Hello, fellow wanderers. My name’s Matthew and I’m writing to you from the current place where my wanderings have brought me: Cape Town, South Africa. When I first proposed this article I wrote it up as a Vancouver, Canada -> Cairo, Egypt -> Cape Town trip. Which is mostly true, but not quite.
Appropriate use of time and space is important to me, a more accurate look at these would be Woodstock, Canada -> Vancouver, Canada -> Woodstock, Canada -> New York, USA -> Cairo, Egypt -> Johannesburg, South Africa -> Cape Town, South Africa -> Orange River, Namibia -> Cape Town. It has been a funny trip taking the better part of 6 years so far, and I’ll tell you how I’ve done it.
How I’ve managed to travel so far and so long
When I started out in Woodstock, or more accurately North Norwich Township on my parent’s farm, I had a dream of moving far, far away. By my reckoning and the limits of my imagination at the time, I figured the furthest I could get was Vancouver, Canada. I set that as my goal.
Now, a lot of wanderers get this stigma of being spontaneous types. I can be that way in some aspects of my life, but moving isn’t one of them. I planned carefully for my move to Vancouver, saved up three months worth of living expenses, paid off my truck, and had a job ready for me there. It was a terrible job, but it paid. I drove out to Vancouver with only one problem facing me, and it turned out to be a big one. I was homeless and sleeping on a friend’s floors for 3 months. Finding an affordable place in VanCity is no joke.
I spent 5 years in Vancouver and will always think of it as a home of mine. But the wanderlust built up inside me, and perhaps a woman was involved, and I had to make a plan to travel even further once more. This, even in the throes of chasing a beautiful woman, took planning.
I wanted to live a mobile life, so I built mobile skills and experience for myself. I began working a steady part time job with a Canadian website development team on the other side of the country. Writing content for clients, building website product page content, that sort of stuff. It got to the point where we had been working together for 8 months and I had 3 months of living expense saved. Do you know what that meant?
I took time off to see my family once more over the Christmas break in winter of 2012. From there, I drove down to New York City with a friend of mine from my youth who now lived in NYC’s East Village. I spent New Year’s Eve part in Times Square, part in a bar only a local would drink at, and woke up with a slight hangover for the next big move.
From North America to far off
The beginning of 2013 was a better time for Egypt. The streets were, well, the roadways were as hectic as ever, but the streets were full of calm, good people. And soccer, my goodness does everyone there seem to play soccer. I saw the Sphinx, went inside the Great Pyramid, ate the local food, and smoked a hookah in Al Hussein Square. Forget your lungs, it’s a must do.
Egypt is a bit infamous for their website blocking, which I found out firsthand. They have, at various times, blocked Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Skype...and I need those to talk with my peeps and post some #humblebrag photos! I didn’t want to be restricted during my brief stay there, so I used a VPN service to do some good old fashion geo-dodging, allowing me to connect with friends back home. Photos of me and the pyramids were sent right away!
Landing in Johannesburg was a big time trip for me as I had been wanting to see South Africa for several years. I was being picked up at Rosebank station off the Gautrain (pronounced like Ho-Train with a ‘hakking’ sound like in ‘Loch Ness’ on the gau/ho) by two people I didn’t really know at all who ran a host “family.” I was there for a good month, saw the home of Madiba and watched some good soccer, before moving to where I knew I should be - Cape Town.
When you first touch down in Cape Town, and walk off the plane to the bus to downtown, on a warm day with the African sun full in the sky it will have the freshest smell of baked sea salt. It is lovely and is a smell that I will always treasure next to new comic books, and my girlfriend when she’s sweaty.
Here I am, in a glorious city, a lovely woman who is interested in me, and a good job that I could do from anywhere. Ya. About that. A month after staying in Cape Town the work dried up. I did not panic. Remember that planning? I still had all that money stashed away, so I did the smartest thing I could think of - I signed up for more schooling while I looked for more work.
My education was in social media marketing, another skill development I knew I needed to stay mobile. I found more work on web properties, even building some as a part owner, most notably is my ongoing work with the social media focused Devumi blog - thanks education and planning! Yes, there was a bump along the way, but we can deal with hiccups when we plan.
Namibia - a side trip
Namibia was a side trip that I needed to take as I craved those open spaces of my farming youth. Namibia, if you don’t know, is usually tied for the lowest population density in the world. I arrived there the only way I truly enjoy - driving along the Cape Namibia route with my then ‘friend,’ and now girlfriend.
We spent our time in Orange River, Namibia mostly drunk on cider (Savanna is a South African staple) down by the Orange river itself, or laying about on warm grass at night staring up at the sky. The lack of people, and light pollution, gave us a clear view of every single star in the sky.
There are a hundred, hundred other stories to tell. Of being warned to never visit Alexandra township because I’m white, and being asked politely for directions like I was a local when I went there anyway. Of getting on TV and doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do when that happened. Of climbing mountains, seeing sharks, and spotting whales from my living room window. Of silly nights spent with beautiful women. But this, my wandering friends, is not a novel, and we only have so much time and space.
Matthew Yeoman is a freelance social media analyst, writer, and occasional adventurer, who can be found on the Devumi.com Social Media Blog. He is there chatting about Google, YouTube, Pinterest, SoundCloud and Twitter News every Friday, with posts happening throughout the week when news hits.