Written by Kalee LaPointe, a student from San Angelo, Texas, United States. She is currently studying English Literature at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She has been doing an internship in Cape Town during her Summer break, and the following is her accounts. Follow her journey on Instagram @kaleefromtexas
As I sit here writing this, I honestly cannot believe my time in Cape Town is coming to an end. I know people told me 4-weeks would go by fast, but I just can’t believe how fast they really did.
When I think of my time here, I remember what it was like the first time I traveled alone. It was when I moved off to college, over 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) away from everyone and everything I knew. I was terrified to be quite honest. But I’d honestly never been so exited or felt so exhilarated in my life. A year later, I took off again to study abroad in Greece for four months. Now that was over 6,400 miles (10,000 km) and an ocean away, but I wasn’t as terrified so much as nervous.
Fast forward another year and I was jetting off here to Cape Town—over 8,900 miles (14,000 km) and 2 oceans away. While each experience has taught me something new (including how to break the news to my supportive but ever worrying mom) and my anxiety and nerves have definitely gone down – something about Cape Town just felt different. And it has been.
This experience has opened my eyes in ways I never expected; perhaps it’s the time in my life where the future is such a daunting idea, maybe it’s the way I started this journey completely on my own, or perhaps it’s just Cape Town. Perhaps it’s just…everything. Regardless of the reason, I’ve learned how to be myself because of it.
That’s the thing about traveling solo. While some people find it intimidating and others might think it’s scary, it can definitely be both, you truly learn more about yourself than you ever even imagined was possible. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in traveling to Cape Town on your own, I have just two words for you…DO IT! You will be so glad you did.
When in Cape Town
Like everyone I spoke to beforehand, I had some preconceived ideas of what Cape Town would be like. Every single one has been wrong except for one— “I’ll have some new adventures.” Which I most definitely have! Although they haven’t all been good or exciting, like the time my phone suddenly malfunctioned and I had to walk up and down Signal Hill to try and get a signal (and yes, my friends thought this was ironically hilarious), they have all taught me something valuable.
At times I was worried, like when I went zip lining for the first time in my life or climbed through caves, but every day I kept repeating my ever-standing mantra— “when in Cape Town!” It has been the most welcoming, friendly, and honestly most amazing place I’ve ever been. I’m beyond thankful I have had such an incredible experience here. I’m so grateful to all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way who have helped me to make memories I’ll never forget.
While traveling solo means you start off on your own (completely and utterly alone), it really frees you to meet new people. Not saying that traveling with people is in any way a bad thing, but I do think it’s a completely different experience. When you’re on your own, you’re just that—on your own. Free to go at your own pace, explore on your own schedule. This allows you the opportunities to really bond with other people, especially those who are in the exact same situation.
Most of the time it’s people you wouldn’t have otherwise even talked to, much less, in my case, built strong connections with. As a solo traveler, you get to meet people from all walks of life. And if you’re in Cape Town, you get to meet the most diverse, fun, adventurous range of people.
Well, This Is It
From last-minute adventures around the city to late nights out on Long Street and weeknights at Stones, Cape Town has been somewhere I’m proud to call my home away from home. It’s a funny thing, the word home. Everywhere I’ve travelled and lived, even school, I’ve always been reluctant to call it home. Home was San Angelo, Texas. A grey-blue house with a white door and 2-windows. It was my mom, my dog and cat, my family. Home was…is…a feeling, I think. I don’t know what it is, but from the first few days I arrived here, I’ve just felt so at home in Cape Town. I’m honestly so sad to be leaving; I feel like I’m really leaving home.
I truly made the best decision of my life coming to Cape Town. It was never a grand plan of mine to come here, but now it’s my main plan to come back some day (probably in summer for all of you telling how much better it is then, although I honestly don’t know how it could be any better than it already is).
Traveling alone is so many things (you can choose which words you’d like to use), but traveling solo to Cape Town is something I think everyone should do. It’s amazing, so beautiful, fantastic—all of the words you might find as an exaggeration. But here, they’re just the plain truth. As I leave Cape Town, I’ll always treasure not only the experiences I’ve had here, but also the person I am in this very moment, and all of the adventures that have led me here.
So, I guess this is it. Thank you for the seemingly never-ending sunsets. Thanks for the breath-taking mountain views. And thank you for the bright lights and lively vibes. Goodbye, Cape Town. Adiós. Αντίο. Sala Kakuhle!