Last year on my birthday, I wrote a post on Facebook post listing all of the locations I had visited since my previous birthday to have a coffee. I hadn’t really kept track throughout the year or necessarily attempted to reach such a significant number, but I worked out the list anyways. One thing I learned is how creepy the specificity of location tracking that Google does on your mobile devices, and the other was how clearly I could track my life through these places. Something specific (not just coffee) had brought me to each of them: the first stop on a stroll about a new city, a long overdue visit with a family member, or a particularly memorable solo camping trip. This year, I didn’t post any sort of list. Mostly because it would have given my family and friends more evidence to use against me in what I expect to be an inevitable coffee intervention. But I can tell you it is likely (read: definitely) a longer list than last year’s. Across the five countries that I’ve spent more than two weeks on this trip, here some of my coffee shop highlights in each.
Nieu-Bethesda: the small town in the Karoo that’s been my home for the longest stretch since starting this journey. Yesterday saw the end of my month-long stay. One of the most challenging parts of travel for me is leaving a favorite place again and again and again…
Regardless of what the afternoon or single-night domestic tourists have said, I feel like I could have spent years there before running out of things to do; there were always things happening at The Brewery and Two Goats Deli (where I worked in exchange for room and board) and my days off saw no shortage of hikes in the surrounding hills and canyons. Days in town were either spent at a coffee shop or book store (typical) or at the local attractions of Owl House or Kitching Fossil Centre. A few external factors threatened my perfect day in Nieu-Bethesda: poor weather, thorns and bee stings, dog puke, bar fights, larceny. But despite their (relatively infrequent) attacks I managed to live some version of the below almost every day:
Good morning! You’ve just arrived in a city you’ve never been to before. You don’t know anyone here. There are no obvious tourist attractions. How are you going to ‘waste’ your day?