One of the things that I have been surprised with over and over on our trip around the world is how many times virtual strangers have offered to level up our experience by showing us their favorite places.
On New Year’s Eve we met Wayne, Robyn, Steve, and Mandy and invited them over to Convivia for a little celebration. They showed up with the 3am Delos tattoo party, and before they left had invited to take all seven of us up the Sani Pass to Lesotho. This pass is listed on Dangerous Roads dot com (let that name sink in for a sec) where they make special note of the carcass of 4x4s that didn’t make it, littering the ravine below. Vick was just elated by the proposal (sarcasm).
The trip up was fantastic, and I’ll let the photo’s do the story telling because it was all about the views. We were well prepared to be amazed by the rugged mountains and stunning views (which it turns out are uncommon due to clouds), but the unexpected joy of the trip was the easy camaraderie we forged with our generous hosts. From the early introduction to Old Brown, to our late night game of Fines Commission I felt like I had experienced an authentic taste of South Africa.
On the way back, I was treated to another unexpected gift. Out in the Midlands Meander, I was introduced to a coffee shop so good it could have been plucked right from the heart of San Francisco. Michael, the proprietor, seemed to recognize me as kin and his first words to me were “We changed the brew profile since then (pointing at the chalkboard), it’s 26s 18g 40ml now.” We bonded over travel, process and pour, and within minutes I was following him into his roasting facility to geek out over green beans. I left with a new friend and enough beans to get us back to the States.
As with almost every experience we have had on this trip, I feel like the interpersonal element is what anchors the breathtaking views, and unbelievable places. These friendships help delineate the thousands of miles into memorable vignettes.