What’s at the top of your travel bucketlist?

So I have this problem where I start pretty much every blog post with the word “so”…but my other ridiculously over-the-top-and-yes-I’m-aware-that-this-is-not-a-real-problem problem is this: I ticked off the #1 thing at the top of my bucketlist last year and now I’m feeling a bit now what about it.

To be honest I didn’t even realise that this sort-of malaise had settled over me because of it. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the experience or haven’t put in enough time appreciating it. Of course I have!  You don’t forget hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in a hurry, and just the memory is enough to bring about a smile. But for so many years the one thing that I’ve wanted to do above all other things is climb into a hot air balloon. Funny enough it occurs to me that there is a kind of bittersweetness in achieving what I consider to have been a bit of a lifelong goal.

Now here I am staring down the wide-open possibilities of 2018 and I have no idea what to pick as a top contender. Because there was really just that one thing  at the top of my bucketlist followed by an ever-growing mess of other things that all sort of jumble together and have no specific ranking.

So (so!) tell me please: What is at the top of your bucketlist? Because I need some ideas.

Everybody Gets a Strawberry

So last weekend I found myself lucky enough to have an entire day in which there were no kids present and I immediately insisted that my husband take me to Mooihoek Strawberry Farm to pick strawberries. Partly because I really wanted to pick strawberries, but mostly because we were in serious need of getting out of the house and away from real life – just the two of us – and this was a kind of cheap and quick way to do it.

Of course, like mine was, all of your timelines for the last month have been filled with strawberry pickers, so you know what I’m talking about. But I wonder if any of you have marvelled at the success of this exercise the way I have. I actually haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and quite frankly, being impressed by it all. It was such a great reminder of the power of social media and how so much can be achieved just by offering people an experience. I absolutely LOVED that “picking strawberries” was something both locals and guests of Port Elizabeth could add to their holiday itinerary this year. And I mostly loved that it was such a cost effective and “different” option. Is it weird to be so pleased at the success of someone else? Hmmm….

I think today is the last day that you can get yourself a strawberry or two from Mooihoek, so I have done a terrible job of being an influencer in this regard haha (unless any of you were re-tempted to get your strawberry on by my Instagram Timeline) but I do truly hope that the successes experienced by Mooihoek Strawberry Farm might inspire a few more similar experiences to start popping up around/near The Bay.

And why do I say this? Because what Mooihoek had to offer was doable. It didn’t cost the earth to take your kids out to the farm for an hour or two (petrol and R30 per punnet of self-picked strawberries). And you learn a thing or two while harvesting your own food. Things like “my goodness I really should be more grateful to all the people who are involved in putting food on my table because even though this is kind of fun for an hour it is actually seriously hard work and this hard work is what keeps our nation fed” which is a super important thing to acknowledge. I did also learn that factor 30 is no match for the sun beating down on Hankey… I really should practice being out in the sun more.

Granted I probably should have taken my kids with us like all the other “good” parents we encountered during our visit. You know so they could learn some of these things and pick their own strawberries so that I didn’t have to share… Hopefully this will happen again next year and we will somehow manage to go as a group (my older kids have a job now so they’re never home though!)

I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to have a point in mind when I start writing these posts. I guess the point is this: Sometimes simple is really awesome. And observing the success of something so simple was kind of cool. Inspiring. So much of the awesomeness that our little part of the world provides gives me the warm and fuzzies. This was one of those things.

Did you enjoy your Mooihoek Strawberry farm experience?

2018: A Year of Here

So even though I’ve just spent the last six hours (don’t judge!) trying to figure out if we can go to Thailand for my husband’s birthday, our travel plans for this year really just include a whole bunch of exploring around home. Luckily we live in Nelson Mandela Bay and there is plenty of exploring to be done right here which means I’m not too worried about being a dissatisfied adventurer. But you know how it is: sometimes those planes call us so hard!

Alas, no! No planes! In 2018 Nadine needs to stay in just this one country. Unless, you know, she doesn’t…

To be honest though guys: somewhere along the line the mom and the dad need to get away a bit. Raising kids works out better when you take a break. (as an aside: does anyone want my kids?)

Of course a good old fashioned roadtrip or two will be thrown in for the fun (and necessity) of it. Depending on the budget which is currently at zero but will hopefully climb up as the year goes along. I should sell some things. (aside: does anyone want my things?)

For now we’ll just throw around a couple of ideas perhaps and do a far better job than we usually do of observing our own surroundings. I’m the biggest culprit of observing a Home is Where We Hibernate lifestyle…so I fully admit that the challenge will be me.

Am I capable of change? Probably no, but I’m going to try.

Taking a Break from the Written Word

My dearest followers (all seven of you) I hope this message finds you well on your way to celebrating the most fantastic of summer seasons (or winter if you’re on the other side of the world). I just wanted to pop in here to let you know that I have not, in fact, faded into the sunset, so much as I am taking a break from this little corner of the internet for a tiny while.

My head is buzzing with all sorts of projects that I have planned for the New Year. I have a notebook that is quickly filling with way too many ideas and my excitement for these projects continues to grow.

A few issues with my health over the last six months or so have made me force a little more ease into my life. And so, for the month of December I have decided that without even the smallest bit of pressure to write about each and every experience and without the guilt that sometimes accompanies rest, I am taking a real blog break.

Of course, December is the time of year when a lot of exploring happens. But I’m just going to enjoy the few bits I have set up, occasionally sharing them on my Instagram of course (Why do I find Instagram so soothing? Is that weird?) and maybe doing a bit of micro-blogging over on Facebook.

As for here: I’ll see you all in again in January…with travel plans and over-shares and hopefully a 2018 filled with adventure!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

Some more thoughts on selling panties…

Ok so I told you about how some girls confessed to selling panties as a way to make money for travels the other day, right? And I can’t stop thinking about it because obviously who would even stop thinking about something so fascinating? This trope that we see on the telly from time to time is totally real. Who knew? (ok I did sort of know)

Of course I can’t remember where all I have seen this particular storyline….perhaps you can let me know in the comments?

Definitely once on Younger that chick who doesn’t look young tried to sell her panties and it all went wrong. That’s the whole point of the trope, right? To tell you how wrong it is to sell your previously worn and not yet laundered underwear to strangers…. Because karma, obvi. (this subject has turned me into someone who uses the word “obvi”)

So of course my thinking goes to what is the worst that could happen? 

I obviously have to make a list of questions that I need to ask myself seriously before setting off on this potential business venture…

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1.) Is there a chance that I could be plagued with visions of men sitting in corners while they deeply sniff my underwear? And because I have a so-far-undiagnosed-but-still-very-real anxiety disorder is it likely that I will have actual nightmares about this?

2.) What if someone sends them back and demands a refund? Will this harm my self-esteem?

3.) What if someone local orders all of them to be shipped to a PO Box and the curiousity sends me into a tailspin? Do I have the stamina to sit outside of a post office until they are collected? Will such knowledge ruin my life? I am still not over getting an anonymous Valentine’s card that one time when I was in high school.

4.) Would it be wrong to put clean underwear on the dog and then sell those?

5.) Where would the tail go though?

6.) Can you be arrested for selling  dirty underwear that you pretended was yours but was actually the dog’s?

7.) What would the charge be?

8.) How does bail work?

9.) Can you use money earned from selling dirty panties to pay for your bail to get you out of jail for selling dirty panties?

And lastly but very most importantly….

10.) Is is possible to clone actual human beings from underwear DNA and are we sure that all these men who so readily buy used panties are not somehow involved in a dodgy cloning scam? And if they don’t know that it is dog DNA in the underwear  sold to them by me is it possible that I might be contributing to a dog/human hybrid army that will eventually cause world peace because let’s face it dogs are so much nicer than people….

Actually in that case maybe I should sell my underwear.

Now I just need to find the dog…

PS: I sort of feel like maybe I need to clarify that I’m kidding about exploiting the dog before I get into trouble. It’s Friday. I don’t feel like trouble.

 

Should I sell my used underwear?

I’ve noticed that as I age I become far and far less of the sort-of-a-prude I used to be when I was a kid. There are things I have massively relaxed into as the years have gone by and I admit it feels kind of good. Things like recreational marijuana use, the odd unit of alcohol (gosh that sounds funny but it’s better than listing all the different alcohols) and even causal sex don’t terrify me in the way they once did.

None of that was really the point….

ANYWAY…. I’m in way too many different groups on Facebook, but one of them is a group for girls who love traveling. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be in there because there is a definite single-girl-alone-in-the-world vibe – which I love of course but it doesn’t apply to me.

Because of one of these girl groups, the other day I discovered something super interesting. It turns out that it is not that uncommon for girls to sell their used underwear as a way to make extra cash for their travels.

Now of course we’ve all seen the episodes of whatever (Girls, Younger) on TV where this sort of things goes disastrously pear-shaped… But…

I cannot help wondering if this is a viable thing to do! Ok sure… it’s creepy as hell. But if there are men out there willing to pay for their bizarre fetishes, like purchasing women’s used underwear, I really don’t see why women shouldn’t take advantage of that. It surely is just a case of two consenting adults, right? And if you can get past the creep factor and not allow too many weird thoughts into your head post postage… Well then it’s a little bit like free money, right?

And so my question remains….

Should I sell my used underwear?

Or should I just write a weird blog post about how I’m considering it so that the next time you see me you won’t be able to think about anything other than the fact that maybe my panties are for sale…

Kragga Kamma and Addo Elephant Park: The Perfect Share the Bay Combo

So I asked you all last week about how you go about sharing the bay with your guests and Sarah from Chasing the Rainbow had some awesome suggestions but at the writing of this post the rest of you failed me miserably with your silence. *raises questioning eyebrow*

I discovered, however, that when it comes to international guests especially (and shame probably those poor Cape Townian plebes who only have mountains to look at but no elephants) that right here in the bay we have the absolute perfect combination of exquisite pleasure for your eyes.

Of course I did technically already know this… But I didn’t know that I knew it. You know?

You see…. This is what happens. Addo is incredible. There is only a tiny chance of you going to Addo and not finding any elephants. On the odd occasions, I have heard, that the giants disappear and no one can find them (so mysterious!) but for the most part there is a high likelihood of you spotting the beasts and being completely awed by them. So of course, this is a brilliant place to take guests. Especially when they are British and all the animals they know are livestock and squirrels.

While at Addo your guests might well even see lions and all sorts of other treasures like dungbeetles and spring hares. How awesome, right?

Addo, however, has no giraffe. There are no tall trees in Addo for giraffe to feed off of.  And what is a trip to Africa if you don’t see a giraffe? An abomination! And this is why, Bayers, after you have taken your guests to Addo you MUST take them to Kragga Kamma Game Park. Because Kragga Kamma has giraffe. And they have cheetahs. And buffalo and those glorious beautiful fat unicorns (who have babies!) that we all love so damn much.

Together, Addo and Kragga Kamma make up the perfect gaming experience for anyone who has a little time to spend in our bay. So if you don’t know where to start, start there.

And after that? Well of course there is still so much more…

How do you #sharethebay with your guests?

So I’m a huge fan of the #sharethebay initiative that Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism has been running in our bay for the last couple of years and of course you know that I’m a huge fan of travel (this is a travel blog, after all, even if it didn’t start out that way!) but I have to admit a dirty little secret:

I don’t know what to do with guests when they visit…

My cousin and her husband and brand new bouncy boy are arriving a little later today and once again (actually for the third time in the last month) I find myself wondering what to do with guests when they visit. These particular cousins are from the UK so honestly all I really need to do is show them what colour the sky is when there are no clouds, but I’d like to do more.

I feel like I should have like a go-to #sharethebay routine that I use for first-time visitors to the city. Is that dumb? I mean… I know there are plenty of lovely places and I’ll show them a few of those places in the short time that they will be here, but a big part of me kind of wants to sit down sometime and do a kind of set itinerary. Like have a list of things to do if you have half a day, or a day, or three days. That sort of thing.

So what I want to know is what do you do when out-of-towners visit you? How do you go about your #sharethebay when your time is limited? What are your must-sees and can’t-misses? And don’t tell me there’s so much to do – because of course there is! (actually that might be part of the problem)

Tell me. Specifically.

What do you do?

Eastern Cape Tourism for the People

A week ago I was sitting in a presentation given by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism at The Atheneum and feeling kind of friggen excited. You see, there was a lady there called Nopasika Mxunyelwa and she mostly spoke of how their goals were driven towards making tourism more accessible to locals. Of course, she is now one of my favourite people even though she has never met me. Probably I should make an effort to be less of a creeper…

But you see, this particular topic means something to me. In fact it is probably my favourite topic when it comes to tourism. In fact I was having a serious debate about this topic with my non-responsive husband when the man asked me to marry him. I’m still grumpy that he refused to contribute to my ramblings that night!

Like you probably do to, I continuously myself what we can do in terms of weekend getaways that doesn’t require 6 months worth of savings or selling a lung on the black market. Why on earth did I have to fall in love with travel and adventure? It costs so much! Could I not rather have fallen in love with something like taking long walks in the neighborhood and petting strange dogs? You know…something cheap!

So yes, I was happy to hear talk of boosting Eastern Cape Tourism with specific focus on affordability and I see now after popping on to the Visit Eastern Cape website that they spoke of that it’s not just all talk there are some seriously good deals on there.

Tourism really is for everyone, and it pains me that it is so far out of the leagues of many. Perhaps that is something that will slowly start to change.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in our lifetime we start to see a thriving experience-based economy with the power to uplift poorer communities and entice even more visitors to our beautiful province?

What is tourism?

I’ve just gotten back home from a Women in Tourism breakfast at one of my favourite venues in PE (The Plantation) and we all had a great time chatting with each other and learning a few things from our speakers. It is quite exciting to know that tourism is taken so seriously on a national level in this country. It is such an important commodity in any thriving society, I think.

Of course, hanging out with the tourism folk in our little part of the woods wasn’t only mushy-inspiring, but it got me  properly thinking about tourism in general.

You see, while I do see myself as part of the tourism industry as a global whole, I see myself in this way only very casually. Sure. I provide a service. I sometimes provide that service for a fee, sometimes I trade it for experiences, and on occasion I do it for love and coffee, sometimes I do it purely for myself. In the foreground I write and tweet and Facebook and Instagram about my love of travel, and in the background I play travel advisor to friends and sometimes even strangers. (more…)

Tropical Eden Villas: the perfect place for a winter getaway

It’s Monday again and I’m still contemplating selling my belongings  and moving to a small town between the mountains. Anyone want to buy a thousand books and a really fat cat? Our recent trip to Patensie reminded me that small places don’t have to mean deathly winters, and it was actually quite a pleasant awakening.

When Jonker – Firefly the Travel Guy – fixed me up with Reneé from Tropical Eden Villas, I mentally prepared myself for a cold weekend. Now, a cold weekend I don’t mind – it’s a cold life that worries me a little! Unlike my husband, I am not someone who delights in cold weather, unless I can be tucked away inside, blissfully warm, while the cold rages on at my window, like a noisy reminder of how warm I am.

We got lucky in Patensie with the weather though, it was delightfully warm the entire time we were there. But it didn’t take me long to figure out that even if it was cold, we would have been just fine. The family suite at Tropical Eden Villas is so well kitted out that an indoor braai would help keep us all warm on even the coldest of nights, as well as make for an awesome social setting in even the foulest weather. Yes, we South Africans will braai in the rain if we have to, but it’s really nice to not have to get wet while doing it! Being at Tropical Eden Villas was just so easy. Absolutely everything we could even think of needing was available to us. I could quite happily have just stayed in my sunny bedroom and hibernated for three days!

 

The best part is that we had enough space to do our own thing while still being in each other’s company. And the even better best part was being able to happily let my kids go off for a walk (for as long as they wanted to) without feeling even a small twinge of worry about their wellbeing. Small places…I guess they make you comfortable….

I’d like to extend probably the 100th thank you to Reneé and Jonker for making this weekend possible for us.

The only problem is that I kind of want to move to Patensie now. So…uh…thanks for that…

Take Your Kids to the Countryside

As I said the other day, thanks to Firefly the Travel Guy and his friend Reneé, I’m still dreaming of the relaxing few days we spent at Tropical Eden Villas, nestled between the mountains and orange trees of the Bavianskloof. Now all I want to do is move to the countryside and raise goats and chickens. And turkeys. Because turkeys are magnificent. (Seriously: who needs someone to come and look after their farm? I’m there!)

The five of us spent a three day weekend exploring the roads between home and Patensie, eating way too many ice-creams and far too much braai food. We read books. We played games. We took a thousand photographs. And we had long conversations about really important things. (more…)