It’s been a few weeks folks, happy belated new year! I caught a cold while writing so it took me a bit longer to finish. So without further adieu, here’s my last post:
10 Lessons Learned in Cape Town (in no particular order)
- Learn to laugh off traveling challenges so many times while traveling I found myself exhausted, confused, and downright irritable. Like when I was in the Amsterdam train station wanting to yell at the ticket machine for repeatedly denying my card and making it impossible to go anywhere. In a last ditch effort I tried to use apple pay and to my great surprise, it worked! Now more than ever I know that traveling can be challenging, but all you can do is find the humor and enjoy the process.
- Silence is helpful – and often needed In a culture of productivity and go, go, go, I often neglected to take a day and read a book or slow down. One of the beautiful parts of this trip was the time I took to sit on my couch, let go of my fear of missing out, put my phone down and just read. I made some of my biggest personal discoveries during the times I stayed in, or took a half hour to journal my thoughts while waiting for a plane or a train. Moving forward, I’m working on being intentional with creating more space for quiet in my life here.
- Be willing to be wrong Living in Cape Town taught me there are other ways to do life and nothing is gained by assuming my way is the best way just because its mine. I’ve come back with different perspectives on work, health, and myself and I know there’s a lot more to learn if I just keep an open mind
- Small amounts of money add up quickly This I heard so many times and still found myself shocked at how quickly $2 here and $4 there adds up. Happy to say I feel like I’ve found the balance between trying new things and not spending too much. I know now that I’d way rather spend on food and fun than clothes or Ubers.
- friends are everywhere, if you look. I’ve always considered myself outgoing but being abroad for so long really showed me the value of putting down my phone and seeking connection. In Amsterdam I got a bit lost with a Canadian ex-pat who ended up going the same way I was. That same week, I was alone going to the Eiffel Tower and ended up making two great friends in line. They took my pictures at the top and we still chat on Instagram! In Cape Town, a barista ended up being one of my favorite people; we had the best waffles of my life together.
- Don’t be afraid to adventure alone I knew going in I’d be spending a bunch of time on my own and wasn’t worried but this trip gave me an ability to be content finding my own adventures and enjoying what I wanted to. I spent a lot of time with my fellow interns and it was awesome; at the same time, I am happy I had the chance to be on my own for a good bit as well.
- Ask for what you want-the worst that can happen is someone says no This lesson popped up everywhere for me on my trip; from the girls who shared their portable charger at a restaurant when my phone was at 8% and I needed to order an Uber, to the UPS guy who searched through the closed warehouse for an ID card I needed to get back to the US. Always ask!
- You never know what’ll happen if you step outside your comfort zone Something I never thought I’d fall in love with: hot yoga. I was never a big fan of sweating but on a whim decided to just buy the intro to a new studio and wow, was I a fan. I always say that trying things out is important; my time in Cape Town made me all the more sure of it.
- Relationships need conscious effort and open communication Obviously I knew this logically, but I saw it in more clearly than ever because of this trip. Simply put, this trip forced me to be aware of the relationships I was trying in and those that I honestly wasn’t. I came back from Cape Town to a tear-filled conversation with my best friend who I had stopped talking to about halfway through. It was tough but in the end reminded me people don’t stay in your life just because.
- Less is more I came back from Cape Town, took one look at my closet, and instantly started taking things out. I don’t think I really understood how much excess was in my life until now. Not only did I reorganize my closet and get rid of somewhere around 10-15 bags of donations and trash, but I have grown more aware of other things. I’m currently analyzing if I’m spending on useful things or just being lazy to grocery shop.
In the end, this trip was, as they all say, life-changing. I’m so grateful to have gone on this experience and look forward to using these lessons both in my life in the States and in all my future travels.
Thanks for following along on the journey, don’t forget to add a visit to Cape Town to your life!