Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Gasp of Fresh Air.

Since arriving in Cape Town in February, Bordeaux and I had only left the cape once: on a short weekend trip to Waenhuiskrans. Other than that, we had slept at home, in our bed, for every night since February. A period of almost five months. Nearly half a year. A strange record for two people so used to constant travel. Just before leaving Thailand, Bordeaux and I had worked out the staggering number of beds we’d slept in since moving to Asia; with our arrival in South Africa, that number dropped to one. So when we left town again on a short trip, it felt like finally taking a gasp of fresh air.

It was a short trip, not long enough, but the taste of life on the road again felt great. Within a period from Sunday to Thursday, we were able to take in a wide variety of environments and settings. We started out by watching elephants among the scrub landscape of Addo National Park…

…stopped briefly to admire the canyon at Storm’s River…

…and continued on to crashing waves and stormy coastal cliffs at Tsitsikamma…

…before spending a night on the placid lagoon in Knysna.

Then we headed up to the Karoo, where we first dined on ostrich burgers and duck liver pate in Outdshoorn…

…then spent a night at a thatched roof inn in the chilly Victorian mountain town of Prince Albert.

Yet even as I report on the fantastic scenery, outstanding meals, and amazing places we visited, I’m aware that the real pleasure of travelling again had very little to do with any of that. In some ways, it was the most mundane aspects of the trip-- sleeping in new beds, taking breakfast in a hotel lobby, waking up to a view of a different ceiling—that felt particularly refreshing and comforting. Like I could feel the sense of escape strongest at its root, at the most basic elements. Which makes me wonder what it is about travel that I miss so much. Can movement in itself be a requirement for peace of mind?

3 comments:

jen laceda said...

For some people, movement itself = peace of mind. Glad to know you have a wonderful break :)

Postcards and Coasters said...

That is a great question! It's making me think. Love your pictures!

Robyn said...

Absolutely. I've noticed an unexpected shift since Dave left his 'real' job and we've been free to travel whenever we can. I sleep better, am more productive, and actually get more work done on the road.
Your trip looks fantastic, BTW.