I was recently asked to contribute an article to the aptly-named The International Wanderer, a blog/website targeted at anyone who wants to live, work, study, or volunteer abroad. The following is an excerpt from that guest post, which turned out to be an ode to the life of fun and adventure we led while living in South Africa from 2010 to 2013.
Most memories are rose-tinted, so perhaps you’ll forgive me for the veritable gush of love I’ve poured onto the page, but I think most expats who’ve ever lived in South Africa, or anywhere in Africa for that matter, would mostly agree with me.
One thing I loved about living in South Africa was that our lives suddenly seemed to be filled with adventure. In the space of little more than a year we became scuba certified and went on several diving trips, watched our teenage son hurl himself into the void off the world’s highest bungee jumping bridge, swam with great white sharks, rode on elephants, battled a bush fire, went on several safaris, one of them from a balloon, and paddled on the Zambezi river above Victoria Falls (being careful to stay above the falls).
This could be due to the fact that you always try to live more intensely when you’re an expat, knowing that your assignment will end all too soon, and wanting to explore as much as you can while given the chance. But I think South Africa has something special. South Africans love their country, they love spending time outdoors, and they love sharing their joy with others. From the day we set foot there we got swept up in this spirit of exploration and we didn’t slow down the entire time we lived there.
When we arrived in March 2010, in the midst of preparations for Africa’s first ever Soccer World Cup, I was very determined to methodically check off the typical post-move stuff before exploring the new world around us: open bank account, get phone, internet, sign school forms, find doctors, buy a car…
- Image 1: The vast and open landscapes of Southern Africa are what we fell in love with (though in that particular instance we were stopped because of several – yes several – flat tires and would have welcomed a slightly less vast and deserted landscape around us) – Namibia 2012
- Image 2: Also taken in Namibia, I love this picture as it shows the extent of our travels far off of our life’s path up until that point.
- Image 3: Just outside the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg, the lovely mountain range of the Magaliesberg in all its wintery beauty.
Where have your international wanderings taken you? What memories color your lenses?