Sliding Doors

(About the ability to change fate, Puyuhuapi & Medellin  – 26/10/2018)

Sliding Doors is an interesting movie. From, at least, the reflection is trying to make. The film alternates between two parallel lifelines, based on the two paths the central character’s life could take depending on whether she catches a train or not, and causing different outcomes in her life.

If you want to see the movie do not continue reading this post, as I will reveal how it ends. Otherwise, keep reading.

In April this year, in one of the most remote towns in Chile, I rescued a tiny little kitten giving her the possibility of survival (http://www.libonotos.com/2018/04/06/kitten-hero/ ). Her name was Felipa. I was very pleased to follow her thriving process and to know she was happy and doing well. I thought I did something good. I thought I made a difference.

Felipa on the day she was rescued

The couple who adopted the cat, David & Margaret wrote me few days ago. Over the past months, Felipa was doing very well, becoming a playful happy cat. But one morning, Felipa’s mood changed. Suddenly she lost appetite and playfulness. Her mood deteriorated during the day. In the evening, Felipa’s sight became lost, as she was not fully present in the moment. She did not eat at all. At that point, David & Margaret decided to go the vet first thing in the morning. For that they had to take a bus to the nearest town.

They decided to comfort Felipa in the best way possible until the morning. So Felipa spent the night at their room, in the bed, fully warm. That was the best way Felipa could spend the night.

When they woke up in the morning, Felipa was not in this world anymore. She could not make it through the night. Whitin 24h of the first symptom, she was gone.

Just like in the movie, where the two parallel lifelines that occurred (depending on whether she catched a train or not) ended up merging at the same point, the fate of Felipa could not be changed. Her fate was not to stay in this planet. God knows if that little creature will come back to this world or to another world, in the body of another cat or more evolved creature. But what is certain is that she accomplished her mission in this planet.

Perhaps I did not make a difference in her fate, just delayed by 6 months. Still believe was worth the effort. And I am, at least, relieved that I contributed to make her path to her final fate a happier one.

Be in peace wherever you are, Felipa.

Grinder encounters (again)

(A happy family reunion, Peru – 01/08/2018)

Undoubtedly, Grinder is a useful tool for a gay man when traveling alone. Despite its toxicity at times (too often though), it allows you to contact people. And, like everywhere, there is bad people but also good people.

I always believed that every person in your life has a meaning. Every encounter has a purpose. The tricky thing is to know that purpose. The beauty of my trip is that I am finding out about that purpose quite quickly and I am experiencing how beautiful that purpose is.

During my stay in Lima, and despite being alone for many days in a shitty accommodation (until I met my old friend in the last 2 days of my stay in the city), I only met one guy in grinder: Leandro.

Leandro is from Venezuela, and like many of his country fellows, he had to leave the country to venture a better life somewhere else, in this case Peru. We went for lunch together and a coffee afterwards. And although we had a nice conversation and time together, we did not meet again. In that respect, it was an unconventional meet under the standards that normally apply on the app. It was not a date, it was not a hook-up. Just two people sharing their life experiences.

That afternoon I had to move to a completely different part of the town and entered a period of introspection, so I did not meet nor speak to Leandro again.

For a strange reason, few weeks later when I was in Colombia, I messaged him. Leandro was trying to reunite the money to bring his family to Peru, as the situation in Venezuela deteriorates by the day.  At this point I had an impulse: that was the purpose of our meeting. Leandro never asked me anything, but I offered him the money for the passage of one of his family members.

I have been in the same situation, where someone who barely knew me helped with in a generous manner, with no questions, without expecting something back. So it was my turn to return some of that. I want to believe good people are out there, everywhere. I want to believe social media and apps are not shallow places only. Good will and energy is everywhere. And the more you give, the more you receive.

So I am glad I could help this family to have a better life. Good luck to all of you in this new phase! God bless you all, Leandro.

One day there will be no borders, no customs, no closed countries…. We all will be people of the world and no one will have to leave his place because there is no hope or opportunities due to the incompetence and confrontation between men.

The painting kids in Sucre

(Sucre city center – 31/05/2018)

In the centre of Sucre, near the market, you can see the new trend for some people to earn some Bolivianos. Kids go onto the pavement and replicate drawings they copy from a piece of paper. I have to say that some of them are quite good and draw better than myself.

It touches my heart to see such young kids forced (by the circumstances) to work at such early age…. Part of me wanted to support them but at the same time I am convinced that giving money to the kid will perpetrate that activity…. a kid should be playing!

So I bought 5 sets of playing cards (the Simpsons, dragon ball, etc….) and some sweets and gave them to the kids I found on my way….  Their gratitude and smile made my evening. Although I feel a bit guilty as I distracted them from completing the drawing….

In the pic, these two brothers are comparing what type of cards they got.

Kitten Hero

(Rescuing a fighter, Puyuhuapi, Chile – 06/04/2018)

I am on the conviction that there aren’t different types of life. Human life is no different than animal life. Life is life. All live beings are a portion of the primitive source. We all are one single life from which each live being is a portion. We all part of the same thing. We all are connected.

During my trip across South America, I have seen lots of street animals. So when I have come across to these animals, I could not help the impulse of interacting with them. I believe that animal interaction brings us closer to The Source, and therefore, make us more humans. We are more human when we get closer to that source.

And some species are so related to humans, that we (or at least I) can sense their emotions. When you look into the eyes of a dog or a cat, you can feel what emotion the animal is feeling. For that reason, although during this trip I have been helping and comforting people, I have also been comforting animals I found on my way.

Among all pets, I have to admit I have a soft spot for cats. Such a fierce type of animal (feline) in such a small size that makes it vulnerable as well… what a cute combination. The same way I like a man, fierce but also soft and tender…… But let’s go back to today’s story.

I found Felipa (that is the name of today’s cat) in the most remote place one could imagine. Puyuhuapi is a remote town in the Chilean Patagonia. Apart from snow, rain, wind and cold is hardly remote to find anything else in that town.

That evening we decided to cook our dinner in the camper van of my travel mates. We found a quiet spot outside town where we could cook, dine and drink. All with beautiful views of the lake front of us.

No longer after we started to cook, the smell of our food brought 3 extra guests to our setting. Bamboo and Fiona (two dogs) and Felipa, a small fragile kitten. Leaving aside my soft spot for cats, it was obvious Felipa was in a more fragile situation than Bamboo and Fiona. The dogs were grown up and look relatively healty. Felipa looked rough and shaky. She was tiny.

Poor Bamboo was so cute but scared of human touch… Obviously some humans hurt him and he associated human interaction with beating. It took a lot of work for Alessandra (my travel mate) to overcome that fear and make the dog trust human touch.

Fiona, though the biggest and more grown up pet, was a selfish needy animal. Always trying to get in between any of us and the other animals. So someone had to constantly distract here so the we could take care of the other two: Bamboo and Felipa.

Felipa and her fragility melted my heart. I could see she was struggling. So I focused on feeding her with the leftovers of the tuna cans. At some point, jealous Fiona tried to attack Felipa and steal the food from her. The reaction of such a little kitten was admirable. She hissed and show her nails out, confronting a dog it was at least 6 times bigger than her.

‘Oh, She’s a fighter’ – I told my travel mates while we watched the scene.

At that point I decided I could not leave her alone.

So after the dinner, I took Felipa in my arms with me and decided to bring her to the hostel I was staying. Something will work out. Hostel owners might love having a cat around. But hostel owner’s daughter hated cats. She had kind of mental breakdown conceiving the idea little Felipa was around.

‘Oh, Felipa… things are not looking good for you’ – told my little kitten

Took her out with me and asked around in town until someone told me there was a house with a couple having lots of cats. Despite the vague indications, I managed to find it.

David and Margaret were the owners. They were living with another 8 cats. I did not have to say much. When they saw Felipa, immediately took her on board.

‘If there’s space for 8, there’s space for 9’, they said.

And just like that Felipa jumped free towards the food bowl. Brief after, she comforted herself in a warm place, under the stove. And a big cat in the house greeted her.

Seeing that, reassured me she finally found a safe place she could stay. And just like that, despite how fond I became of that little kitten, I let her go. I greeted David and Margaret, thanking them for such a generous gesture.

Turned my back and left. I could swear that I felt the connection with such a tiny creature. That our energies were synced. I felt the closeness. That we both were connected to the same source.

That night fluffy paws were in my dreams. And a big smile in my face. And I felt a bit more human.

Diamonds in Johannesburg

(A hidden gem in the city of diamonds, Johannesburg – 04/02/2018)

Sometimes rewarding experiences and wonderful people just arrive inadvertently. And, although these occasions are rare events, they are good reminders that the universe is full of wisdom and beauty.

I bumped into Marius and Reuben’s path at Clifton beach. As they were sunbathing next to me, we politely exchanged few words. They were leaving soon and my plan was to stay at the beach reading and enjoying the quietness and the beauty of the sunset. So we agreed to meet up and have a sundowner at my beloved Manhattans.

Few hours later, we met at the bar. We had an enjoyable evening and interesting conversation. My experience with having a sabbatical time and time for myself resonated very well in them, specially in Reuben as he went through a similar experience. The process of going through a sabbatical is a complex one. There are ups and downs, things that you expect and things that you don’t, feelings of adequacy and feelings of guilt… so having the opportunity to come across with people who have done the journey is a precious gift.

Marius and Reuben had to travel back to Johannesburg the next day, as they needed to return to work: a beautiful hotel & nature resort in the outskirts of the city. Visiting Johannesburg was in my travel plan, so I agreed to meet then in few weeks, once I start my itinerant part of my journey. They invited me to visit them at the hotel, so I could also know and enjoy the environment in which they work.

Generosity is not a core value of this society. So I have to admit, that I initially took their invitation with a pinch of salt. However, when I communicated to them the dates I would be in Johannesburg, they immediately arranged my stay at their hotel: The Thaba Eco Hotel.

The Thaba Eco Hotel is surrounded by the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, and it is beautifully built in tune with the site. It features elegant suites, a swimming pool, a spa, a restaurant, cocktail bar and function and conference facilities. My time there was one of the best hotel experiences I had. Everything in the place was supreme. The concept, the layout, the decor, the site, the facilities, the nature, the restaurant, the bar… Everything was made with passion and attention to detail.

After checking myself in my own lodge, I briefly went for a walk around to make time until Marius and Reuben could meet me. The place welcomed me with an explosion of life around me: birds, insects and little animals were bursting around me. It was sunset time and the sky rewarded me with one of the most beautiful sunsets.

One hour later, Marius and Reuben greeted in one of the bars al fresco, where we had a drink. To continue the evening with an exquisite meal at the restaurant. As per our previous time in Cape Town, we had a meaningful rich and deep conversation about life and personal growth. The power and need of being present, the life shift that happens to us when we reach the second half of our lives, the spiritual awakening…. Supreme food combined with supreme wisdom. What a gift that evening was for me. It was as if the Universe was giving me a blessing for my decision on my sabbatical and Marius and Reuben the messengers.

We arranged to meet in the morning for a walk in the Klipriviersberg nature reserve. So just right before 7 am Reuben was waiting for me outside the restaurant. What came after wasn’t something I envisaged. The nature reserve was really big. Something that was created, enlarged and preserved by the vision and good work than Reuben and its team had.

We had a good 1.5h walk. During that walk, we came across numerous plants and trees (I forgot their names) and a big variety of animals, including the Gnu (or Bouwildebeeste) and zebras. We managed to get close to the Zebras. Actually it has been the closest I have been to one of them. All of that combined with a conversation where I learnt a lot about the history of South Africa, especially from the period where Afrikaans communities and English colonizers ‘collided’.

I completed my experience with a superb breakfast at the restaurant. Marius was running a staff meeting there, where employees were appraised and rewarded for their good work. Another rewarding thing, to see core values of true leadership.

After returning to my lodge, I packed my bags and met Marius and Reuben for saying goodbye. Johannesburg was my farewell to beautiful South Africa, and the universe rewarded me with a wonderful experience for it.

What an inspirational place Thaba Eco Hotel was. A beautiful gem in a city still dealing with unresolved issues arising from the end of the Apartheid in South Africa. Passion, integrity, wisdom, tenacity, knowledge and care are the values behind the creation of that place, and you can see and feel those all over the place. The values than its creators and managers show everyday in their work and lives.

If you ever travel to Johannesburg, you should really visit the place.

Thank you Marius. Thank you Reuben. For the generosity. For sharing with me such a beautiful place and such beautiful values and knowledge.

Burning Shame

(About the wheel of pain, Cape Town – 18/01/2018)

Every person should read this book. Gay and straight people. ‘The Velvet Rage’ by Alan Downs is one of the most powerful readings I recently did.

The book describes with astonishing precision a mechanism I have been trapped in. Something that it is not exclusive to myself but that applies to every person who receives a constant negative reinforcement/message during his life from a non-inclusive/hostile environment. Something than the book defines as ‘shame’ which is described as the feeling that some of us are flawed individuals. That in essence there is something about us that is at least a disadvantage if not something that makes us defective.

In this case, and that is where this book focuses, the fact that someone is gay and has to live constantly with the feeling of being essentially flawed. But the same applies with other discrimination factors in this society: race, physical appearance or social class for example (hence the importance of understanding this topic). Things that define who you are, who are intrinsically part of you (you cannot change those things) for which you have been constantly receiving a negative appraisal or reaction from the people around you.

The book touches many issues but the backbone of the narrative explains how the pursuit of success and perfection (excelling in all the aspects of your life: career, partners, physical shape, lifestyle, etc.) is a compensating mechanism for the feeling of flawless and shame (that’s the term the book uses) that most of us have been storing inside throughout our upbringing within a non-inclusive (and most times hostile) environment.

There are 3 phases clearly identified. So after drowning ourselves in ‘shame’ during phase 1, most of us enter phase 2 which is defined by being driven by this overcompensating mechanism to show the world we are not the flawed human beings we grew up thinking of. Obviously that mechanism doesn’t lead to anywhere… We spin the wheel of compensation compulsively without knowing we are doing so, until it crashes and we get ready to enter phase 3. The phase where we shift the attention towards ourselves, towards who we really are. A phase where we source joy and validation from the relationship we have with ourselves instead of obtaining those from external sources.

Compensating for shame was one of the mechanisms behind the unsustainable life style that lead me into my sabbatical. A mechanism in the shape of the pursuit of ‘success’ and proving myself above all, bringing my life to a collapsing edge. Same scenario as uncontrolled money driven capitalism would lead this planet: a breaking point after all resources are burnt. The therapy, support, readings and reflection I had during the months preceding my departure made me understand that. Also, made to realize that the compensating mechanism and other behaviours I had, were just a way for me to burn that pain and shame I had inside. There was lots of non-acknowledged (and therefore, unprocessed) pain inside of me that was the fuel for all the toxic mechanisms that occurred in my life.

Becoming aware of the pain and understanding the acting mechanism, although not easy process, was liberating. Once you stop the spinning wheel of burning shame, you start to see your life and things in a different manner.

I said few times in this blog how privileged I am. Having the opportunity, time and money to do such reflective work on myself is not a thing everyone can do. As I mentioned when I wrote about homeless people, many humans do not have a safety net or cushion to mitigate the crash when it comes. That’s why I started the trip with the idea of giving something back and sharing the knowledge I have acquired during the process.

The issue of burning shame is very present in gay men, although many other groups participate of the same mechanisms. And society tends to portray gay people in a non very healthy manner. There is a bad press about certain behaviours many manifest. But behind any destructive behaviour that our society condemns, there is a person suffering, a person that is burning pain. Pain received by the environment.  People in LGBT community carry a huge amount of internalised pain, in most of the cases, without themselves noticing. So, rather than playing the victim card,  it is time of taking responsibility. Us, as society. It is time to uncover the mask and see the real face. To identify the pain we collectively create.

Since I read the book, I have been discussing the subject and with friends and other people I met on my way. It was more like an informal thing, based on the spur of the moment. But when I was in Cape Town, I felt I had to do bit more than feeding homeless. So I embraced the idea of doing something for gay men/women who were in a difficult situation.

Pride Shelter, 1 Molteno Rd, Oranjezicht, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa         https://www.pridesheltertrust.com/

Pride Shelter in Cape Town hosts gay men/women who are in a situation of vulnerability and/or exclusion. People who had been attacked or expelled out of their places by their family or neighbours (just for being gay), people who had lost their job (and therefore income) because they were gay, people who got trapped in drug addictions leading them into the loss of their jobs, house, health and/or families…. The list is vast, but if you dig down the history of everyone there, the common link is the pain that everyone carries. A pain that is originated, ultimately, by the rejection and hostility that people around them had because they were gay.

So I contacted the shelter, they asked me how did I think I could help them and I offered myself to have a talk with the residents on the topic of  ‘Burning shame .

I am not an expert in gay issues. I am not a therapist. I am just a person who has been through quite a lot and learnt very valuable lessons from it. And I just wanted to share that.

So we had the talk. And it went well. They listened to me and I listened to them as well. All I did was to tell everyone in the most honest manner, what have I been through. And despite that in appearance my history might look different from theirs, I made them see that I am not different from any of them. I was processing same feelings, just that I had luckier circumstances and better environment. We were all burning pain that comes from the feeling of disconnection and rejection from the environment around us.

Everytime environment makes someone feel inferior, unworthy, deffective, inmoral, inappropriate or just not as good as the others, we are wheeling the wheel of pain. And pain is at the root of any destructive behaviour we have towards ourselves or towards others. The more destructive the behaviour, the more pain is behind that.

It is time for society to understand that. It is time to stop the wheel.

Ladles of Love

(A lesson learnt, Cape Town – 17/12/2017)

Sabbatical years are a gift and a wonderful thing to experience. But the reasons behind the decision of taking such a major step are not so pleasant most of the times. Sabbaticals on people who are on their mid life transition are normally the result of reaching a point of exhaustion or no go. A point where a change is needed.

My developing circumstances leading to my sabbatical were quite hard. But I will cut the story short.

Our lives are cyclical. Things start and end. But the cadence of the different cycles embedded is different. Some parts of your life end at the same moment than other areas of your life thrive. You could end up a job or being unemployed but your love life is booming. Or your family life. Or you could go through a divorce, but your work life is at its peak. So there is always something that keeps you going.

That was the case for myself in the past. But for some reason, my entire life crumbled in the period preceding my sabbatical. Age, work, health, love….. everything just crumbled front of me and a new start was needed. There was a clear rift in the timeline of my life, from which everything has to be new after it.

Like in a storm, clouds built up quite quickly. And torrential rain takes you almost unprepared. If you are a weather expert, maybe you could guess what was brewing in the background. But for most of us, it is hard to notice these things until they are imminent.

So I could not foresee the storm that came onto me. Although I do have now a clear understanding of what happened in my life. But it is only after you hit bottom that you react and start to process the events. The period preceding my sabbatical was therefore, dark and painful. There was lots of pain I was burning and processing, most of the times without noticing.

During that difficult time I received support. Lawyers, doctors, therapists and friends. Some of the help I paid for, some of the help was free. In both cases, I was extremely lucky to be in a system that could offer me that free help and to be in a system where I was able to afford the help I needed.

We, first world citizens, and middle classes are extremely lucky. What we think is just a basic service, is a luxury and an out of reach possibility for the majority of the population in the world. And when, for some reason, we fall off the cliff and crumble down, we have lots of cushions and safety nets around us to mitigate the crash. The majority of the people in this world do not have that.

I was very aware of this when I started my sabbatical. And because of that, I wanted to give something back. It was not a trip of pampering myself with all the luxuries my money could afford, but a journey of knowledge, spiritual growth and giving as well. That is why I wanted to do some volunteering. And South Africa was perfect for it.

Although I tried to sort out volunteering work before my arrival, the fact was that nothing was arranged when I arrived to Cape Town. So after my initial days trying to resolve my accommodation and settling, I started to search for some volunteering work again.

I cannot remember how I came across to Ladles of Love. Someone mentioned it and I searched for the Facebook page. They provide food for the homeless people of Cape Town 3-4 times a week. There is a specific location for each of the days, so they cover the entire city. No qualifications or experience is required. Neither a commitment. You just turn up the day you want to help. That’s all.

I have to admit it was not what I initially expected. I wanted to work with kids. But on the other hand, the setting for Ladles of Love was perfect. Easy and flexible. And in any case, I could go there and help until something else is found.

My experience with Ladles of Love lasted 6 weeks, until the end of my time in Cape Town. Feeding the homeless people taught me many things.

When we see a homeless person in the street, we tend to see him/her as an isolated case. Hard to place that person into perspective. But when you see 200 homeless people in a single moment, you dramatically change your perception of it.

In these moments, you could see the whole spectrum and all the phases of the journey of social exclusion. From people who you could not guess they are in such a situation if it wasn’t because they attended to the event, to people that have gone so far in the road of being homeless and socially excluded, that you could hardly feel that they belong to this world.

Obviously it takes time to get use to the contact with these people. Initially you feel grossed and approach them in a ‘colonial’ way. You are the wealthy man doing a charitable act towards people of another world. But as you get more and more exposed to them and started to see the process behind (how pretty ‘normal’ these people looked at the beginning of the journey to end up transforming themselves in almost ghostly creatures), you end up feeling that there isn’t much difference between you and them.

They are not aliens from another planets. They are just humans who were born in a more fragile and hostile environment than you. Some of them never fell off the cliff, because they never had the chance to be up. But some of them, had their life crumbling. Same as me. But with the difference that there wasn’t a safety net to cushion them.

When I looked into their eyes, I saw the same thing there is inside of me. A soul burning and processing its pain. And their pain, is our pain. Society tends to make us believe we are isolated individuals. But we are not.

My attitude towards the volunteering work shifted as I progressed through it. I preferred to do the tasks that entailed more contact and interaction with them. I know that I did all of that from the comfort that my first world citizen position provided me. At the end of these feeding sessions, I went back to the comfort of my nice accommodation to eat kind of food that these people would never eat.

And at some point you feel that you need to stop your exposure to it because it is something that drains your spirit. So much unnecessary pain that we create and it is impossible to help everyone. My actions would not change the fate of these people (that is the hardest thing to process), just mitigate their suffering.

I learnt that I am not different than them. That is the most valuable lesson I got from it. I am just privileged person living in a system that enables the comfort of some people at the cost of the sacrifice of others.

Silent Angels

(About the caring network , Cape Town – 12/12/2017)

Everyday, everywhere there are silent angels around us. Kind spirits next to us that help us to get through things. Sometimes they help you in a dramatic situation, sometimes they are to provide the back up and stabilising role that ensure certain phases or events of your life are going smoothly.

They are discreet. Sometimes so discreet that we don’t acknowledge their role and how beneficial is for us. Perhaps they are even performing that role without noticing themselves. And in the same way, we might become silent angels ourselves towards other people.

Some of them are already present in your life and their role gets activated in certain circumstances. And some of them just appear in your life at an specific moment, just to take a different path when circumstances change.

They are around us all the time, but in order to see them it is important to sync with love and kindness. The more you are able to synch with, the more you are able to receive and give. The law of attraction they say?

The cards were laid for me almost from the moment I arrived to Cape Town. The people who would be important for me, the people who would play a role during my time in Cape Town providing me with a point of anchorage, were present from the beginning. As if everything was prepared and waiting for me.

Prior my advent I worried so much trying to sort things for my stay in Cape Town… all in vain. None of the arrangements I tried to resolve, apart from my plane ticket, were resoluted by the day before my arrival. But it turned out that things magically deployed themselves, like in a domino effect, as soon as I landed in the city.

So from the initial moment I arrived to Cape Town, a group of silent angels were taking care of me. Willem (I already have written a post about him), Astrid, Lizanne, Qusai, Retha, Verushka, Jako…. each of them with a different role, but all of them a group of people creating a network or love and care around me.

Astrid and I were meant to connect. Firstly, she was in law relative of Willem. Secondly, she was an architect and good friend of a work colleague of mine (Matthew Barac). And thirdly, and most odd, turns out she was my next door neighbour when I found accommodation for the time I had to wait till I could move to Willem’s place. How odd is that?

So as a good neighbour, Astrid offered her support during my time in Cape Town. She gave me keys of her house in case I had an emergency and to cover the transitional period between places. Also, she offered her car and she provided me guidance on what type of volunteering and help I could do while in Cape Town.

Astrid was always there for me. Always happy to meet up and chat. We shared about architecture, travelling and spiritual growth.

I knew Lizanne since 2014, when she was living in London. Being the sister of my former partner is not an easy role, as it is not always easy to isolate us from the shadow of him. But we did very well. Lizanne was constantly in the background, checking up on me on regular intervals and providing support. Lizanne’s mom, Retha was also in Cape Town during the festive season, so we all spend good time together. We did excursions, we went for meals and we went for drinks. I met some of her friends. We had spiritual conversations about being present, about meditation and philosophy. Just to align with the things that were brewing inside my spirit at the moment. We created our own space.

Qusai and I meet on my fist day out. We went for a drink around the stadium area and since that moment we became friends. He introduced me to his friends, showed me places to hike, beaches around the city, restaurants and bars to go. He hosted me during few days on the transition from one accommodation and the other…. He cooked delicious meals, went to parties together and made me see me how beautiful and pleasant life can be in Cape Town.

And same as them, everyone else was playing a role in during my time in Cape Town. So despite I spent a great deal of time on my own, everything I needed was given to me from day one. Everything is present for you from the initial moment. Why worry?

I am fond of the beautiful moments I shared with all of you. At the end of the day, we are just in a universe where particles are in constant movement and collision, which is what produces interactions. Your energy is what channels your path and which particles you will find in your way. Attraction is what it makes particles collide and meet.

Hopefully we will cross paths again and we will keep sharing.

 

 

Cape Town Angels

(First steps, Cape Town – 06/12/2017)

The beginning of my trip was not easy. To the anxiety that leaving everything behind for a kind of trip I would have never imagined, there was the fact that the day before my flight to Cape Town I still didn’t know where to stay.

My plan was to stay in South Africa for two months and do some volunteering work, hoping to get accommodation in exchange for my work. But despite my research and emails to numerous organizations, nothing materialized.

As I approached every South African first line contact I had (work colleagues, my ex partner and his family, friends) with no successful result, the day before my departure I decided to reach further and approach other people I didn’t know that well but with ties with South Africa. ‘Someone might know someone’, – I thought.

Willem, who is from South Africa but lives in Switzerland, was one of these people I asked at that point. We briefly met in London when we were introduced by third people. So although I had the assurance he was a fine man, we were just social acquaintances.

Strike of luck, Willem answered me 40min I was going to board into my plane.  ‘I’m in Cape Town myself over the next days, so you can stay at mine for few days till you find your way‘ -he replied. What a relief to have a safe place to start my journey!

Upon arrival, I took an Uber straight to Willem’s place. A beautiful flat in the seafront with my own bedroom and bathroom! What a start of my journey.

What a nice gesture to host someone that you briefly know. I have done that in the past, so staying with Willem was something I was comfortable with. Willem was due to return to Europe in few days. But during my days with him there were some things he had to do while there, specially maintaining the property. So I went along with it and helped where possible.

This was the first of a series of beautiful connections that would come along my trip. Outside the fuzz of hectic London and Europe, we had the time (9000km away) to chat and share our life experiences. Both recovering from difficult years (his motorbike accident, my massive burn out at work with its subsequent life crumble), we had lots to share and managed to see the real person inside each other.

Knowing about his life, his past, the challenges he went through allowed me to reassure what a beautiful person Willem was. So I was grateful I spent few days at his place, have an easy start of my time in Cape Town and share time together.

So my search for accommodation was not easy. And the kind of places I had to stay until, were not particularly nice.

But my luck and Willem’s generosity went further, and few days after he offered me to stay at his place once his family would leave the flat after the festive season. So I would need to find accommodation for 1 month until I could move to his place.

What a fortunate start of my trip, to find such a generous soul and great place to stay. They say Universe is wisdom and returns what you give. And although I did a similar thing for someone in the past, this reassured me that this trip would not be only about exploring and ‘leisuring‘ but also about giving and connecting. Kindness would be a recurring theme during this trip.

The Universe is wisdom and places the right people at the right time to enable our trip. Thank you Willem for your generosity and for teach me the first lesson in this journey.