Stop what you’re doing and go traveling …
I have been on the road for nearly three months, seen more than I could have imagined and met some downright swell people and started to wonder why everyone isn’t doing it.
I have complied some random thoughts that might help you think about your travels a little differently.
As much as the interwebs is a great resource for discovering destinations and making decisions I have definitely had my best moments when I have ignored advice and reviews from websites and gone with local knowledge with regards to places to stay, bars to drink in and food to eat. Use the internet but trust the locals. They know best.
The fact I have to mention this pisses me off massively, if you carry anything into the bush, on a hike or get something to eat on the road – take it out with you or put it in a bin or I will punch you in the face.
This is a no brainer. If you are visiting South Africa rent a vehicle and self drive, you don’t need a 4×4, just a sommer cheap ass rental will do fine. Other transport is reliant on schedules and select destinations. You’re missing out! Find other travelers and share the cost. Freedom is everything. Especially when it comes to travel.
Destinations vs the Journey
Cliched, sure. But some of my best discoveries on this trip have been the journey and the unexpected stops. (See Self Drive) South Africans aren’t much better, speeding to our destination. Get off the national roads. Drive the never ending supply of spectacular mountain passes and dirt roads and change the way you think about getting there. The journey really is what its about. Besides going to the same places every year is well shit. South Africa has it all. See more of it. It’s not rocket science.
For too long I was happy to paddle in my pond and shoot what was around me, but if you get into the big wide world – you will be rewarded. Stop thinking in your local hood and start thinking bigger. It’s rewarding, satisfying and most of all a great excuse to travel, if you actually need one. What I am getting at is you have to be out there to shoot it. And don’t worry about perfect light. Shoot. You’re documenting your journey not a coffee table book.
Recycling and fair trade.
South Africa could learn a lot from the tourism industry and they way many of the places I stayed at operate. For one being waste wise isn’t really optional and when the systems in place it’s not a pain in the ass. Why aren’t we as a society further along with this? Ditto for water usage. Why do visitors in South Africa seems so aware of the issues facing us as a country? Because everywhere you look there is a sign reminding you about it. The same goes for fair trade and ownership – perhaps if employee’s had vested interests as many communities and staff do in a lot of the backpackers – we could be a lot further along in building a better South Africa.
Local vs Global
So a good part of this trip is actually about seeing South Africa, something I haven’t done. I am willing to bet there a lot of you out there who haven’t either. I have barely touched on the Western and Eastern Cape and I still can’t get anywhere near the amount of places people tell me I must visit. Seriously screw paying a fortune to sit for 12 hours in cattle class and go local. It’s, if you’ll pardon the parlance, farking beautiful and within a hundred kilometer’s in just about any direction its a completely different beast.
This ones for the folks in tourism, get serious about delivering to a mobile platform. 90% of travelers have a phone that is internet capable and very little screen real estate, 90% of your websites don’t display, are slow and is probably the difference between a booking and an empty bed. Catch up with the curve.
Living the dream
Everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting, except that one Canadian, has agreed that I am in the middle of living the dream, its hard to argue. But the question I ask myself is why aren’t more people doing it? Modern living has done wonders at giving us excuses to do everything but what we want to. Change your mindset. Stop worrying about the future, you can’t do anything about it. You will be amazed at how priorities change. I’ll stop preaching now.
See you on the road.