And then that TripAdvisor thing happened

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Last week I received an e-mail from TripAdvisor which said, “We’ve compiled a list of the best adventure bloggers to follow and we have included your blog”.

Say what now?

I checked the e-mail address multiple times and it legitimately said blah blah @tripadvisor.com. My Sherlock Google Holmes fingers went into overdrive, because how on earth did this happen? It’s TripAdvisor! But everything checked out.

And just as I clicked on that “reply” button, I saw it, in the e-mail subject line shattering that sliver of is-this-really-for-me-emotion I had: Going Anywhere Slowly a Best Adventure Blogger – TripAdvisor.

I’ve heard many alternative names for my blog before, and thanks to the South African television travel series from a few years ago, Going Nowhere Slowly is by far the most popular name that gets mixed up with my blog’s name (something that cleverly enough, did not at all come to mind when I started my blog in 2012).

But there in the subject line I was Going Anywhere Slowly.

From somewhere to nowhere to anywhere.

I replied with a, “Just wanted to make sure that you have the right person here because your title said Going Anywhere Slowly and I am Going Somewhere Slowly”, plus a few more words.

The reply came, “That was a typo on my end, not too sure why I mixed up ‘Anywhere’ and ‘Somewhere’ when I emailed you, but yes we are featuring your blog Going Somewhere Slowly. Sorry about that!”

I wanted to say, “Uhm, lady, your e-mail address ends with @tripadvisor.com, seriously, you don’t need to apologise” but instead I got mixed up in a lame word jumble of thank you, appreciate, grateful, honoured, wow, thank you, thrilled, excited.

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Cycling Indonesia Lombok
gamtoos-sunset

After I’ve sent my answer to the question, “What was your biggest thrill ever”, I still thought there might be a chance that the piece that they are putting together will never make it into cyber space.

Not because I doubted TripAdvisor, but seriously, how on earth did this happen?

But then the article went live a few days ago and when I looked at the other incredible, massive and influential bloggers who got listed too my “how on earth did this happen”, turned into another word jumble of thank you, appreciate, grateful, honoured, wow, thank you, thrilled, excited.

I still don’t know how it all happened because the adventures of 2016 have been a bit too peaceful for my liking; and while I would love to blame the long working hours and my crazy schedule the truth of the matter is that I’m to blame because I just didn’t make enough time for myself (something I am adamant to do in 2017).

But while I might not know how it all happened, I do know how it all started…

When it comes to travelling I talk about my parents often and how their influence and selfless ways of showing me places in South Africa and giving me experiences, have impacted me as a traveller.

They are also partly the root cause of any crazy idea I’ve ever had.

In 2012 when I told them that I wanted to do a solo bicycle trip in Indonesia their response was, “that’s wonderful”, and then I heard the story of how my dad cycled from Port Elizabeth to Storms River Mouth while he was still in high school.

And while other people warned me about the dangers of doing something similar on South African roads, they drove past me and waved me goodbye as I cycled out of Knysna on my Garden Route journey.

Anje Bicycle Tent

They kick started the adventurous fever when they gave me backpack for my 11th birthday and said, “We are hiking the Otter trail”.

At the time of the announcement I did not exactly jump up and down with excitement but it didn’t take me that long to realise how relaxing a few pearls of sweat could be at a steady pace.

Long distance hiking trails quickly became a vacation-tradition and we did the one after the other.

Each trail were made up of kilometers of memories wrapped up in bonfires, two-minute noodles, river-crossings, blisters, paper-thin mattresses and the condensed milk tubes, Dirkies, for extra energy; all pleasant experiences, except for the Harkerville trail which left me scarred for life and close to death thanks to the fact that I had to hold on to wet, slippery chains for dear life with the depths of the ocean and gushing crashing waves below me.

Or at least, that’s how the mind of a 13-year-old experienced it (hence the dramatic version).

Adventure is different for each person, and I admit: I’m not always the most adventurous person. Do not tell me to do quick thrills or jump into the ocean (the immensity of that thing is bloody scary) , but tell me to cycle for a whole day and again the next day and the next and I’ll gladly do it. My idea of adventure lies in the sweat, the long trek, the distance and the endurance of knowing that each day – no matter how shitty that hill or road – will eventually come to an end; I can either quit because it seems too much or too long or I can enjoy it and suffer through it slowly with a smile.

I might not know how this TripAdvisor thing happened, but I do know how it all started and I do know that 2017 will be one big adventure, a real one, a Going Somewhere Slowly one.

To read the TripAdvisor post, Top Adventure Bloggers Discuss Their Biggest Thrills, click here.

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