Carolina to Africa | Part 1 - The Decision

Part 1 Carolina to Cape Town, How We Enjoyed a Month in South Africa with Our 3 Year Old

Most importantly, our 30 day trip to South Africa would not have been possible without our friends and family helping with travel, animals and work! We're so thankful for everyone and hope to teach Poppy that you want to surround yourself with others who make you a better person and inspire you to better yourself everyday.

In October, when we were thinking of taking Poppy, who was 3, to South Africa. John has always wanted to go for the wine and me for the animals. Why now?

Poppy is almost 4 and will be in kindergarten in 2 years, once she's in kindergarten, we won't be able to take a month off in the winter as easily. After we booked, we also found out we're having a baby, Peaches, in August. We're so thankful we took this trip now as if we went next year, it wouldn't have been as easy with an infant and preschooler.

For such a long flight, a month seemed the only choice. 3 days of travel both ways plus at least 2 days of adjusting to the time change, so about a 10 days of travel/jet lag.

Researching options, we would drive 5 hours from the OBX, NC to Washington, DC, and then take an almost 23 hour plane ride from DC to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Capetown, South Africa.

However, I thought, what's the worst thing that could happen to her that probably would not happen to an adult? We could all get a tummy bug, be sick, have an ear infection or get hurt. She may cry and throw fits the whole time. How bad is that, really? Eventually, she will tire out and go to sleep or give up or not. I can deal with that. So, we found tickets for less than $1000 each and booked our flights. I didn't tell John (my husband) that I booked them for a month until they were already done. He had heart palpitations when I forwarded him the tickets but got over that pretty quickly.

1. Who is going to take care of our growing herd of critters - for a whole month???

Dog, Juicy - I asked my awesome sister, Turkey, and she was very willing to take him. Whew. Later she and Josh got married 2 days before we left! Made for an amazing last few days at home!

Piggie Pie, Mavis - she is pretty self sufficient, needing runs, tummy rubs, some food and water each day but she forages and roams the farm and finds mud, corn, hay, ditches and whatever else she encounters daily. Candace and family would walk her and Dan would feed her each day.

Chickens - they need the most attention, someone to let them in and out of the coop each morning and night, to check their food and water and fetch their eggs... not feasible. So I considered other solutions.

I built a run attached to their coop that has a tiny door around back so they could come in and out as they please. I left a 15 gallon tub of food in their coop and a baby pool with a hose in it right outside. This eliminated the need for them to be checked on twice a day, once every few days would work. Done.

Rooster (AKA Shitbird) has been a mean man for the last year, flapping up at people, mostly men and children and digging his spurs in if he got close enough to you. He has never drawn blood until we were gone. In one day I received two emails telling me he drew blood on people and scared kids. I sent out a Facebook SOS for someone to remove him before I got home but sadly, he was still there when we got home. The night we got home, I took him to live at a deserted beach on the sound and wished him well. He had a fighting chance and I hope he is OK but I didn't have the heart to eat him or to give him to someone who would.

I told our friends, Sue, Rick, Cole and Reese, our plan and they offered for us to park our car at their home and take us to and from the airport, not to mention house and feed us while we were in town and give us the celebrity tour of the National Zoo where Rick works! Before we flew out, we got to feed tortoises, hold snakes and see Panda bears! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

A few iPhone pics -

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We had several choices for our flight path. Do we fly from Norfolk to NYC to Capetown or Jo'burg to Capetown or drive to DC to avoid an extra flight to NYC.

I eventually decided yes, driving to DC and flying overnight to Amsterdam and then to Capetown was the best option. Another option was flying into London but considering the winter we have had and how busy Hethrow is, we chose Amsterdam. We also didn't want a huge layover but we wanted a long enough layover to not be rushed. We thought we had a 2 hour layover, turned out to be 3.

We've never been gone for a month. Both working for ourselves, that has always seemed impossible! However, with Candace and Turkey's help I could go and with Candy, Dan, Connie and everyone else on Sanctuary Vineyard's team, John made it work. THANK YOU!