One of my favourite things about travelling is that most places you go, someone you know will have a friend who lives there has a friend or relative that lives or is visiting nearby. When I’m at home in England I’d never think twice about popping in to see my neighbours old school teacher because they happened to be near where I was going, but once you go abroad it’s totally normal and a nice way of feeling like you’re not completely alone in a foreign place.
My first ‘overseas family’ live in Otjikondo in Namibia. The Stommels take the place of caring parents (sometimes telling me off when it’s necessary) the teachers and hostel staff act as the greatest aunties and uncles you could ask for and the school children are like my brothers, sisters, cousins and best mates. Always there to make you laugh and they give great hugs when you’re missing home.
I see the penthouse guys as my next family in Africa and the most fun to be found in South Africa. I stayed in Penthouse Backpackers with my travel buddy Fran in 2012 for 4 weeks and again with my mum and Fran in 2013. I met my boyfriend there and still go to catch up with friends and meet new people at the rooftop bar (Cape Towns best kept secret for sure).
This week I hired a car to go on some adventures (I got bored of buses…) and went to see Anna (a friend from my sixth form) and her friend Emily from Essex. I braved it and picked them up from Table View and drove to Century City, Africa’s biggest shopping centre and made it there and back alive!
I’ve used the car to travel to Parklands to see my mum’s friends cousins who were so lovely and welcoming and made me a delicious curry. They complained that I was too fussy with food, something i’m definitely working on while away!
Gilly Stommel’s daughter (also named Gilly) lives nearby so I’ve recently gone to visit her, her husband Arnold and her son Oliver in Plattekloof. I had so much fun playing with Oliver and checking out their beautiful house.
Being away from home doesn’t mean leaving all friends and family, it just means stretching further afield than you usually would and going to the effort of meeting up with friends of friends 🙂