#TBT Facebook friends and ‘the best of Capetown in 24 hours tour’

capetown

Since I don’t have any love stories too tell you (yet), Let me tell you a great story about one of my friendships.
The opinions about Facebook and friendships are divided. Some people may say Facebook creates ‘fake’ digital friendships and distance people from the real world.
I don’t really agree on that. When you live abroad it’s a good way to stay in contact with friends and family back home, for me it even created an online friendship which brought me to Capetown!

We are basically from the same place in Holland and know the same people. We’re in contact since 2013 on Facebook, but we never met each other in person.
Like me, Salwa loves traveling, so you can guess.. we were never at the same place at the same time.

Last year Salwa went for her internship to Capetown, by which she created a new mission for me: getting a flight to Capetown!
September the moment was there, I got my Capetown flight. Like it was friendship at first sign with Salwa, it was love at first sign with Capetown. As a cabin crew our layovers are short, mostly around 24 hours. So Salwa had a mission too, organise ‘the best of Capetown in 24 hours tour’. She definitely did a great job on that, so I would love to share our experiences with you!

Lunch at Long Street
Long Street, a major street in the city center of Capetown full of bohemian and urban lunchrooms and hangouts.
We went to this little cute restaurant called ‘Café Mozart’, it’s located in one of the side streets. They have this amazing buffet concept. You could fill up your plate from the buffet once and pay basically nothing. Okay, you pay a little..but the food is worth way more than that, trust me.

Visit the most famous part of Capetown ‘Table Mountain’

After a good lunch we took a taxi to the famous Table mountain. You can’t visit Capetown and skip this town signature. There are different ways to go up, when you have time and are active, you can go hiking. Or when you don’t have much time (or are not so sportive like us) you can take the cable cart ride, which is pretty impressive itself already.

table
The view on top is incredible. The pictures don’t really give credit for how it really looks like. You are literally in the clouds while you are on top of this amazing mountain.

Camps Bay


A must go! For one of the most incredible sunset’s I’ve ever seen Salwa took me to Camps Bay, a trendy suburb in Capetown. Behind the nice promenade you’ll see luxury houses of Cape Town’s wealthy residents.
From the beautiful wide beach there is a great view on the ocean,Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head, this view will guarantee you of feeling blessed to be alive.

campsbay
On the promenade there are some really nice restaurants located, and you can’t leave South Africa without eating their amazing steak and drink their amazing wines or a good cocktail!

We went to Cafe Caprice, definitely a place I would recommend.
caprice
(picture from the website of Cafe Caprice)
“From hearty breakfasts, to tasty sandwiches, burgers and salads and a selection of meat, seafood and pasta dishes served throughout the day and into the evening, you will certainly find something that hits the spot as you take in the surroundings.” – Dylan Jacobs, Head Chef

Back to where we started
The sun is down and the night has arrived, back to where we started today ‘Long Street’. The nice idyllic lunchrooms made place for amazing bars and club. The street had a totally different vibe than during daytime. Personally I like an urban club scene, and that is exactly what Long Street has to offer!

There was this interesting place with a plain, unmarked door. We decided to have a look, and loved this place from the moment we climbed the steep stairways, you know those stairs you have to pull down and always see on the streets in movies. Inside it looked like some grandma’s living room, with a nice mix of retro lights and a stunning roof deck for hanging out. ‘The Waitingroom’ has nice urban music, cheap drinks and on top of that a complete rugby team from Durban joined our night (to make the South Africa experience complete). This night couldn’t be a better ending of this amazing day. Capetown stole my heart, and Salwa.. I don’t have to call her ‘my Facebook friend’ anymore!

Sydney’s seven

Sorry I’ve been quite for a while, I realised again how strange this job can be. One moment you have plenty of time and another you spent so many hours in an aircraft that your only desire is fresh air. Last week I ended up in the hospital (Don’t worry, I’m okay again!) so it was a blessing in disguise that I had some time to write again.

This month was the eight time I’ve visited my beloved Sydney. It sounds so cliche, but this city stole my heart since my first visit. The surrounding, people and the vibe of the city are indescribable, to know what I mean you have to experience it yourself. If you do so, please don’t forget to do ‘my Sydney seven!’ In case you wonder why seven? I don’t know, maybe because it sounds like ‘heaven’.

#7 Bright Christmas!
tree
I always thought I wouldn’t like christmas without snow (cause we always have that in Holland, right?!). Boy, was I wrong! Last December I experienced a hot Sydney christmas and I can tell you, it was amazing. I’m a summer person, I don’t like cold. So actually I don’t know why I’ve always had this ‘white christmas’ cliche in my mind, since last year I prefer a bright christmas.

#6 It’s okay to be a tourist
operahouse
Don’t be ashamed of it, everyone needs to see the Eiffel tower in Paris, Sydney got It’s harbour. I think every travel guide and internet site will tell you to visit this main icon of Sydney, ‘The Sydney Opera House’. Since I secretly like cliches, I will tell you the same. When I was young I was a great fan of the Olsen Twins. I thinks that’s where my love for traveling started. They had this movies where they went to different countries every time. ’Our lips are sealed’, was filmed in Sydney. From the moment I saw this movie, I knew I needed my own picture in front of that famous Opera House. I didn’t climb the Harbour Bridge yet, but it’s still on my list.

#5 ‘I have a dream..’
newtown
Newtown is a suburb in Sydney’s inner west, with as mean street ‘King Street’. The Newtown area is known for it’s street art and is the hub for live entertainment in Sydney. Looking for some vintage shopping, hipster pubs or just like to watch all different kind of people while you’re sipping you’re coffee on a terrace? This is your place to be.

#4 Take a ferry and enjoy the sunset
ferry
Breath taking view from the water on the city while the sun goes down. Need I say more? Of course you can take an expensive tourist boat for a tour, but I think you will enjoy the local ferry just as much! It’s great to combine with my #3

#3 Cycle true Manley
manley
manley
Manley is definitely my favourite part of Sydney. I’m going to say this thing again, but it’s true, it’s really hard to express the feeling this place gives you with words or pictures. You have to experience it. I like to cycle, it’s probable because I’m Dutch, so I try to rent a bike everywhere I go, it’s a great way to explore. It’s very easy to rent a bike from the shop in the harbour, 5 minutes after I arrived I was wearing a helmed, ready to go! If you would like to have a breath taking view, it’s about 8 km to North head. This place gives you a fabulous panoramic view of the ocean, harbour and city.

#2 Have your Brekkie in Surry Hills
surryhills
One of my favourite things to do in Sydney is having an Australian Brekkie. ‘Breakfast at The Book Kitchen’ has become my own Sydney tradition. Every time I’m in town I take the bus to Surry Hills and enjoy my brekkie in the sun while reading a good book.

#1 You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf
surf
When I think of Australia, I think of Kangaroos and hot surf dudes (and girls). What about you?!
So if you ask my opinion, there are two options: you can either go to the beach and watch them, or you can join them. Okay, you will probably look better on the beach than in the water like a drowning cat who tries to save himself (If you are as talented as me) but hey, it’s so much fun!

#TBT My days as a pirate

eendracht

part I “Surinam – Tobago”

While Sail Amsterdam is going on back home it reminds me of my days before I became a flying hummingbird bird. I was a bird of the sea, or you can better call me a pirate.
To tell you the story in a nutshell; I was working for Holland’s largest three-masted schooner, an A-class ship, one of the largest sea sailing ships in the world. It looks kind of like the Black Pearl, you know the one from Jack Sparrow. Okay, I was actually working in the office of the ship, but being a pirate just sounds so much cooler!

My pirate adventure started in the Caribbean Sea, like the movie. Together with one of my best friends I took off to Paramaribo. This flight was my first intercontinental flight ever! Who would have thought that one and a half year later I’ve seen almost all continents?

About 10 hours later we reached a place that sounded like home, (as Surinam used to be a Dutch colony they speak the same language) but definitely didn’t look like it. Beside the beautiful nature and the heat, the mentality was the biggest difference.
‘No spang’, take it easy, we are not in a rush, no worries. After waiting about 2 hours at customs I’m pretty sure we’re not in Amsterdam anymore!

For a lot of my Dutch people Surinam is either home or very well known. I found out recently that doesn’t count for the rest of the world. Even most of their neighbours from Brazil have never heard of the country, shame on you!
First of all, for all those people who don’t know Surinam, you are missing out on all the good food! For everyone who does known the Surinam kitchen I don’t need to get into details, they will make a stop at the closest ‘warung’ after reading this.
If you get the chance to discover the Surinam kitchen in Surinam, take a look at ‘De Waterkant’. You will enjoy your saoto or roti while watching the nice view on the river.

My other advice, (for whichever destination you travel) check out the local events. There is nothing better than visit a local event. We joined the Bigi Broki Waka Run, Surinam’s famous new years run event. We run 5 km over the famous Jules Wijdenboschburg. For everyone who knows me and my friend, we are quite the opposite when it comes to sports. Who doesn’t know us, just imagine me having the biggest struggle of my life. But sure, I had fun.

So back to my adventure as a pirate. Since we left Paramaribo I’m fascinated by the water. It’s amazing how much power and different feelings the waves excite. Well, actually personally for me it’s just one feeling, a feeling that comes from my stomach straight out of my mouth… I can tell you, the sea looks very interesting from upside down.
Finally after two days of desperation we change course and the sea sickness settles down. I finally start to see how beautiful this mass of waves around me actually is. It’s beautiful, endless and scary at the same time. I realised we are not used to see only water around us, it makes you feel small and free at the same time.

With this free spirit feeling in my mind, I meet the most beautiful and friendly creature of mother nature, Flipper and his buddies. Together with them we sail to our first island in the Caribbean Sea.
I guess I’m the happiest person on board when I see our destination coming closer. Tobago, you’re beautiful green thing!

tobago

I guess as pirates it was pretty obvious we had to stay in Pirates Bay. This little paradise, goes beyond all my expectations (or maybe I’ve just never been so happy before to have solid ground under my feet). We stay in a little fishing village called Charlotteville. A small place with just a few cottages and shops owned by the locals. No big supermarkets, no hug restaurants, and no hotels. This place feels like an undiscovered paradise. My friend Jack Sparrow, you were right, “not all treasure is silver and gold, mate”.

Interested in making a sailingtrip yourself? There are amazing possibilities, especially during wintertime in the Caribbean Sea. It’s available for all nationalities. Check it out: www.eendracht.nl

Nyumbani Children’s home

“As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others” – Audrey Hepburn

 

Last years August I had my first trip to Kenya. I was very excited and like anyone who’s traveling to Kenya for the first time, I went on a Safari in the National Park. It was amazing, but that’s actually a story for another time…

After I got back from my safari and city tour I was talking to Natfali, one of the employees of our hotel. This very friendly person told me about his life in Kenya, the high poverty in his country, and about the growing amount of orphans. Since I just saw a glimpe of the city I was very touched by his stories and couldn’t let it go.
As I got back in Dubai I told the story to my family and friends back home and they were so generous to send me lots of donations.

A few days later I flew back to Kenya, with a suitcase so heavy I could barely carry it. Together with Bec I’ve visited Nyumbani Home. This is Kenya’s first and largest special home that cares for HIV+ orphans in Nairobi. It’s a foundation that’s trying to create a place of hope and dreams for these HIV+ Orphans by providing those vulnerable children medical care, psychosocial and spiritual support and education.

Nyumbani Home has 119 children. They range in age from 11 months to 24 years, boys and girls. I felt so blessed that I had the opportunity to meet those little hearts that time, and to see them and a few other amazing kids again today.

When I walked in two days ago, this place gave me the same warm feeling as one year ago. The people from the foundation did a great job in creating a colourful, warm and friendly environment for the children. Around the big playground you’ll find little houses where 6 up to 8 children live together with a housemother.

miguel

Today I met Miguel. Miguel is two years old and in the outreach program of Nyumbani. His parents don’t have the possibilities to give him the food, care and medicines he needs. He is to small for his age, can’t walk and doesn’t talk yet. Looking in his big brown eyes, I still see happiness, I’m speechless.. Because of Nyumbani Miguel has a change again.

Knowing the facts that these kids have no parents, no families, have to share everything with each other, and above all of that they are HIV positive from birth, makes it really indescribable to meet the children.

They are really eager to learn and work on their future, for me it’s eyeopening and inspiring. I’m overwhelmed by the happiness and love these little hearts have to give and the stories they want to share.
Victor wants to become a professional football player when he grows up and the girl who’s sitting next to him wants to become a hairdresser, she tells me how much she loves my hair. I remembered her from last year, she is so passionated.
I realise how ungrateful we are most of the time for the simple things in life they will never have. For me it’s a lesson learned, hope is so much stronger than fear and like mother Theresa said: ‘we may never know all the good that a simple smile can do’.

A gift of any size supports the lifesaving mission of Nyumbani whether it’s providing food to a family in need, educating a child or building a home for the victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. You can help save a life by making a tax deductible donation to Nyumbani today. Check out the website how you can help supporting this project: http://www.nyumbani.org/how-you-can-help

Travel solo

travel-solo-starter

“As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are.”  – Unknown

Even though I’ve never spend a lot of time by myself this year, I was a bit nervous last May for my very first holiday by myself. The final destination of my trip was Bali in Indonesia.

When I think about it, practically I’m always by myself with a bunch of ‘strangers’ which are my colleagues. Every day of work I visit places I’ve never been with people I’ve never met before, but because we are all in the same ship (or aircraft in our case) you always feel connected and you actually never have the feeling you’re completely by yourself.

So this was my moment, it was going to be me, myself and I for the next two weeks. I was going to be responsible for every single part of my holiday planning, so I had to be careful cause there was no one else to blame for wrong decisions.

If I look back on this holiday, I think it’s the second best thing I did in my life. The first one is of course moving to Dubai which made all of this possible in the first place. I recommend every women to make a trip like this once in her life! I’ve gain so much from it. Let me give you five reasons to stop doubting and just book your ticket!

monkey

Feel free like a bird (or a monkey)
Traveling always brings a feeling of freedom, no liabilities like work and you escape from your daily routine. I can assure you traveling solo brings this ‘freedom feeling’ to a next level. Free yourself, you are the only one that knows what makes you really happy, take this opportunity!

bewhatuwant

You decide who you are, not society
There is no better way to get to know yourself than to be by yourself. Traveling solo is a big step out of your comfort zone. It will help you to discover what you like, want and where you want to be without judgment of society and your loved ones.

monsters

Face your fears
Traveling by yourself doesn’t mean automatically that you will face life-threatening situations, but you will face many unknown situations. Beside that there is this saying to do one thing every day that scares you, this is a great opportunity to start. Oooh, and who is gonna save you from that spider above your bed?

people

Meet amazing people!
This is actually my favourite part of traveling solo. It’s a fact that you’re way more approachable for strangers when you are by yourself. While traveling around you will stumble upon different people. You will be surprises how they can inspire you and how much you can learn from them (and maybe they will learn something from you as well).

surfing

Confidence is the key
All of the above mentioned will give you the biggest boost of confidence you have ever experienced!

Love,
Jess