By Dawn Onley
From the moment I first visited Cape Town, South Africa, I felt an immediate draw to the people, the land and the culture. It was 1994, on the cusp of the country’s first free election, and I was visiting with my mom and my aunt. The people were united for change. There were marches and demonstrations, strategy meetings and church revivals. We were mesmerized by the energy that forged together to elect Nelson Mandela, the nation’s first black president. It was an extraordinary time and these were extraordinary people who welcomed us to their land and their struggle as if it were our own.
But it wasn’t just the movement that drew me in. It felt like home. It was as if I had been here before. I never forgot that feeling, and over the years, often told anyone who would listen, that Cape Town was my favorite international city. There is beauty at every turn – breathtaking mountains, majestic oceans, delicious wines, a vibrant culture.
Fast forward 20 years later. My fiancé and I were discussing vacation plans and I asked if he’d like to visit Cape Town. Off we went in December 2014 and voila, I found myself back in this place that had captured my heart when I was just 24 years old. It felt extra special to be introducing my guy to an unforgettable experience, but almost surreal that I would get the opportunity again. And then I got an epiphany: why not?
I take the opportunities that I want to take, and so do you. When we set goals, and incorporate the steps that are needed to accomplish these goals, so many things are within our reach. Items do not have to remain on our Bucket List. The idea is to experience them, right? What are you waiting for?
During this trip, on a safari at Kruger National Park, I took in the beauty of nature and the gorgeous landscape. I mean, really took it in. Right there, in that moment, so much beauty enveloped us, waiting to be seen, felt and experienced. We were both silent, and filled. It was as majestic as the Big 5 animals.
Life is extraordinary, when we start to live.