Do you want to travel the world for wild gastronomic experiences. I am talking great food and wine served in winelands and amazing hotels. Imagine having lunch in Waterkloof Wines at their cellar in the sky. Imagine waking up in Stellenbosch and soaking in all the views and experiences. It is possible. This could be your reality. All you have to do is save some money for some time. Fore-go some things and put that in a travel fund. Are you the type of person who would rather spend money on experiences than material possessions? Early last year, the travel bug bit me and I remember telling a friend that I want to travel the world, and he just gave me a half smile and said, “Wow, that’s nice.” I could sense the caprice and doubt in his voice and disposition. He did not believe me. He thought it was one of those things that I decide to do and then change my mind or forget as time goes by.
I did not come from a well to do family so travelling was a luxury. However, I am grateful for this because I am so devoid of experiences and this gives me a genuine hunger for travel. Early last year, things that I had just put on a vision board began to happen and I had to pinch myself every time. I thank God for that. I was invited to Cape Town for the Cape Wine 2015 event. That was the highlight of my writing career. See, the thing with highlights and milestones is that they are temporary. We are wired to want more. I wanted more. My birthday is in a few days and I thank God that in a few weeks, I will be travelling again. I am really praying hard for this.
*I’ll be partnering with Afrocentrique Travels and Tours and you can contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
— afrocentriquetravel (@afrocentriqueT) January 15, 2016
That backstory was my brief journey and I can give you a few tips from my experience. This info applies to Kenyan nationals.
- Assemble your funds. It is no doubt that to travel you need money. I know my blog cuts through different readers and so I can not generalize. Find a way to assemble or consolidate your funds. You might be fortunate enough to have a lot of cash from family, savings or your job. If you don’t have it, little by little brings more and in the long run (even though it takes you months or years) you will assemble the funds. It take relentless discipline & foregoing some things you love.
- Get a passport. If you love travelling and do not have a passport, get one now. Even though you do not have any prospect of travelling in the near future, getting a passport is your way of committing and preparing for the unknown. Imagine missing a time sensitive opportunity because you do not have a passport. Getting a passport in Kenya is a draining and time consuming process if you are doing it the manual way. Consider applying through e citizen. I love this article by Hapa Kenya that gives a simple breakdown on what you need and how you can apply.
- Look for opportunities. South Africa has a host of opportunities for any food and wine lover. There are so many travel companies that offer amazing travel packages and itineraries centered around events, wine route visits, sight seeing, wine tastings etc. You will have so many opportunities to choose from. Here are examples. You need to start the process of shortlisting possible companies and events early. Start contacting them and decide. These days all it takes is a simple tweet or a proper phone call if you are not happy-go-lucky like I am. Twitter works for me for non formal inquiries and email & calls for the formal ones.
- Apply for a Visa. The South African Visa application process is a breeze if you have all the right documents. I was surprised at how easy it was because I had heard all these horror stories. Just remember that you pay a non refundable fee of 4,950 Ksh( approx 48.4 USD) for the visa. The process is really simple, you submit your documents for approval, pay and wait for a week. To know more, visit the VSF Global website.
- Book your flights and accommodation. This is where Google comes in. You can book through Fly SAA , KQ etc. Look for hotels, airbnb’s in South Africa or couch surf. While planning for accommodation, make sure you consider proximity, convenience, security and mode of transport. If you have friends or family, this will cut your costs. If you are using a travel agent, they will arrange that for you.
- Go and Live your dream: After all is done, avail yourself, be open to new experiences and have fun. Discover as much as you can on food, wine, restaurants and other aspects that you may be interested in. Have an open mind. Learn, Explore, Network.
If you need help on any of these stages, feel free to leave a comment & I will answer it. Be sure to keep checking my social media on updates of my experience.
NB: I am not an expert on all things travel but I can share my experience as I learn.