I’ll be the first person to admit that I am not the world’s most adventurous traveller.
I am more a urban creature, city dweller.
My comfort zone is the coffee shop. With great free wifi of course and good coffee too.
I love my street food. I’ll spend hours on a mission to find the perfect meal on a budget. I am culturally curious. I like random conversations with locals. I’ll happily spend a day at the museum on a sunny day or be stuck in the cinema and bookshop.
I am also a cautious traveller. I’ll check the bus, train and plane timetable 30 times before a trip. I’ll check the weather forecast religiously every day. I do my research meticulously before visiting countries. I don’t like too many surprises
This is all might be a surprise to you. As someone who travels for a living, you would expect that things often get hairy and crazy sometimes.
The first question that I often get asked by people when they discover that I am travel blogger
‘What is the craziest and most exciting thing you have ever done?’
they ask me in a slightly breathless voice, wide eyed in anticipation waiting for the most exciting revelation of their lives.
What follows is a bit of an anticlimax.
I tell them that I haven’t done anything remotely crazy on my travels.
Well I have been robbed in Barcelona . I did skydive when I was in Costa Brava. Which was epic. However that’s as crazy as my travelling gets.
I grew up for many years in Calcutta and India and saw some crazy stuff. However having lived there, I guess it doesn’t count.
Maybe, I am being too hard on myself.
I quit a well paid job in Edinburgh, leaving all my friends behind, giving away all my stuff on classified site for free ( everything, all my worldly possessions including my 100+ collection of Lonely Planet guidebooks got picked up in a matter of 15 minutes ) and then packing my life into a backpack and travelling the world for almost 2 years- that’s got to be pretty crazy right?
Well. My perception of travel craziness is about to challenged as tomorrow I leave for South Africa.
Close my eyes. What are first few things that come to my mind when I think South Africa?
I think of beautiful postcard scenery. Table Mountain, Cape Town.
Being an avid cricket lover,my first glimpse of South Africa was on the TV. India Vs South Africa. The spectacular panorama of Table Mountain looming behind Newlands cricket ground stays in my memory for a long time.
Close my eyes again.
I think of adventure. Wildlife. Safari. Kruger National Park.
I think of good wine.
I think of Gandhi of course. Nelson Mandela and also Desmond Tutu.
My vision ends with the strange but entertaining faces of the duo behind the best selling rap-rave duo Die Antwoord. Suddenly their hit tune ‘ I fink u freeky’ starts playing on repeat in my head.
Open my eyes again.
I start looking at the itinerary that my amazing hosts, the South African Tourism Board have prepared for me.
There will be good food. Opportunity to meet the locals. Culture. Good coffee I am sure.
However looking at my itinerary I can already tell you that this trip is going to definitely challenge my boundaries of comfort.
I think I am going to see a very different side to South Africa. A different side to me.
What is going to happen over these next few days?
To give you a idea I’ll be winding through the Kalahari desert on a canoe.
I’ll also be passing through a town which is a emergency landing strip for space shuttles.
You know what…visiting South Africa.
This just might be my craziest trip yet.
Please also follow the hashtag #meetsouthafrica to follow the stories and adventures of the other 13 intrepid bloggers.
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