Last year at this time, we had handed the keys to our home off to our renters in Baltimore and made our way to Central PA with a moving truck full of our most meaningful personal possessions! We were nervous, excited, scared, hopeful, grateful, uneasy, confident, and eager all at the same time. We unloaded the moving truck into my childhood bedroom and waited incredibly impatiently for the RV to arrive for pickup in NY! Of course, the “perfect plan” was not a reality and after days and days of crazy stress… we finally accepted the fact that the RV would not be ready for pick up until after we returned from Africa. We turned our focus to Thanksgiving with our families and trying to convince them that despite what the press was telling them, we were not in danger of contracting Ebola! (Yes, although we were going to be thousands of miles from the Ebola cases in Africa… this was actually a really REALLY hard thing for our families and friends to understand!)
Growing up, neither one of us traveled much. Our families took road trips for vacations. We camped more than we stayed in hotels. However, somewhere along the way of growing up and becoming individuals, both Ryan and I developed a craving to see the world! We are curious about the world around us and want to experience the unique cultures that make this world so AMAZING!
Over two years ago, our friend Laura sent an email to her family and friends asking us if we would want to be a part of something near and dear to her heart! She was a Trek Coordinator for BuildOn, an organization that builds schools in developing countries and she wanted to lead a Trek with her family and friends! At the time, going to Africa was something we were excited about, but it was something we thought we would do after we explored other parts of the world… like Europe! Africa was on our dream travel list… but it was definitely not “next” on the list! ;) However, when one of your best friends shares her passion about something super dear to her heart and provides an opportunity to serve a community in a developing country together… it is a no brainer! We were in from the very beginning!
So, for over a year, a group of 10-15 people gathered together through monthly Google Hangout Meetings! Individually fundraising, together we raised over $30,000… enough to build a school in Malawi! December 1, 2014… we were on our way to Africa!
Ryan and I started our trip with a few days in Cape Town, South Africa before meeting up with the rest of the group! We had absolutely NO IDEA what to expect! And honestly, we were so busy getting our home ready to rent, packing our belongings, having a garage sale, buying an RV, moving our belongings, fundraising, planning for the Amazing Marriage Adventure (our year of living in an RV), filing our 501c3 paperwork for Amazing Life Together, and running our Liz and Ryan photography business that we didn’t really have a moment to think! We had absolutely NO IDEA how special and how beautiful Africa really is!
Over the next few days, we are going to share more from our trip to Africa. As we wrap up the most Adventurous year of our lives so far, it only seems appropriate to take some time to truly reflect on the experience that started the adventure! Reliving these photos brings back every single one of the emotions I listed above… and even more! We are grateful, humbled, joy-filled, passionate, open-eyed, and awe-inspired! This world is truly a beautiful place!
We accidentally found ourselves on a Toll Road. We paid about $3.00 to drive this most gorgeous drive we have ever seen! Chapman’s Peak Drive! Best road to get lost on ever!Pure HAPPINESS!Sunrise in Kalk Bay, Cape Town.
Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town is the most colorful magical place in the world! These are just little surfer shacks, but the colors have a way of making a dreamy beautiful beach even more AMAZING!Boulder Beach, South Africa.
Wine Tasting in Cape Town.We dream of owning a space like this where people can gather and hang out on comfy blankets and pillows in the grass with AMAZING food and drink! So incredible!
We drove out to the Wine region… Stellenbosch for an evening! First stop- the laundromat! ;)
That evening we went to dinner in town. In the middle of dinner, the waiter came over to tell us that the power was expected to go out at 8:00 p.m. They were having a blackout to conserve power in the area! They told us not to worry, they would bring us candles! ;) It was the most delightful and eye-opening candlelit dinner we have ever experienced! So tasty too! ;)On our last day back in Cape Town, we went to Neighbour Goods Market! It was such an incredible Food & Craft Market with the largest international food selection! It was a blast and is definitely a must do if you find yourself in Cape Town!That evening, we went on a full-moonlit hike at Lion’s Head! AMAZING! We read a few reviews online and many said it was an easy hike! After about 10 feet straight up, we realized we are quite out of shape! ;) We actually were late arriving because the GPS went to the wrong location! Once we actually found the correct place, we joined hundreds of other people who hiked it up as quickly as possible to make sure we made it for the sun setting and the moon rising! It was absolutely incredible and unlike anything else we have ever seen/done before! So incredible!South Africa blew away every expectation we had for Africa! We honestly had no idea what to expect… in fact, we expected everything to be like the Shanty Town in the bottom left picture! (There are a few Shanty Towns in the area, but throughout our few days in Cape Town, we only saw 1 or 2!) We had absolutely no idea how incredibly beautiful South Africa really is! It is gorgeous and we would definitely go back again! Next stop… Malawi!