Tag Archives: solo travel

How I Met Your Father: CT Girl in Argentina

Kids, in September 2017,my wandering heart (and very busy working body – wait… not like THAT!) found its way to the sensual and vibrant Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Resting place of Evita, home to the empanada, the Japanese Botanical Garden and… tango!

As I mentioned before, this was a business trip so there wasn’t much time for exploring but I was determined to do some sightseeing and explore the city’s exotic cultural offerings.

Here’s what I learnt in Buenos Aires:

Be passionate about everything:

The Argentines ooze passion in everything they do: how they love, fight, work and dance!

Tango in Argentina 😍

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It’s actually quite intoxicating. So much so, that when it is time to leave their beautiful city, one really does want to say “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!” :

 

Be in the pursuit of magic always:

I’ve seen jaw-dropping magic shows in Las Vegas and New York so I was quite keen to see one in South America. As my journey came to an end, time constraints were real and it didn’t seem like I was going to find my taste of magic in Buenos Aires.

Until…

During a night out at the Tango Porteno, in the middle of a tango extravaganza, female magician  Inga Savitskaya appeared and dazzled us with her Invisible Partner act. Lesson learnt: always be in the pursuit of magic!

 

Embrace your sensuality:

From shamelessly indulging in dulce de leche, the sweet caramel treat Argentina is famous for , to giving into the erotic tension of a tango show, the Argentians are decadent, hungry and sensual beings.

My heart yearns for tango lunches in La Bocca😍 #CTGirlInArgentina

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After watching the intensity of dancers on a lunch time wander through La Bocca, a colourful downtown neighbourhood, I wandered down the cobbled streets of Galerías Pacífico .There, the most handsome, well-built men made a point of stopping what they were doing to openly stare and appreciate the sight of me.

Bearing in mind that I was in work travel mode and didn’t do anything fancy to my appearance, other than tie my hair up in a braid, I was equally flustered and flattered at the same time.

Far from being creepy, these men’s visible appreciation of me made me rediscover my sensuality. I made a promise to myself then that from that moment on I was going to embrace my inner sensual self by wearing sexy underwear and make-up and styling my hair everyday. Not for any guy but for myself – to celebrate the strong, independent, creative, free-spirited, beautiful, sensual, world traveller and woman I was.

To paraphrase your uncle Herman, I was in the prime of my life and I should be out in the world, swinging from the chandeliers ( or at least taking life by the horns!).

And I did, Kids, I really did:

Faz sensual 2

 

 

How I Met Your Father : CT Girl in Brazil

Kids,in September 2017,I had the opportunity to travel to South America for work and it was epic!

Being a New York girl at heart with Paris,London and Bali on my immediate bucket list,South America wasn’t really on my radar until this business trip came up but boy,am I glad it did 🙂

Travel roadshows are four days of back to back presentations and meetings but I managed to sneak out for a bit of sightseeing in my first city,Curitiba where :

Wonder Woman reigns supreme

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I nearly went nuts at the sight of this cute onesie at the local mall!

I’d have bought it there and then but you guys were still at least two years away from being born so sanity prevailed!

Fairytale palaces really exist

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In the heart of Javim Botanical Gardens lies this picture perfect palace of a greenhouse and I fell deeply in love…

The Garden itself is beautiful and reminiscent of Central Park. I loved how locals and tourists alike roamed about and enjoyed the scenery, even during a work day!

Street art is love

My must-haves for cities I travel to are simple: food, magic, theatre shows and street art.

In Curitiba, street art is everywhere you go and this one was by far my favourite.

A relaxed vibe permeates everything in Curitiba – from the unhurried way people speak to their late meal times and more. I was learning to love this laidback way of life and I was sure I’d be back for more.

Next on How I Met Your Father: A fiery love affair with Sao Paulo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Met Your Father: CT Girl in Jozi

Kids, every now and again, when the horrors of online dating got too much for me, I’d pack up my bags and hot foot it to another city to clear my head. Johannesburg, or Jozi as it is affectionately known, and a visit with your godfather Leon beckoned in March 2017…

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Yes, I make him pose for endless photos but Leon doesn’t mind when I make him look good. Taken at the Maboneng Precinct

In celebration of Lee’s 29th (again, haha) birthday and so that I could be his personal photographer all weekend long, we sampled all of the city’s ample delights including:

Beefy Boys:

Your Spirit Mom Leo and I have been to the Cape Town branch of Beefcakes so often, we have our designated table so it was only right for me to pay the JHB restaurant a visit too…

And boy, was I delighted with their considerable, uh, assets:

Found my Tarzan …thanks @beefcakes_jhb 😍 I ain't leaving #jozi anytime soon! 📷 : @leeyon_j

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Adonis sightseeing aside, the Illovo site has a top-notch line-up of performers, including the Menopause drag trio and it was so worth a fun night out!

Hipster markets:

Leon says that hipsters pretty much visit the Neighbourgoods Market in Jozi to take selfies and post them to Instagram…I’m inclined to agree:

Thrilling theatre shows:

My imaginary love affair with the hot AF theatre legend Jonathan Roxmouth was well documented on social media and so I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to watch him again in the local production of the iconic musical, West Side Story.

From 2015:

Faz Jono

Faz Jonathan

To 2017, my favourite Tony has my heart:

I missed your godfather terribly but visiting each other was always a great treat:

Travelling solo to New York had reawakened my wanderlust and I was looking forward to exploring my country and the world in 2017.

The dating adventures continue in the next How I Met Your Father story…

How I Met Your Father : The One where I can’t say goodbye to New York

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“Say you’ll share with me one love,one lifetime /Say the word and I will follow you”

Kids,as my solo trip to New York came to an end in early January 2017, I was no where near ready to say goodbye to the Big Apple.

More importantly,  I wasn’t ready to take my leave of the person I was there – a confident,  free-spirited traveller who wasn’t afraid to take on new and amazing adventures or experiences.

The girl you see in the picture above is radiant with satisifaction; has a lust for life and most importantly, she is happy …

Happy,guys, honest-to-the-gods happy – the black moods that sometimes dominated my Capetonian nights and days;the insecurities that overwhelmed me at home didn’t exist in New York.

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And while I know I was living in a bubble because life isn’t all subway rides and walks in Central Park; I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to the Mother City to be the awkward singleton who doesn’t get invited to her godchildren’s birthday parties because her status makes the other guests uncomfortable.

In New York, I grabbed opportunities to be the centre of attention by the balls (including being the fake VIP guest on an NBC Tour show):

In Cape Town, I was so used to being second or last choice,  I didn’t even bother volunteering for shit at all.

In New York, I rode the subway often and only got lost a few times -in Cape Town, the train was a last-minute,I’m fucked and I need transport resort:

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I fit in New York – for the first time,it felt like I fit my surroundings.In Cape Town, I was always a beat or two behind everyone else -people who had their shit together; people who shared the same sense of humour and the same boring plan for life; people who effoetlessly met their spouses/co-parents/lovers/partners and lived the picket white fence lifestyle. I couldn’t catch-up and I was tired of trying.

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Happy New Year from New York!

I wanted to stay in New York where I belonged,Kids …

But all good things must come to an end and,though I had to leave , I made a promise to myself (and one that would set me on the path to meeting your father and finally having you!) : I’d live every day of 2017 as fearlessly and passionately as if I were in New York!

How I Met Your Father : The One with Christmas in New York and why I don’t want to go home

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Kids,in December 2016, I travelled alone to New York City and people,who should have known better,kept asking why?

Them : “Why would you do that? And alone too? That’s crazy!”

Me (thinking it internally but I should have said it out loud): “I’m f***ing off to the other side of the world because  I am sick to death of your narrow-mindedness;  your gossiping about my sexuality; your assumptions that I must hate men and children because I have neither when it couldn’t be further from the f***ing truth and you don’t know how hard I have to work to keep my desire for having a baby under control;  because you assholes talk about me maliciously on Facebook where the world AND I can see it and you don’t even think about my feelings,do you?!!”

Like I said, there were many reasons why I travelled solo to the Big Apple but ultimately only one really mattered …my happiness.

In the space of just one week, New York quickly made me feel at home by:

1) Making me feel like a local:

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Getting lost and finding myself in the Big Apple

Sure,I got lost so many times but somehow I always ended up where I was intending on going later,like Central Park, so it worked out!

2) Inspiring me on the daily:

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Looking out at the New York City view

There were so many things to see and do in New York that inspiration  was seeping into my pores all of the time.I felt re-energised and motivated for the first time in a long time and I wanted to write again.Not just about one attraction  as I had been for the past two years but about a variety of topics!

Staring out at the city line from the Top of the Rock,  I knew it was time for a career change.

3) Putting me at ease about difficult choices I’d made previously:

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Magic on Broadway…Theatre and I will always find each other

When I left a side project as a theater reviewer in 2015 because my family needed me emotionally, physically and financially to help with my dying grandfather;  people didn’t understand and so many of them faded away from my life because I was no longer available to be frivolous and fun at a red carpet opening night three times a week.

It felt like a horrible thing at the time but I do not regret spending 2016 taking care of Pa ,our family or dedicating myself to my magic career that year either…both elements thrived because I was focused and I am eternally thankful for it.

As I took in a number of Broadway shows in December, I realised that things had come full circle and this,this opportunity right here,  to see award-winning international shows was meant to be all along.I have always been a theatre lover -I didn’t need to be “famous” to prove it.

4) Seeding a sense of wonder for myself :

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I can and WILL do anything I imagine …

Thanks to the mind and emotional f***ery of He Who Must Not Be Named; being dumped by my travel buddy; warring family wanting Pa’s estate and all of the malicious gossipers;  my sense of self-worth was f***ed royally.

Having my wits and determination to depend on to guide me and keep myself safe in the Big Apple rebirthed my self-belief.

I felt imbued with new-found confidence in the Wonder Woman I know I can be. I worked hard to get to New York again and I could do that and so much more if I just tried.

F*** the haters in my world, I am f***ing AWESOME!!

I loved New York,where I was free to be me SO much,  I didn’t want to go home …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Met Your Father: CT Girl in New York

 

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Image credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Kids, in 2016, New York City was stalking me like my all-time favourite musical character, The Phantom of the Opera…

“In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came
That voice which calls to me and speaks my name “

Yes, yes, I know, being in love with a dark, mysterious man and hoping he’ll  lure  me to his underground lair indicates a seriously weird view of love but I was six when I fell in love with the Phantom, ok? You can’t undo a lifelong passion for Erik ( not coincidentally the name of my other forbidden love Alexander Skarsgard‘s character in True Blood!)  …

I digress…

As I toiled through a seriously f***ked up year with my dying grandfather, losing friends and general adulting f***ery, the Big Apple was appearing in my dreams on a regular basis – showing me visions of hosting my baby shower in a hipster-styled warehouse in downtown Manhattan, with the Backstreet Boys performing as special guests ( don’t ask!) and walking beneath Brooklyn Bridge with that jackass.

I didn’t have to be a shrink or a psychic to figure out that my dreams were wish-fulfillment, fantasies of wanting to escape my current situation and longing to have you but damn, did New York look enticing in my slumber!

In September of 2016, I unexpectedly received an invitation to accompany a friend and her family to the Big Apple for Christmas and I was totally floored – my secret wish to return to the concrete jungle was coming true… OMG!

Three months of planning and making arrangements for my daily life followed and by the first week of December, I was SO excited, I couldn’t wait to jet off to my dream city.

Alas…

My travelling companion cancelled at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances and it devastated me. I felt like the same rejected kid I had been my entire life – always chosen last by friends, family, colleagues for everything.

It totally threw my life balance out of whack and I turned into this scared Moaning Myrtle who was suddenly too afraid to travel solo …who was this insecure person and what had happened to the fearless adventurer I had been before?!

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Image credit: http://www.ceylonguidance.com

After a few days of indecision and agonizing, I decided f*** it, I was still travelling to New York City … I was stronger and braver than I knew, I could do this.

Solo travel had always helped me discover myself before and helped me fall back in love with the independent, free-spirit I knew myself to be.

After a year of putting my family’s needs, my clients’projects and my friends’dreams before my own, I needed a time-out to just be me – to break out of the constraints I’d put on myself, to live, to breathe, to be me.

And that, Kids, is how I re-met New York.

Follow my Big Apple adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from Thursday 22 December, 2016 to Tuesday 3 January, 2017!

How I Met Your Father: The one with the hot guy on the plane

“Good Morning, Sleeping Beauty! Was that as good for you as it was for me?” he asked, with a smirk.

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Image credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Kids, this was the line I woke up to on a plane in Istanbul in November 2010, from the gorgeous guy whose personal space I had totally invaded during the long haul flight from Johannesburg.

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To say I was mortified is an understatement!

Not only had I acquired a seat mate I had NO recollection of meeting, but apparently I’d been drooling all night on his very hunky shoulder. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was now staring into my flight seat bed head and wrinkled face… NOOOO!!!!

Ir’s not fair that these embarassing things kept happening to me, dammit!

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Image credit: http://www.giphy.com

Definitely zero chance of me joining the mile high club then! Oh, just stop it with your “TMI, MOM!” nonsense!

As I prepared to jet off for my fourth international trip in 2016, I couldn’t help reflecting back on my guy on the plane and giggle. So many embarrassing but fun things happen when you have the courage to travel solo 😉

C’est la vie!

How I Met Your Father: 5 things travelling solo to the US taught me

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself…” Cloud Atlas

 

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Kids, in 2016, I was in a bit of a rut… seeing friends’ engagement, baby and new job announcements on social media gave me huge FOMO (fear of missing out).

It made me nostalgic for a time when I was doing something epic – like travelling to the US solo for a two week Contiki trip across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York in the (South African) winter of 2014.

Sometimes I need to leave home to get some perspective

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fishbowl that is your life when you stay put.  In 2014, I was up shit creek with the disastrous Monroe flirtation, hating aspects of my job as a Cape Town marketing writer and trying to figure out what to do with my life.

 

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Travelling to the States wasn’t so much running away from my problems as it was getting a new perspective on them.  Seeing world-renowned icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge up close, made me realise that while my problems were important, they were small in comparison to the rest of the Universe.

Looking at it that way made me calm the f*** down and just enjoy being me.

Conquering my deepest fears was possible

I’ve had a paralyzing fear of theme park rides since I was three-years-old and your grandfather decided to rock the cabin of the Ferris wheel we were on, scaring the hell out of me.

That fear, though, wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying or at the very least, attempting to enjoy the rides at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

20140722_111009I’m not saying all of it was fun – in fact, between the Transformers and The Mummy rides, my pancake breakfast kept threatening to blow all over my fellow riders – but I pushed through my fear and did it anyway.

I held hands with complete strangers in the Haunted House; screamed for all I was worth during the King Kong ride and held on for dear life in that final drop of The Mummy roller coaster but at the end of it all, I was extremely proud of myself for conquering my deepest fear.

Being just me is more than ok

The greatest thing about travelling solo is the chance to shake off all of the labels and personas people you know impose onto you or force you to be (you know what I am talking about – some relatives, co-workers and friends push your buttons so much that you react negatively and get labelled as the nasty/mean/perpetually single one in your social group) and rediscover who you are.

On this trip, I discovered how much I actually enjoy magic, separately from it being a requirement for my passion project. I was totally prepared to attend Criss Angel’s Believe show in Vegas on my own but just by being so excited and passionate about it, a few of my tour mates eagerly joined me too.

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People liked me for being the weirdo, magic-fanatic I was and you know what? I liked me too.

Most importantly, I also realized that I like doing things solo – something I’d be reminded of again a year later in Mauritius.

I am capable of pretty much anything

A week into my trip, I was standing in front of the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and I suddenly had an Oprah-style A-Ha moment…

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Image credit: http://www.travelonline.com

I realised that little ol’ me, who had sold my first car, worked crazy hours and saved for eons just to be able to afford this trip, had actually done it! As I stared up at the full moon in Sin City, I realised that I could, and was capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to.

I knew I’d wanted to visit all of these cities since I was a teenager hung up on Sex and the City and I had made my own wish come true.  I was my own Fairy Godmother, Superhero and Guardian Angel and I was awesome!

 Letting go of my inhibitions every now and again is a good thing

A lot of crazy things happened in the Big Apple, like Drew, and that one time I wandered around Times Square high on Nyquil trying to treat a cold while almost being kidnapped by a Hispanic man  (don’t tell your Nan – she will never let me travel alone again!).

 

My favourite memory of New York, though, is the final night of our trip when my Contiki group and I visited a local karaoke bar. Emotions were running rampant in the group, knowing we’d have to say goodbye to strangers who had become family in the two short weeks we’d been travelling together.

With various tour mates getting up on stage to humiliate themselves belting out their favourite hits, it was only a matter of time before my three closest friends Candice, Natasha, Cheree and I followed suit.

Yes, we were totally out of sync doing the mermaid dance to Cher’s Shoop Shoop song but boy, was it fun and the perfect way to end off a trip that had totally changed my perspective on life and my own capabilities.

By 2016, with all of the adulting I’d been doing, I was aching to rediscover myself via travelling again. All I needed to do was choose a destination … but where to next?