Guest Post: A Home Away From Home

18 Oct 2012|

Hello readers of Ellie Love!!!
I was so excited when Caley asked me to guest post for her while she and her hubby are off to Victoria Falls on their anniversary trip!
Jurgen and I at Victoria Falls in 2008
First things first, my name’s Jenna and I blog over at A Home Away From Home about my life as an American expat living in South Africa.  South Africa initially started out for me as a six month study abroad experience in 2008, but after I met and fell in love with a local my life was forever changed and somehow I still find myself here today.  In fact, this past August Jurgen proposed and I’m just beginning to delve into the fun and challenge that comes with planning an international wedding!

Since Caley and her husband happen to be off exploring the beautiful Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, I thought that today I would tell you a funny story from my own experience at Victoria Falls back in 2008!
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To make a long story short, I visited Victoria Falls back in June 2008 as part of a larger trip I was taking up to Tanzania.  Jurgen and I had only been dating for about four months at the time and since his birthday happened to fall over the week that we would be in Victoria Falls, I convinced him to join us for this segment of our trip.  It turns out that it would just be Jurgen, myself, my friend Amber, and two Canadians, since the rest of our tour decided to pull out of the Zimbabwe leg of the trip due to the election riots {although that’s a story for another day}.
The five of us quickly discovered an adorable little backpackers in the centre of town and had no trouble securing a booking for the weekend since the whole of Victoria Falls seemed to be completely deserted of tourists.  {Seriously though… casinos, restaurants, luxury hotels… everything was completely empty – it felt like a total ghost town.}  We were promptly informed by the owners that there was a curfew from nightfall due to the elections and that we should head back to the backpackers each night as the sun began to set.
This only presented one problem for us {and by us I mostly mean Jurgen} – the Euro Cup happened to be showing during that time and our backpackers didn’t have a t.v.  So, despite all odds Jurgen and I decided to wander around the pitch black streets of the town, searching for somewhere {anywhere!} to watch the soccer.  We eventually stumbled upon another backpackers with a tv and shortly after that Amber and the two Canadians phoned a taxi and joined us.
After an exciting match, a few laughs, and a couple of drinks, it was time to head in for the evening.  Jurgen and I suggested that we walk back to our backpackers as a group, but the other three party poopers weren’t having it and insisted that we should take a taxi.  As the taxi navigated the dark streets through town {there were no working street lights}, our driver made a right-hand turn and as his headlights rounded the bend he suddenly slammed on the breaks and let out a huge gasp.  Just a few metres in front of us was a massive bull elephant strolling down the paved streets of a well-established neighborhood towards our car!  As I reached for my camera the driver shook his finger at me and shouted “this is very dangerous – no time for pictures!!!”  At that he threw his car into reverse and sped off in the other direction, while the rest of us couldn’t stop laughing in disbelief at what we had just seen.
Thank goodness that we had decided to take a taxi!!!  

Truth be told, had we walked back in the dark we probably wouldn’t have seen the elephant until we were directly in front of it.  Let’s just say that I quickly withdrew my party pooper statement and had a complete change of opinion regarding the utility of taxis.

To this day, Jurgen and I still often laugh about “that time in Zimbabwe when we almost ran into an elephant” and we often reminisce about the weekend we spent in Victoria Falls as a whole.  Despite the curfew, the mishaps, the absence of food {there was a food shortage in Zimbabwe then}, the unreliable transport {a piece of the engine fell out of one of our taxis while we were driving one day}, and the general lack of amenities, Zimbabwe continues to be the best trip we’ve ever taken together and we dream of going back one day soon. 
I think it’s probably because all those “mishaps” only added to the entire adventure and provided us with a lifetime of stories that we will be able to tell our children one day.  I consistently seem to find that spontaneous, unplanned travel combined with fun and flexible people provides the best travel experiences time and time again.
And my #1 travel tip: Travel with someone you love!!!

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Thanks so much for having me today Caley!  
Happy Anniversary and I can’t wait to hear all about your trip!

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ABOUT ME
HELLO + WELCOME
I'm Caley a thirty-something wife & mummy from Durban, South Africa. Ellie Love Blog is all about me, my family and our beautiful life.

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