Going Solo

Living in South Africa, and especially Joburg, as a female I don’t go to many places alone.  I don’t go out at night alone and we don’t really walk anywhere, let alone, alone.  So what a thrill to hop on the gautrain yesterday and then a plane and drive into the city of Cape Town, just me, my gps and a little, plastic hire car.  Listen to a radio station that I don’t recognise and breathe in the unfamiliar, salty air.

I took a stroll this morning down Long Street and stopped at a great new cafe called Yourstruly.  I sat alone at a table eating a deelicious croissant and drinking a deelicious latte without looking at my phone or yelling out ‘I’m not a loser, I’m just alone’, even once.  I listened in on the conversations of a group of chef students at the table next to me, talking about last weekend’s parties, how much they hated icing lessons and what kind of gerkins were in the sandwiches they were eating.

When I was 18, I lived in Paris for a few months and quickly got used to the feeling of seeing amazing things alone.  I stood infront of the Mona Lisa, marvelling at this little (it really is smaller than you think) piece of history, smiling deceptively back at me and everyone else in the room and wished I had someone to say, ‘hey, we’re here, and so is the Mona Lisa’.  But there is also a weird thrill in experiencing new adventures alone.  A feeling that always makes me want to cry and laugh at same time, but ironically never actually do either because when you are alone, the experience is your companion and you don’t want to scare if off.

I’m fetching Mr Ameezing from the airport tonight, and whilst I can’t wait to spend a few days with my beloved in the city of no litter and no parking, I really enjoy the strange yet ameezing adrenalin rush that being alone in an unfamiliar place brings.

[I took this photo this morning whist driving around getting lost on purpose.  It was, well, ameezing.]

You might also like:

Of Buddhist monks and nose picking grannies

I’m a fan of the moments inbetween.  The breath in before the bride walks down the aisle, the darkness where someone giggles just before the birthday person hears ‘Suprise!’, the last five minutes of a work day before you see your beloved again, the granny, picking her nose looking at the painting hanging beside the Mona Lisa. Those feel like the moments where magic sometimes happens. Inbetween the ones we plan and photograph. Backstage of Life, the musical. And backstage, as any theatre person will tell you, is where all the good stuff happens.

Yesterday, whilst turning my tiny house upsidedown looking for a photo of the Rosebank Bag lady for a post (more on her as soon as it surfaces) , I found the journal that I kept in Thailand over the Christmas holidays.  Diary writing (sort of like the Fight Club of scrapbooking) has always been a little secret of mine. Its hard to look well travelled and edgy whilst collecting every ticket stub and sweet paper just because its in a foreign language. But paging through it again I realised how much I like travelling. Exotic destinations are first prize, but I’ll take Midmar Dam if it means packing a bag, hopping onto a mode of transport and having a different screensaver a few days later.

Paragraph 1 is about to link to paragraph 2, I promise. The act of travelling, going somewhere else from where you are right now, taking in the getting there, is kind of like tap dancing in the inbetween. Whilst taking polaroids and eating freshly baked cupcakes. Magic! It’s glancing to your right and seeing that granny, finger up her nose, smiling at the way more impressive painting next to Mona and wanting to hear the tour guide tell her life story instead.

Come and tap dance with me in the inbetween. I don’t know the steps very well, but the shoes make a fantastic clicking sound and it sure is fun trying.

You might also like: