Stone’s Miles: Touching Base, But Excited for What’s Ahead

Touching base since I know it’s been awhile.

I’ve been settling into Lisbon and had to get an article out for work that I love (link). [Insert a million other excuses here.]

I’ve been doing and learning and processing so much over the past month that it has been hard to get it all down. To even know where to begin.

I can tell you the basics I suppose. Catching up on Cape Town:

I toured four wine farms in Stellenbosch. I went to a bar where I personally knew the DJ(s) twice. I ate dinner in the oldest township Langa. I toured the Bo-Kaap neighborhood. I bought Malay spices. I learned how to cook samosas and roti. I hiked Devil’s Peak. I took a bicycle tour through the Khayelitscha township. I ate sheep’s tongue. I became a regular at a yoga studio. I ate a 10 course meal. I foraged for periwinkles. I ate fried periwinkle cakes. I hung out on Boulders Beach with African penguins. I ate fish and chips by the sea. I went to the District 6 museum. I wrote a report on hotel loyalty programs. I donated to charity. I interviewed a general manager of a Cape Town luxury hotel portfolio. I told my most embarrassing story on a rooftop. I went on a safari in Aquila Nature Game Preserve. I did a safari while riding ATVs. I looked at the stars (The world looks different in the Southern Hemisphere). I hiked Table Mountain via Diving Board Rock. I went to the beach. I toured the South African Parliament with a member of Parliament. I went to Robben Island. I helped surprise a local with a new suit. I watched Westworld. I ate dinner with 20+ people multiple times. I wrote about the Cape Town water crisis. I went to the Slave Lodge museum. I saw The Avengers: Infinity War. I saw a South African play, The Road to Mecca, at Fugard Theater. I did work at a local brewery. I brunched a lot.

What that doesn’t even begin to capture is what I learned over the past month and how I felt.

I got to know 45 people who I already would do anything for. They taught me about their lives and their careers and told me stories of what they’ve gone through, and I’m sure all of that will continue. We traded stories of how everything that has happened has led us to here – to be traveling the world with 45 global strangers turned family. How we signed up for this. How we made it happen. I mean, ultimately anyone can do this. It is a choice. But it’s not an easy choice. In fact, it’s one of the more difficult choices we’ve ever had to make. We left family and friends, we took up new jobs. We put our careers on hold. Or we took a risk to start a new business. We took a chance. We let everything else go.

We are all so different, but we all have the same mindset.

We want to alter what “real life” is and means. We want to push ourselves mentally and physically and emotionally and intellectually and professionally harder than we ever have before. We want to be better, do good, learn more, understand better, love hard.

Our first month was crazy because we were adjusting to a new life, a new country, a new way of living and working, a new family.

At the same time, we were all falling in love with Cape Town.

I don’t think the rest of the world realizes how perfect Cape Town is (Let’s keep it our little secret, okay?) But seriously, it is the most perfect place. Mountains, beach, beautiful weather, beautiful people, great culture, tons of history, lots of good food, wineries. Honestly, what could you want more out of life?

I also didn’t realize that we did some things most tourists don’t do. Most tourists don’t eat dinner in a township. Most tourists don’t go cycling around the townships or talk to the locals as much as we did. Most tourists don’t don’t give a resident a custom-made suit (I know some really cool people). Most tourists don’t get to know their regular café’s barista’s name.

We lived there for a month. We tried to grapple with how much we have (We’re the ones traveling the world after all). We tried to be kind to others and ourselves.

Our time in Lisbon has been quieter than Cape Town. I think most of us are reflecting on what happened, what’s to come, and the reality that this is life now. The constant exposure to new experiences, new places, new foods, new cultures to understand. It’s a lot.

Here’s what I can process:

  • This is the best thing I have ever done.
  • If this is how much I learn after just one month of this, it is crazy to think about the person I will be 11 months from now.
  • I’m excited for what’s ahead.

(photo by David April)