my Kilimanjaro Climb. Still very raw, emotional, very proud of myself for sure, but still left with a lot of feelings to sort out. I figured Cape Town was a good place to hang for November. Spend some time with my crew down here and do what I can to help Joe get ready for his own life transformation- he’s quitting his job and traveling the world for a few years too. The timing is actually perfect. We’ll have about 6 weeks overlap where I’m finishing and he’s beginning. A time where neither of us is working, stressing, or in any way encumbered by the ‘real world’. We’ve planned to go explore Argentina, Chile, and Peru (with a guest appearance by AJ for a few weeks!)- then I’ll head home to choose a job and he’ll head off to summit Mt Aconcaqua- the highest peak in S America and one of the 7 Summits. I digress.
As soon as I arrive we jump right into training mode. Healthy meals, morning runs of the Lion’s Head Loop and running up Platteklip and Kloof Corner on Table Mountain. I reconnect with my boxing trainer, Nick. After Bali, and now Kili, I’m back in good shape and I want to keep it that way! We have an aggressive December ahead of us! It’s good to see Joe again. Even though we just hung out for a bit in Bali, I feel like we both growing and learning and changing so rapidly these days that even after a few weeks, we’re once again different people with new amazing things to talk about, things we’ve learned about ourselves and the world. The conversations I’m having now, especially with Joe, AJ, and Dinesh are so fulfilling and rewarding. We’re very open, ok being vulnerable, and want nothing more than to help each other grow. I’m excited to continue this with the rest of my friends back home once we get to spend more extended periods of time together. Deeper friendships and love- we should always be striving to increase these areas in our lives.
This first week I get to see all the crew, plus a guest appearance by our friend Alistair (who happens to be in town from Singapore!). Full moon hikes, great dinners, coffee dates at Bootlegger and my new favorite hangout the Mojo Market (great healthy food and super fast wifi- spent most of my time doing my Kili blog here). PLUS, I’m experimenting with a new passion, different varieties of Avocado Toast, so I’m making us brekkie every morning, haha. Honestly it’s just nice to be back here. More and more it feels like home. Add in a few amazing new friends (CT seems to just be full of great people) and November is off to a pretty great start!
Now that Joe is officially funemployed- he can finally dedicate time to helping Dinesh with his food delivery business, OrderIn. As a part of that, they’ve planned a trip to London to meet up with some people so they’ll be gone for a week. As Sonal is also traveling, I just have his awesome flat to myself. But- the universe has worked some magic again and my friend Ashley (the awesome girl I met in New Zealand back in March) happens to be in town! Was super excited to catch back up with her, share travel stories, introduce her to the gang etc! It’s great to see her. She’s such an easy going person, and we settled back into our ‘travel’ routine (though we weren’t rolling around in a van every day this time). She’s done most of the touristy stuff already so really we just hung out and lived the CT lifestyle. Avo Toast of course, catching up on travel/life plans, meditating, birthdays in wine country, hanging with friends for dinners/drinks etc. Was a great week!
Hiking along the Garden Route
But Ash had to get back to the states to take part in one of her best friend’s weddings, so once again we parted ways, knowing that we’ll continue to keep in touch and remain close friends. And the same day that she left, Joe returned. As I mentioned earlier, a group of us had been planning on doing the Otter Trail- a 5 day hike along the Garden Route, about a 4 hour drive from the city. BUT Things got a little shuffled at the last minute and we ended up having to do a different trail instead- the Tsitsikamma. Funny how the universe plays things out sometimes. This little pivot ultimately resulted in one of my favorite moments of this entire adventure of mine!
We’d be hiking on the trail for 4 nights before heading back to Cape Town (we shortened it by a day to give Joe a bit more time to pack his house up and get everything sorted for his trip). There were 8 of us along the way- we’d brought food, wine, clothes, sleeping packs, etc. We’d be carrying all of our stuff for the whole trail so we were economical with our packing (still made room for a bunch of avos though). During the day we’d hike and chat, taking in the beautiful nature and when we arrived at the huts we’d unpack, hang out, meditate as a group, do yoga (I taught my first ever Yin ‘class’!), and then cook/eat together. It was great!
The second night we were there was Thanksgiving. That evening we were at a hut up on a ridge with a beautiful lookout over the valley. Before dinner we decided to hike down to this river that had all these little staggered pools before ultimately turning into a waterfall. We hung out in the water for a bit and then returned home to cook up a proper Thanksgiving Feast! Dinner was festive, everyone was in a great mood, and while we ate we all took turns saying what we were grateful for in life- of course everyone listed the present moment among the top things. What a special group of people we had- super diverse, international, from all backgrounds of life… After much food, wine, and a surprise dessert, I mentioned that in America the minute Thanksgiving was over everything pretty much turned Christmas-y. And with that I started playing my Xmas playlist- beginning of course with Mariah Carey’s classic All I Want for Christmas is You. Instantaneously, everyone was up and dancing and singing- on the benches, on the tables- pure magic.
On the final day the ladies would be heading back to the city in the morning- leaving the boys with one day/night to play Lord of the Flies in the woods (minus the factions and pig head). We had some great male bonding time as we hiked, each of us finding/naming walking staffs, and even stopping to swim in a pretty picturesque pond. It was awesome, it was like we all reverted to the 10 year old versions of ourselves (you know, when we all think girls are gross and farts are funny). We were just 6 buddies running around the woods playing explorer. It was a time of innocence, very pure- no other way to describe it.
We arrived at our last hut and prepared for the experience we had planned. Joe and Gareth are also Mankind Project brothers so we took the others through some of the Warrior-Like ceremonies. We paid tribute to the universe and the elements while inviting their power to accompany us for the night. We all went around and shared how we were feeling at that moment, ‘checking in’ with words like Love, Gratitude, Joy, and Bliss. We then opened up our circle to share something we may have been hiding/withholding from friends/family- this was a container of safety and most participated. Though I’ve been a part of many moments like this now, I’m still amazed at how willing people are to share once one person opens up and is vulnerable in front of others. It’s a special feeling to be a part of someone else’s journey, to be trusted, and to then return that trust as well… Next up we sat on the ridge and meditated (I highly recommend the Deepak/Oprah program) for 30 min or so before we put our explorer hats back on and hiked down into the valley where we discovered the most amazing little stream. It was something out of a movie, the golden hour was just setting in so all the colors were vivid and bright- everything, the ferns, the rocks, the water, the sky all seemed to be vibrating with a higher energy. Honestly, I think we were just all really tuned into the present, that moment, everything was connected to us and us to it. It’s hard to describe, but those few hours we spent down there were just simply perfect. The sun was starting to set so we needed to hike back up to get ready for our last meal- but not before we all laid down next to the stream and dipped our head back into the water, ‘baptizing’ ourselves in this moment- man I loved this…
As if things couldn’t get any better, when we got back to the top of the ridge and could once again see the sky and the valley, we were greeted by the most incredible sunset. We were all overcome with the emotion of the afternoon and the moment and all just started cheering and yelling! I’m getting goosebumps just writing about it!
Our last meal was pretty much a ‘cook whatever you have left’ experience. It was fun. We just had this pile of totally mismatched food and snacks sitting on the table. We continued the quality conversations over the meal before one final ceremony to close the night our. We all had our walking staffs that we’d named (mine was ‘courage’) and one by one we returned them to the forest- thanking them and then launching them like javelins down into the valley. And when this was done we just all started howling at the moon like a pack of wolves! It was an epic day, we all tapped into something primal, and shared a moment that I don’t think any of us will ever forget…
Once the hike was complete it was a complete shift to last minute prep/packing for the next trip. Joe and I would be heading to Argentina together- the first part of his own excellent adventure and the last part of mine. I’m super happy that things worked out this way and we’d get to travel together for a bit before I returned home to figure out what was next for me. We spent the last few days training, running errands, packing up, and saying good bye to friends. It was another amazing month in South Africa. Cape Town has more and more of my heart every time I visit, and it’s harder and harder every time I leave. One day I’m sure I’ll live here, no longer a matter of if, just when…
As I sit on the plane to head to South America, I’m filled with so much confidence in myself. A shift similar to the one I experienced after my initial time in Peru and Brian 2.0 showed up. I think he was a bit of a hippie, opening himself up to the world in ways that were much different from life in NY, becoming very introspective, very self exploratory. He learned to let go of things that weren’t serving him anymore, to be proud of who he was and his accomplishments, to love himself for who he was, and to not need the external validation he craved for most of his life. I liked, no, I loved this guy. But…
As I mentioned earlier, Joe set me up with some appointments with his executive coach (another first for me) while I was in Cape Town. We did a lot of work around Core Values as well as discussing what was next in life for me. When I admitted a lifelong fear of leadership, she pretty much kicked my ass (verbally) right then and there. She had me take a good hard look at myself, asking me to recognize all the incredible gifts I’d been given. She said for me to not be consistently using them would be ‘like pissing against a wall, an absolute waste of talent, and something I’d have to explain later on to the folks upstairs as to why they’d given me so much and I’d done so little with it…’ I wanted to hide in a corner. What an awakening. I later recalled a conversation Joe had had with our friend Jess around a similar insecurity. She said, ‘if you could only see in yourself what we all see, what everyone sees…’
And you know something? They’re right. People that do things well get average results. People that do things great, get good results. People that do things exceptional get great results… And people that do things outstanding, they are the ones that change the world.
From this moment forward I refuse to accept anything less than Outstanding from myself, from my relationships, and from the world. In fact I demand it. No more wasting time being ok with a B+ on a test or simply being ‘good enough’ – it’s time to kick some serious ass. I’m excited (and slightly scared!) to see what Brian 3.0 can do, and I offer a sincere thank you for those of you who helped/are helping me realize my full potential… you know who you are.
Much Love and Bliss,
Just a guy on a hero's journey...