It’s taken about 10 months of planning – buying Optimus, kitting him out with everything we need to live and sorting out an itinerary, but we are finally living our dream. The dream of cutting down our possessions to the basics, snuggling our three kids into our van and hitting the roads of Southern Africa. We have been living in our van for a couple months now and we are really getting to experience the very best that our country has to offer!
It’s actually a bit crazy when you think about it. Three kids, two adults and only 7,5m2 of van that was built in 1974 and still has it’s original air cooled engine. We also decided at the last minute to bring an extra car, a decision that I still think was the best one that we’ve made so far even though it means we don’t get to experience the fun side of road tripping together.
At this point in our adventure we have…
- Reduced our living space from 140m2 to 7,5m2
- Been on the road for 72 days today
- Driven more than 3500km
- Spent more than 67 hours in a car driving (that’s nearly three straight days of our lives)
- Changed our living space 23 times (that’s a new location every 3 days)
- Visited 30 different cities, towns and villages
- Experienced our van breaking down twice
- Cooked numerous meals on our two plate stove
- Cried over lack of internet, work stress, missing our home life and family more times than I’d care to admit
- Seen snow for the first time at the highest Pub in Africa, spent mornings on untouched sand dunes, seen the highest single drop waterfall in Africa, done hikes to the most beautiful locations in Hogsback, ridden horses to see rock paintings in Lesotho, eaten in the highest restaurant in Africa, seen elephants and lions walking right next to our car, hiked 6 hours to the Hole In The Wall and SO, so much more.
And we still have 10 months to go! I can’t even imagine what we have left to see, but I know South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana won’t disappoint us with things to experience.
We get really mixed reactions when we tell people what we’re doing.
On the one hand you get what must be the fellow travellers at heart. You can tell they are because they are freaking stoked for you. Like sometimes even overwhelmingly so. Their eyes light up, you share stories of places you want to go or have been, swop tips for certain areas and just generally have an intensely awesome conversation about South Africa and how amazing it is. The good vibes are positively palpable.
Then on the other hand you get people that immediately just flick to caution. But what about the crime?! Is it safe?! Are you crazy?! How can you live without XYZ?! You have no space! What if you break down?! You have no space for proper clothes – eek! And the kids? You’ll ruin them taking them out of school. Then they scream and run around with their hands in their hair trying to process what it is we’re doing. And look, I get it. I am naturally a person that just says no. Just ask my kids. I don’t like going out of my comfort zone. Heck before this trip I didn’t even like going outside for too long.
The best things happen when you leave your comfort zone behind
But if I have learned anything in the last few months it’s that the best things happen when you are outside of your comfort zone. Yes, it my be draining or difficult, or you might even hate it in the beginning but the results are usually SO very very worth it. I’m not saying it’s not difficult or that there aren’t things that I miss, obvs there are, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t miss my creature comforts. The thing is, they’re just that. Things that we have gotten used to having. Not having them now for two months and I’m pretty much over all of them, except maybe the crappy internet and missing my dogs. Oh and public toilets and showers – ugh.
Also I have so much to say on the crime aspect of it all. Maybe we have been lucky but we have not had any incidents. Nothing. I haven’t felt scared anywhere, even breaking down on the side of the road into Coffee Bay as the sun was setting and we were left in the pitch black dark of the rural Eastern Cape. South Africa gets a bad wrap because all we see in the media is the negative, but guys, there is SO much positive. And no one talks about that. We should. Because it’s part of what makes our country great.
Anyway, we have so much more of South Africa to see, so if you’d like to keep up with our adventure, please do follow along with us on our various platforms. You can expect lots of real life, a bit of humour and a lot of what makes Southern Africa great.
Follow along with us on:
- @cindyalfino – Here you will find a daily wrap up of exactly what we got up to on that day, where we were, what we did, the pro’s and con’s of life on the road. Oh, and stories, lots of stories.
- @moderndaddiy – Seth, my funnier half, often posts stories that are worth watching.
- @alfreenos – For those more “Instagram” worthy images that are less about real life on the road and more about pretty pictures of things that we have seen.
- If you don’t have Instagram then this is the place to catch up with the daily posts and even watch the stories. As well as see latest blog posts as they come out
- Seth works really hard on putting out awesome vlog style videos on the places that we have been, things we have done and life on the road. It’s really worth checking them out if that’s your vibe.
- You can also subscribe to the newsletter which only goes out once in a blue moon when I get a chance to write it. It’s not just one of those spammy ones that only contains links of blog posts, I always include something personal about what’s happening right now that would probably not appear anywhere else.