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Sunday, August 11

Afterword

This final blog update has been a long time coming. Somehow, this year slipped past us and we’ve just caught up with it. We will be uploading final stats, West Coast waypoints, and other finishing details in the next few weeks.

Mary: We headed back to Johannesburg with an unexpectedly strong  sense of sadness that the trip was over – I had expected to be tired of it all and ready for civilisation but after we had caught up on sleep and hot showers, it felt like we were missing some part of ourselves not being on the road. We didn’t have too much time to dwell on it though as we headed down to Cape Town for Simon & Jen’s wedding, followed by a hop skip and jump over to Iceland for Karen & Patrick’s wedding two weeks later, and did a loop around the island to explore.




Blue Lagoon

Jokulsarlon

Borin' old geyser :)

Wedding season buoyed us up, it was a busy and happy time. Following Karen’s wedding, we headed back to the UK to try to replenish the coffers a little. We were both lucky enough to get our old jobs back on a contract basis for a short stint. It was great to get back to a real routine, seeing lots of friends in between peaceful days at the office. I had definitely missed the stimulation of the office and loved my 3 month contract back with the old team. Despite worries that we would find it hard to fit back into the regular routines and schedules of working, we both found it really easy. We stayed with Lindsay in Clapham for those 3 months to be closer in to London, and it was absolutely brilliant – the flat was pretty much constantly filled with high volume laughter & skinnering.

That old familiar Canary Wharf...

London friends


Christmas carols at Westminister Abbey
In December we went through that old familiar routine of packing up all our posessions (how did we accumulate that much stuff in just a few months??), organising shipping, and left London for Jo’burg in time for Christmas. We spent an amazing Christmas day with my folks, cuzzies, aunt & uncle in Parkview, delighted to be back to warm Christmases celebrated with braais.

Christmas with family

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Shortly after Christmas, we began loading up some of our stuff into the beast for the great trek south to Cape Town. We had decided to take the scenic route down the coast, via the Drakensberg, where we met up with Mike & Emma for a few days of reminiscing, hiking and having fun. Our trip took ten days, down the Garden Route, and we finally got to Cape Town on Sunday 6 January.
Just like old times

Bonnievale


Brett: On our first day in Cape Town, we checked in at Hotel Martin and headed out on foot to a concert in De Waal Park, where we met loads of new people. The first month was dominated by the search for a flat, which had started online while we were in Joburg and continued with some difficulty online while driving down to Cape Town. Flats in the city bowl go quickly at this time of year – literally within a matter of hours, and it was not long before we got to a point where we said to ourselves that we would just take the next flat that came up in our desired area, if it was reasonably affordable.
Summer Concerts in De Waal park
That decision brought us to a beautiful tiny flat on the side of Signal Hill overlooking city bowl and with a panoramic view of the whole of Table Mountain. On the last weekend of January, I started my MBA at the UCT Graduate School of Business with a day of team building activities, followed by a braai for all the partners & families. The next few months were a blur of studying, presentations, projects and exams.


Mary: I had been looking for a job from the start of the year, but decided to capitalise on the very slow Cape Town job market and write The Book of our trip – my memoir of the previous 14 months of travel. I also took up ceramics and painting, and am still, frustratingly, looking for a job. At the moment there are a few promising options on the horizon, but we have yet to see if they will actually materialise. I am 100,000 words into the first draft of the book and starting to realise what a huge undertaking this is. Brett will continue studying until the end of the year, when he will have the option of doing a three month exchange somewhere in the world.


It has been strange and wonderful and difficult and eye-opening to be back in South Africa. Next year’s plans are far from certain. The thread we have been following for the last few years has started to unravel and there are a number of strands leading out from us in different directions, like those narrow tracks diverging in the jungle in Guinea. As before, we’re sitting on the side of the road under the trees, watching the dust motes falling through the shards of sunlight and trying to work out which way is best. It’s impossible to tell. There is a different adventure down each one.



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