Sometimes there just aren’t words
I’ve sat down to write day after day
And all that can come out,
all I can think,
all I can say,
all that repeats
I am so happy
So incredibly happy
I am living a life I’ve dreamt about for years and now this dream is my reality
I wake each day feeling as if I was “home”
I look out our main bedroom window and see the ocean across the way
I look out the side window and see an array of rooftops making up Sea Point of Cape Town, South Africa
I walk into our living room and see a massive mountainside with trees swaying in the breeze at the very top
all dancing to this song,
this rhythm of life
I skip down the six flights of stairs, into the lobby and out the two glass doors
Cross a busy downtown street and there I am
In the center of life
Yoga to my left
Coffee shops each way I turn
Two blocks from the beach
A skate to the waterfront
This is my reality,
the one I am blessed to wake to each day.
the topic of today,
Is the week Dan and I spent making our way up and down the coast
This week was one awe-inspiring and proud moment after another watching the workings of none other than my modern day caveman
Dan messaged me on Wednesday saying, “Let’s leave after I get out of work.”
Without a doubt, I’m in!
He came home from work and we quickly packed the car.
And that was that.
A two-door sedan packed from the boot (trunk) through the backseat and to the roof with a weeks worth of our lives
Dan drove through the night up the East Coast of South Africa,
known as the Garden Route arriving at Cape St. Francis at about 2 in the morning
He said stay in the car while I set up.
Knowing me, I couldn’t stay in the car while he set up
I had to help, or at least think I was helping
Within minutes, Dan had our home for the next two nights set up
A lovely little tent
With an incredible “stretch” overlay
Two chairs to the right with a cooler-box in the middle
Lots of pillows and blankets within
Are you serious?
Did you really just do all that?
Yes, he was serious.
Yes, he set up an incredible space for us within minutes
And did the same in the following two locations thereafter
The first two days were spent in Cape St. Francis
Just above the top point of the Garden Route
Early morning surfs, skates throughout the neighborhood, sunset walks, skipo games, drinks on the beach
After two nights,
It was time to explore more
Down to a quaint backpackers in the middle of Plettenberg Bay
Center of town
Afternoon surf, handstand beach sessions, cocktails, lots more cocktails
at a beautiful lake side, valley filled restaurant known as Emily Moon
Another day filled with handstand and surf sessions, hiking in the Robberg Peninsula Nature Reserve, homemade cooked meals and abundant laughs spread throughout
We woke early Saturday morning,
Packed the car quicker than the last,
Drove for an hour
All the while I was jumping around in the front seat like a five year old after their first vanilla milkshake
(okay, chocolate if that’s your cup of tea)
Oh please, let me tell you.
Because when we reached our destination,
Our morning adventure,
We were at…..
The Knynsa Elephant Sanctuary!
Dan and I spent the morning feeding,
and communicating with the elephants.
Back to sometimes there just aren’t enough words
All I could do was laugh
All I could was smile
It was unreal
These massive, massive creatures, beings, so just curious, so gentle, so aware
It was beyond anything I had experienced
The tram left the elephants bringing all its occupants back to the lobby,
But Dan and I,
Dan and I
We were far too mesmerized by these dynamic new friends of ours!
Just watching the elephants
And talking to our guide, Wilfred
An extremely inquisitive, retrospective man who has worked with elephants for 14 years
And as revealed for that matter, tourists
An understanding of the various cultures through their repetitive directions, manners, actions, words
Or lack of words
He was very skilled, very in tune with those present
Dan and I played some more,
Took a few more photos,
Each touched one of the younger elephants tongue
Talked a little more
The tram came around,
We did broad this one.
After lots of laughs, jumping around
A little bathroom break
We were back on the road
This time landing a Fairy Gnome Backpackers in a colorful little town called Wilderness
Again, within minutes we had a home for the last night of our road trip
Yes, the workings of my modern day caveman
We jumped into the car
Surf board proud and center
As we were just minutes down the road from Dan’s favorite surf spots
I spent the afternoon reading my book, taking photos of
and being in complete awe as Dan charged these massive waves
The evening continued as we drove up the mountain going for sunset drinks at the Map of Africa.
We arrived to the top,
got out of the car,
looked over the cliff.
Not for sunset drinks
Because there was in fact no place to order drinks
But did see the base of Africa edged out in natures landscape
Of trees, a dark red river and little houses
Drove back down the mountain
And found ourselves sitting on the roadside at a corner Italian restaurant
Sharing a bottle of wine, playing multiple games of skipo and then eating nothing better than pizzas!
That night and so many other nights’ in-between are indescribable moments of two souls
finally being in the same place in the world at the same time.
Two souls discovering, appreciating, respecting, admiring and developing such love for one another.
Dan and I woke Sunday morning,
He surfed as I ran and did yoga on the rocks.
We drove all the way back home,
Had a quick nap,
And then onto another adventure of watching the incredible DJ’s Goldfish perform live that evening
Oh yes, another dream of mine
That has become, well is a reality
Below are photos from our road trip adventures!
As always, please enjoy.
Many blessings, love, gratitude and warmth.
Until next time.
Divine timing in this celebration of life. This celebration for life. For Nelson Mandela. For Madiba.
Can we just discuss how divine this timing has been?
A few days before getting on a plane, I asked Dan if we could go to one of Mandela’s celebrations.
His answer, “Absolutely! Hopefully, celebrations will still be going on!”
Well, here it is.
Every South African citizen was honored 5 tickets to attend the celebration of life.
The celebration of life for Nelson Mandela.
Although Dan was at work, I was in the presence of his gracious family.
Walking to the stadium, the excitement began to fill.
South African flags all about.
People dressed in shirts with the image of Africa displayed prominently proud.
Upon getting through the gates, people marched, jumped and danced excitedly toward the stairs of Green Point Stadium.
Yes, this was once the home of the infamous World Cup.
But, today, on this day, it was the home of hundreds upon hundreds of proud South Africans.
Nelson spoke of a colored nation.
A colored nation is what he fought for.
And for that fighting, a colored nation is what he received.
People of all colors, all backgrounds.
All were present.
All were proud.
After roaming about, we gladly found some seats high up in the stadium just the right angel to see the crowds
and that which was to commence on the stage throughout the evening.
Speakers came out.
Gospel choirs sung.
Contagious waves circles round and round the stadium.
Hugs were occurring each way I turned.
With all being contaminated with so much love, honor and laughter.
People were present.
People were so incredibly proud.
I sat in awe for many hours on my stadium chair.
Getting up to capture those moments that spoke loudest to my heart.
Sitting back and watching the people unite.
Reminding myself to breathe.
Yes, this is happening.
Yes, this is my reality.
Just breathe, Ashley.
At one point, I do have to admit.
The stadium broke out into their national anthem and although the words weren’t part of what was coming out of my mouth, the tears coming from my eyes did just the same.
I was present.
I was honored.
I was proud.
So proud to be a part of this moment in history.
To stand in a stadium witnessing, experiencing and expressing the potential of what
a rainbow national truly could look like.
I have studied for years.
The studying built my interest, but on that day, the studying became a reality,
with the experience speaking so loudly to my heart.
The celebration of life.
Nelson’s celebration of life is now a layer within my energy footprint.
It is now a part of me.
So deep within me.
Although I left the ceremony far before the time of it’s ending,
I knew when I walked out of there, it was just my beginning.
My second day in South Africa, I was celebrating the life of a man who changed history.
Who created a reality from one of segregation and separation to that of integration and immersion.
I am present.
I am honored.
I am proud.
Below are a few of my favorite photos from this evening of celebration,
many of which need no caption for explanation.
As always, with humble gratitude and love, please enjoy!
Until next time!
Today is a new day and I am a new me took on a whole new meaning.
Just this Tuesday was my last day of work after four years at PBS SoCaL.
And just Sunday, I said good-bye to my closest friends and family!
I am altering my life.
Drastically changing my life.
This change, it came quick.
Oh so quickly, yet unbelievably pleasant!
And oh so natural.
I thought when going to Tanzania, I was fulfilling a curiosity, one of teaching English in Africa.
Little did I know I wasn’t just fulfilling a curiosity, I was discovering a whole new me,
a whole new way of teaching, expression and fulfillment.
So here I am.
Just hours away from getting on a plane for this adventure.
How do I feel?
What is present in my body?
A sense of heaviness.
And pure joy.
My friends, family and community are my veins.
My blood flow.
They are constant reminders of my sense of purpose and belonging.
All the while, my inspiration to be a better, more full me, more true and honest me.
I am humbled.
Oh so incredibly humbled.
I have received messages, cards, phone calls and so much more with words of gratitude.
Those surrounding me are mere reflections, beaming with love and curiosity.
A combination of openness and acceptance.
Need to help and desire to understand.
Friendly and incredibly beautiful.
Unique and absolutely divine.
The feelings expand.
My stomach growls.
Yes, with physical hunger but more so with hunger for knowledge and experiences.
Living versus just existing.
My nerves are awake.
Voices come in and out… “What are you doing?” “How are you feeling a life already so amazing?’….
Those voices leave just as quickly as they came in.
Amongst it all is a subtle calmness, confidence and a huge, huge smile.
What will happen with each breath and for many breaths thereafter I walk onto the plane are unknown.
But, what is known...
I know I am living my truth.
I know I am about to embark on an experience that will drastically change the realities making up my existence.
I know that the strength, determination and confidence are deep within.
My passion for love and life and connection and community speaks for itself
and with it as my guide, I am in good hands.
Sending so much love and positive light to each and everyone of you!
Thank you for all your support and sharing this journey with me! Until I write again…. See you in Cape Town!
My GOing Away Party with Friends and Family!
My Going Away Lunch with my PBS SoCAl Family!