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Our Travel Bucket list

Every person I know has a travel bucket list or some kind of list of things to do and places they want to see before they die. If you don’t have one, then what are you waiting for? There is nothing more satisfying than ticking something off a list. Or maybe that’s just the OCD side in me.

I always knew I had a “Gallivanter Soul”. I have never missed being home, even as a small child, and I often feel depressed when we don’t have a trip planned soon after one has ended. I’m sure a lot of people can relate. But that will probably be where the similarities end.

You see, we are what regular folks call weird… And this bucket list might prove that too.  Although there might be a few destinations that seem normal, most of them are what they call “Dark Tourism”. Add to that our love for concerts and history, and you get our perfect bucket list… As seen below. I’ll come back to this list regularly to update it and have clickable links to the ones we “ticked off” our list. 

A person who likes to travels a lot and goes around from one place to the another in pursuit of amusement, fun or pleasure is called a ‘Gallivanter’.

Travel Bucketlist for the weird dark tourist

 

Our List

⇒ Columbia: Pablo Escobar History Tour in Medellin

⇒ WW2 Historical Sites in Germany

⇒ Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico

Bucketlist for the weird dark tourist. Day of the Dead festival

⇒ Explore India

⇒ Visit Kurt Cobain’s hometown Aberdeen, Washington

⇒ See Rammstein perform in their home country, Germany. We have seen them while they were in SA!

⇒ Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.

bucketlist for the weird dark tourist. Burning man Festival

⇒ Attend the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.

⇒ Drink Beer at Oktoberfest in Germany.

⇒ Stay in an Overwater Bungalow in Bora Bora.

⇒ Visit Roswell in New Mexico.

Bucketlist for the weird dark tourist. Roswell.

⇒ Visit the real Santa in Lapland, Finland. Haha! You didn’t see this one coming, did you?

⇒ See the F1 in Monaco. Or in Canada. Or in Abu Dhabi. Basically, go to a Formula 1 race anywhere in the world.

⇒ Spend a night in the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. Stephen King’s visit to the Hotel inspired The Shining.

⇒ Area 51. As if that would ever be allowed… Insert eye roll here… But as a big lover of Conspiracies, this would be extremely cool!

⇒ Explore Castles in Scotland

⇒ Pearl Habour Tour in Oahu, Hawaii.

⇒ The Swiss Alps

⇒ Oradour-sur-Glane in France. Oradour-sur-Glane is a little village that was a site of a grisly massacre by a German Waffen-SS company in the WW2.

⇒ Banff, Canada.

⇒ Chernobyl. Now, if you don’t know me, you might think this is insane. But those who do indeed know me well will know that abandoned cities and disasters are what sets my soul on fire. Almost as much as music does!

Travel Bucketlist for the weird dark tourist. Chernobyl.

⇒ See the Northern Lights.

⇒ See the Changing of the Guards in London.

⇒ Bali, Indonesia.

⇒ Take a tour on the HMS Belfast War Ship in London.

⇒ Lock Bridge in Paris

⇒ Coco Chanel Store in Paris. Another one that might surprise some and few might not be surprised at all. This was probably on my list since I came out of the womb.

⇒ Tour Namibia.

⇒ Kruger National Park. A million times over. I’ll never get tired of visiting the Kruger.

 

So this is just a few things at the top of our travel bucket list. It goes without saying that all the other Europe countries are on our list too. If you know of some cool places that we might be interested in, let me know so that I can add that to our list too. And be sure to check back regularly, as we tick these off.

Click here to read my post about what Dark Tourism is.

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When, What and Where of the Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is one of my favourite places to visit in South Africa. I’m not a big fan of the beach. But I can regularly find myself going through hundreds if not thousands of photos and reminiscing about our visits there. The thought of our African bush brings up memories of wilderness, beautiful sunsets, and safari drives which all give me goosebumps.

Elephant in Kruger National Park

 

Where to Stay

Ngwenya Lodge (our favourite accommodation when visiting the park)

You can also go to Kruger Park’s site to find a camp or lodge that suits your fancy.

Kruger National Park Lions

Things to do

Game Viewing – Spoil yourself with an array of fauna by joining guided game drives in the African bush. These game drives are offered by camps inside the park. Be an early bird to catch the tranquil atmosphere during morning drives.

You can also drive yourself which is what we do every time. Driving around for the whole day is such a treat and adventure. We always hope to spot the famed Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. And on one rainy day in February we were lucky enough to spot them all.

I also have the Kruger Sightings App. This is great to have for your visit to the park.

Wilderness Trails – If you are feeling more adventurous, they also have guided walks through the bushveld, where a guide will take you on all the hidden trails that you can’t reach by car. The Bushmans Trail, Napi Trail, Nyalaland Trail, Sweni Trail, and Wolhuter Trail are the most coveted three-day-long walking safaris in Kruger National Park.

Other Outdoor Thrills – Visit the carved rock paintings of the Bush people, go bird watching, chase your thrills, experience the magic of a hot air balloon safari from Hoedspruit,(this is on my bucket list) and have a traditional South African braai. And if you are feeling more sophisticated, get a hole-in-one at the Skukuza Golf Course.

Shopping – Some of the private lodges have small shops that sell unique jewelry, t-shirts, gift items, and souvenirs. I collect animal skulls and love going to the shops to see if they have one I can add to my collection. I got a crocodile skull from Skukuza which died of natural causes. And it’s still displayed in my living room.

 

When to visit

I’ve read on a few websites that they recommend visiting the Kruger from April to August. Which is generally our winter months here in South Africa. And I have to disagree with that. For someone who has been there during all seasons before, I prefer Spring/Summer. Even better if there is rain in the forecast. The bushveld is lush and green and seeing all the baby animals is one of my favourite things.

 

rainy days in the kruger national park

Coming out to play in the rain.

kruger national park

zebra kruger national park

Remember

  • To pack your camera and binoculars.
  • Pack snacks and drinks if you’re driving through the Kruger in your own car.
  • NEVER feed the animals or litter! What kind of humans do this??
  • There are 9 entrance gates: Crocodile Bridge, Malelane, Phabeni, Paul Kruger, Orpen, Numbi, Phalaborwa, Punda Maria, and Pafuri.
  • All the stops, accommodation and restaurants are wheelchair friendly.

Kruger national park South Africa

If you love The Kruger as much as I do, then I would recommend checking out this book. 101 Kruger Tales by Jeff Gordon. It’s been on my wishlist for a while now, but I’ve read great reviews.

Sunset in the Kruger

I hope you enjoyed my post about my favourite place in South Africa because there will surely be a lot more posts to come. Have you ever been to The Kruger National Park? Or is it on your bucket list? Please subscribe if you would like to get notified when I post my other 1000 blog posts about this amazing place. ♥

 

 

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Seether Live at Marks Park Emmarentia 2018

A few weeks ago, my husband saw the facebook announcement… And if you are a metalhead, like us, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The Facebook post that announces the next band to brace South African shores. The bands that you listen to as a teenager. The bands with the songs that get you through hard times.

We have a long list of bands that we got to see live and an even longer list of bands that we still want to see. Just call it our CONCERT BUCKETLIST.

On my list was Seether. So imagine my excitement when my husband uttered the words “Seether kom Suid Afrika toe!” Like tradition, I woke up the morning the tickets go on sale with anxiety. Metal bands coming to South Africa is a big deal, and tickets get sold out extremely fast. But I managed to get us VIP tickets!

Seether Concert live in South Africa

On Sunday I officially ticked Seether off my band bucketlist. And what a show it was.

Seether Live in South Africa

This was the band’s first time back home here in South Africa in almost 6 years. And they only booked one show in Johannesburg. Lucky us!

One of the things I love most about concerts and metalheads, in general, is that we all feel like family members. About a year ago I met a fellow metalhead friend through work. So on Sunday, we decided to meet up for a beer. After about 10 minutes of making our way through the massive crowd of people, we felt lost. So she legitimately sent me this photo to indicate where exactly they were.

Yes, this is her husband. Hahaha!

We followed instructions and found them! And it was awesome! The feeling like you have been friends for years and having so much in common. It’s true what they say, metalheads are like a big family. ♥

The band was beyond awesome! Shaun Morgon’s headbanging and his voice never disappoint. Hearing the crowd sing every word to Country Song and Fake It gave me goosebumps. And at every concert, I get reminded that I live for this feeling!

The Setlist:

  • Stoke The Fire
  • Gasoline
  • Let You Down
  • Truth
  • Rise Above This
  • Betray and Degrade
  • Words as Weapons
  • Save Today
  • Country Song
  • Driven Under
  • Fine Again
  • Broken
  • Sympathetic
  • Nobody Praying for Me
  • Fake It
  • 69 Tea
  • Remedy

Seether Live in South Africa 2018

Source

Seether Live in South Africa 2018

Source

I feel like there is one thing that everyone was talking about that is worth the mention… The beer choices were shitty! But all in all another great concert by another great band! Legendary! Seether is off to Australia next for their Poison the Parish tour. Followed by New Zealand and Germany.

 

Side Note: To the idiots in the VIP section wearing full-blown fur outfits… Not knowing a single word to the great band performing… Standing up on the table just to take photos of each other showing the peace sign with the band in the background… You blocked the view of so many true Seether fans you inconsiderate idiots! Also, this is South Africa, not Alaska. So kindly fuck off back to Coachella! 

 

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Seether Live in South Africa 2018

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Get to know us & Life update

 

 

It’s been a few months since the last time I posted on the blog. Life just happened. There’s no other way to explain it. My husband changed jobs to a better position and I quit mine. I’m on treatment every single month now. I am a bit weaker since I skipped some treatments. (No more skipping every now and again just because I’m not in the mood for it or scared to take sick leave from work.) I’m also studying again too. I finished my Fashion Styling courses and I’m now busy with Fashion Illustration. Life was a bit on the hectic side and depression is a big fat nasty bitch. But I’m back to blogging again.

So no blog is complete without a little “Get to know Us” post. So sit back and read our answers to some silly questions we found on the internet. You might just really get to know us a little better.

How many kids do you want to have?

Him: 2 will be cool

Her: I’ll also like 2… Twins will be awesome!

Bushveld or Beach?

Him: Bushveld

Her: Same. I’m not a big fan of the beach.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up?

Him: I put the kettle on to make us coffee. Every. Day.

Her: I greet our dogs and then drink coffee haha

What’s the best concert you’ve been to so far?

Him: Wow, there’s been a lot… Metallica has to be my pick.

Her: Yes, going to as many concerts as possible is our thing. But Rammstein and Metallica are my picks. I can’t choose between the two! It’s like choosing a favourite kid/pet. Foo Fighters and Iron Maiden was mind-blowing too. On to the next question. This one is difficult to answer.

What is your favourite TV series?

Him: Vikings

Her: The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Why can’t I just choose one? I see a pattern here…

Where were you born?

Him: Moedersbond Hospital in Pretoria haha that was really the hospital’s name

Her: In Kempton Park Hospital now known as the “Ghost  Hospital”

Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 21, and find line 9:

Him: “Mainly he learned by playing along to skiffle groups.” LEMMY

Her: “And while Coco laughs along with the rest of them, something experimental and impulsive in the music chimes with her sense of novelty in being here.” COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY

 

What is currently your top 3 favourite apps?

Him: I don’t really have a favourite. Apps don’t bother me.

Her: Rain Rain (for the sound of thunder and rain when the sun has been shining too much), Instagram and Covet (a fashion game).

Would you rather meet an alien visitor or travel to outer space?

Him: Easy… Travel to outer space!

Her: Can I choose both? haha! I would like to travel to outer space, but I’m Claustrophobic and the idea of being “trapped” inside a spacecraft is kind of scary. So until I conquer my fear, I’ll go with meeting an alien visitor.

Favourite Perfume?

Him: Juan Paul Gautier

Her: Coco Chanel Chance

Weird Interests?

Him: Gory videos, with blood and sometimes death too. This is gonna sound worse than it is…

Her: Conspiracy Theories. I can get sucked into the dark side of the web real quick.

What quote do you live by?

Him: “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” a quote by Kurt Cobain that I’ve always lived by.

Her: It is what it is… It’s actually a quote from my husband’s BFF, Rob. He says this pretty much about every hard situation in life. It is what it is…. And it just stuck. Whenever I feel down about something that happens in life, I try to see it for what it is and move on. (Thanks for teaching me that Roberto. xx)

It was kind of weird going “with the trend” of a get to know us blog post. I specifically don’t usually go along with trends, but this was fun. Especially doing it with the hubster.

What would your answers be to some of these questions? Tell us below!

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This Body Holding Me

This is not an easy post to write… If you know me, you’ll know that my illness is not something I talk about openly unless you ask me. I don’t really know why. Maybe I feel vulnerable. Maybe it is because I hate pity. Or maybe it’s because I know not a lot of people wants a sick friend, which is fine. And I also think I still have trouble just accepting. It is not easy to have this overwhelming feeling of your own body betraying you.

It all started when I was about 14 or 15. I remember coming home from hockey practice and I could not stay awake. I was so tired. I slept from 3:30 the afternoon till the next morning. And I would still feel tired. Then the vomiting started. I could not keep anything down. My mom took me to the doctor and he diagnosed me with yellow fever. The first of many misdiagnoses. The vomiting continued. And I remember my mom stressing that this could not be right. I was vomiting up to 7 or 8 times a day. And the medication the doctor gave me, did nothing.

I was told to go see a specialist for some test. “Some” being an understatement. They concluded that my CPK level was 26500. More tests followed. I remember one of the tests included big needles being stuck into my legs straight to the muscle and nerves system to see if they are affected too and how much. A lot of operations followed too. The point being they could never find the cause.

They started treating me for Dermatomyositis (a skin and muscle disease). The first treatment was Cortizone. In pill form, in drip form, in any form possible. I went from weighing 55kg to weighing 90kg in just 3 months. I don’t even think there is enough writing space here to even begin to describe what that did to my body. I was in the hospital every month for almost a year. All the treatments and medication made my immune system weak, so I couldn’t fight off any bacteria or infections.

The worst I can remember was being in the hospital and they could not find any veins to give me a drip. They poked me 9 times. In this very same hospital stay, they did blood tests and somehow my lungs were not functioning like they should. Meaning my body and brain weren’t getting enough oxygen. I wasn’t really conscious for the most part, but I remember seeing my mom cry and a flood of nurses taking my bed somewhere. I woke up in ICU, with machines helping me breathe. People weren’t allowed to bring any germs near me so everyone had to wear those hospital masks.

By this stage in my illness, I don’t even remember all the medication I have been on or how many operations and test I have had.  But through this all, my CPK did not change much.

By the time I turned 18, they recommended I start receiving Chemo. This was not a joke anymore. And I remember feeling like, if I want to live, I have to do this. Chemo is not for the faint at heart. This is something I will never wish upon anyone. Not even my worst enemy. No one deserves this.

How do I even begin to explain what it feels like? I don’t think there is a way. I remember crying and throwing up a lot. I remember the smell of anything making me sick. The smell of someone’s perfume, the smell of food, the smell of ANYTHING. Even sounds were too much for me. People laughing or just chatting, people whispering, the sound of cars on the freeway, the sound of the tv. I was on chemo for 2 and a half years, when they told me that it too, like everything else, is not working. They wanted me to get a bone marrow transplant. They sent me home and told me to think about it. This right here, was where I gave up. I wanted nothing more. And I refused to go back.

I was stagnant like that for about 3 years of my life. I had my good days and my bad days.

I was convinced to go see some of the world’s best specialists. As everyone around me has not given up hope like I did. They were fighting to keep hope.

I went to see a specialist from Washington, DC. He was here in South Africa for a week, and he sometimes sees people too. He too, like 8 or 9 before him, told me that I will die because of this illness. I might have a long life, or this illness might take over and progress really fast and I might die soon.

Yet again, I gave up. I was done, and I refused to see any doctor or specialist again in my life.

Until one day, a few years later, my boyfriend then (he is my husband now) and a few family members, convinced me to just go see this one last specialist and they will never bother me about it again.

She did some hardcore tests. And found that I have certain bacteria in my system. Most people are immune to those bacteria, but I wasn’t. What happens is, my body picked up this bacteria somewhere, (possibly a tick) and if I was diagnosed sooner, I would have been healthy by now. Doctors these days treat your symptoms and are not finding the cause of what is wrong. But because it went untreated for almost 9 years, the bacteria took over a lot of organs in my body. The bacteria made my muscles its home. Hiding there. So my immune system attacks my muscle group, trying to fight it. This in return, releases a toxin that places a lot of pressure on my liver, giving me an enlarged liver too. She’s been treating me for a while now and my CPK is the lowest it has been my entire life, 4295. Normal being between 10 to 120.

This disease has brought me to my knees. There are so many nights where I wished to die and prayed that this pain will be over. But Life has different plans for me. And for now, I feel motivated to face everything the world will send my way. I’m stronger than I thought.

For the people not understanding what your CPK levels means: Creatine Phosphokinase is an enzyme in the body. It is found mainly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. When the total CPK level is very high, it most often means there has been stress or injury to the muscle. Extreme muscle breakdown floods a person’s blood with CPK and additional chemicals and toxins. Some of these are toxic to a person’s kidneys and liver, making the condition life threatening.

If this illness is left untreated, it could cause heart, lung and kidney failure.

And for the people wanting to read more about this disease, wanting to check out my amazing specialist or the Carte Blanche episode she was on, click HERE.

This is basically what I have been through the last 15 years of my life. And to those who really do care, I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. Sticking to my side and just being there, has kept me going on more days than what I care to mention.

This body, this body holding me
Be my reminder here that I am not alone in…
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion – Tool (Parabola Lyrics)

One of my Best Friend’s favourite songs that she played to me.

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Our Beautiful Wedding

What better way to start off my very first blog post than our wedding day. Today, 3 years ago on 14 February 2014, I married my best friend and soul mate. We got married at the beautiful Red Ivory Lodge in Hartbeespoort.

Because we love music so much, it was a no-brainer that we wanted to incorporate that into our big day.  Our tables had band names instead of table numbers. And our first dance was to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.

There is absolutely nothing I would’ve wanted differently. I got to marry a bearded hottie and everyone we love celebrated with us.

All photos by the talented wedding photographer Adam Hilton.