When it comes to dreams of travel, there’s an outright war being waged within my soul.

While one side yearns to explore places unknown – inhale their strange air, indulge in their exotic cuisine, listen to the unfamiliar song of the languages the locals speak – the other side desperately longs for a grand return to so many I’ve been before. To retrace the footsteps of the woman I was back then, to see what she saw and maybe even point out a few of the things she missed; to sink my teeth into the delicacies I’ve never been able to find back home; to stake my claim for some sort of familiarity; but mostly just to be there again.

Portugal is one of the places I wish to return to most poignantly. Porto, in particular.

Continue Reading "Take me back: Porto"

About a month ago, we headed to Wilderness for Andre and Danielle’s wedding – a wild and wonderful beach-meets-forest affair.

Despite a storm breaking out in full force on the afternoon of the nuptials, it was a truly beautiful and joyous occasion.

Apart from celebrating their promises of forever to each other, we also got a chance to rediscover a few of the trails in this lush section of the Garden Route National Park.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Walking in Wilderness"

I realised with a great shock the other day that I’ve never posted anything about my Camino experience here on Peregrina.

Soon after returning, I wrote a piece for Slow Drive; then, about a year later, shared a few thoughts about it in Juice (Mango’s in-flight magazine); and finally put together a comprehensive guide for Traveller24.

But I never brought it back home to where it truly belongs – on Peregrina! Which makes me a little sad, really, because it was – after all – those two weeks as a pilgrim that sparked the renaming of my blog

Continue Reading "Snaps: The Camino Portugues on 35mm film (and a few thoughts on walking 240km with my mom)"

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” – Mary Oliver

When I first read this line of poetry a couple of years ago, it rang so pure and true in my soul, it became my life’s motto in an instant.

Not that I’ve always been super successful at this – sometimes the slog of daily life becomes so all-encompassing, it’s all too easy to lose that sense of wide-eyed wonder.

That’s kind of where I found myself at the end of 2018: looking back on a year of incredible opportunities and fulfilling projects but just completely exhausted to the bone. I felt an overwhelming longing for simplicity and the need to immerse myself in nature.

So, when a spot opened up in the group my cousins had organised for the Otter Trail, I grabbed the opportunity without a second thought.

Sure, I only had ONE week to get my gear together (fortunately I’m kitted out with most of the basics).

And no, I wasn’t fit at all (in fact, I think this is the least fit I’ve been in about 10 years).

But, let’s face it – when you get the chance to piggyback on another group’s booking for this trail with its notorious 1-year waiting period, you take it!

This also, of course, put me in the advantageous position of having absolutely no time to burden myself with too much reading and research; conjure up any unrealistic expectations or think too much about the dangers (like the Bloukrans River Crossing) lying ahead.

Fortunately, I still had a roll of expired Kodak Gold and decided to put it to good use snapping some of the spectacular scenery that surrounded us for the five days we were on the trail.

While I love the mood and grain of these images, no camera can capture the true magic of these pristine spaces. In a world where truly wild places no longer seem to exist, the Otter Trail offers an unforgettable taste of somewhere almost ‘untouched’.

Continue Reading "Snaps: The Otter Trail on 35mm film"

Way back, when we used to live in Pretoria, my parents would ever so often pack us all up into the combi and head to the Kruger National – or Marloth Park for the weekend.

I loved it. And a big part of my heart still resides there, in the bushveld.

Living in Cape Town now, weekend trips are obviously no longer an option, so when I get the opportunity to set out in that direction, I jumped at it!

At the end of July, I was lucky enough to be part of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency’s brand new #myMpumalanga campaign (working behind the scenes mostly), which included a quick sho’t left to Jaci’s Sabi House in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and made me super happy.

However, the trip also gave me an opportunity to explore a whole lot more of the ‘place where the sun rises’. Mpumalanga is really an amazing province, offering a range of diverse experiences – from fly-fishing and horse-riding in the chilly highveld town of Dullstroom to glamping along the Sabie River with Africamps at Mackers.

Instead of writing about each of the experiences, I thought I’d just share a couple of pics of the most memorable.

Continue Reading "Snaps: #myMpumalanga road trip"

In my last post, I mentioned that Guillaume, Jasper and I had taken a quick two-day break in the Cederberg from Wednesday to Friday last week.

After googling ‘pet-friendly accommodation in the Cederberg’ (to coincide with flower season), we stumbled upon Enjo Nature Farm in the Biedouw Valley and were instantly charmed by the pictures of quaint white-washed cottages, quiver trees and star-studded night skies. We booked the most adorable Cabin and started counting down the days.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Mid-week break at Enjo Nature Farm"

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of joining a very special welcoming party on the docks of Table Bay Harbour, just around the corner from the V&A Waterfront.

The SA Agulhas II supply and research ship was returning from an expedition to Antarctica and on board was my cousin, Danielle, along with her boyfriend, Andre. The two had spent more than a year at the SANAE IV research base, working as engineers.

It was truly special being able to join the Taljaard and Odendaal families for this momentous occasion.

I’m still trying to pin Danielle down for a proper interview about her experience, but in the meantime, here are a few moments from the arrival day captured on 35mm film.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Return of the SA Agulhas II on 35mm film"

I recently hit the 35mm jackpot when I stumbled upon an incredible deal on Bidorbuy: 12 expired Kodak Gold 100 ISO films for something ridiculous like R200.

Obviously, I put my bid and – to my absolute surprise – won the auction without even the slightest hint of an opponent.

Since setting out on my experimentations with film photography mid-last year, I’ve been dreaming about shooting on expired film, simply because it increases the chances of thrilling and unexpected effects in the final product.

Well, I finished my first roll of the Bidorbuy batch (which expired in 2007) last week and picked up my developed images at Orms today.

While it wasn’t nearly as way out as I expected it would be, the photos have a nice grainy quality with a noticeable fade.

Here are a few of my favourite shots, snapped in Sea Point, Betty’s Bay, Clarence Drive and Elgin:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Experimenting with expired film"

Over the past few months, I’ve really fallen in love with film photography.

It all, of course, started with my little Camino experiment (which you can read all about over on Slow Drive) and now I’m seriously hooked.

After the two films I’d taken along for the trip filled up just before our return to South Africa, I bought another roll of 35mm at a little shop in Porto to capture a last few shots of the beautiful old city before we left. I ended up only taking about four or five, however, which left me with 19 or 20 snaps for home.

Even though I’ve been really bad at remembering to take my camera everywhere with me (which I’m totally going to do from now on) I finally finished the film and had it developed last week.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Fun with 35mm film"