I didn’t realize how close we were to Johannesburg until I felt the wheels hit the ground on the runway. As soon as the plane jolted with that tell-tale sign, I opened the window with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. The scene looked just like every other airport landing strip, but it was so much more than that. After months of preparation, I had finally arrived.
My friends and I began planning our trip to Africa when the gracious James Haigh of Singita Pamushana approached us shortly after Travel Mart. It was the end of August and I’d been dating someone who wanted an unhealthy amount of control over my life. When I mentioned the possibility of my going to Africa, a trip that would be a dream come true for me, he grew defensive. Pulling out every excuse in the book, he tried to keep me from even contemplating going. But you would miss a big event in my life; but it’s a bad decision for you – you’ll come back a different person; but it wouldn’t be good for us. But I can’t control you from another continent – that was the underlying plea.
It was him or Africa. I think you can guess the decision I made.
Welcome to Africa.
For me, this trip doesn’t just mark another pushpin placed on my world map. It symbolizes a sense of freedom, the fulfillment for a long-sought after item on the tip-top of my bucket list. The price of independence was a small price to pay here. If anyone ever tries to hold you back, don’t you dare let them. Cut ties and run in the opposite direction…all the way across the globe.
There’s something incredibly liberating about traveling completely alone and the flight over here was fantastically uneventful. 15 hours flew by like 5 minutes – I even got to sleep in this morning (granted, it was a restless sleep, but it helped pass the time, nonetheless). The Delta gods were generous, too – no one sat in the middle seat! So I stretched out and enjoyed my selection of movies (Like Crazy), books (Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters), and music (Ingrid Michaelson’s Human Again).
The slowest part of the trip was the 2 1/2 hour layover in JNB, followed by another 2 hour flight to Cape Town. By the time my driver picked me up from the airport to head to the One&Only, I just wanted to crawl into a bed, it didn’t even have to be at a 5 star resort…but thank God it was. This place is fantastic – I’m positive than when my driver saw me, he wondered how a 22-year old vagabond could afford the O&O. He actually looked at me with hesitation and said, “So you’ll be staying at the One&Only?”. Once I arrived, I was greeted by my fellow travelers: Ansley, Cassie, Jamo, and Beth, who all had been waiting for me. Just from tonight, I can go ahead and say with confidence that it’s going to be a GREAT trip. Here are some photos of my room and I’ll update more on the One&Only Capetown (and more!) in my next post.