Storyteller Karisa | CapeTownMyLove.com

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Tell us a bit about yourself! Why do you love travel? How do you think travel unites us or teaches us more about the world?
I’m a full time IT professional and a part time lifestyle blogger, but my true passion is travel. If I could travel full time, I would be the happiest girl in the world. To date I’ve managed to see 20 countries, but there are still so many I want to see! My goal is to try and visit as many countries as I can before I die.
I believe that travel is the best (and most fun) form of education. You earn about different cultures, rich histories, interesting places, amazing food, and it’s way more impactful than simply reading about it in a book. If I have children some day, I will definitely encourage them to travel as much as they can.

Can you tell us something about the culture in your country and why did you decided to stay there?
I was born here in South Africa. It’s my home. As much as I’ve been lucky enough to travel, I can’t imagine myself settling anywhere else. I love that South Africa is a multi-cultural place with it’s own unique feel. Of course we have our struggles, but at the end of the day I’m always proudly South African.

What surprising aspect of culture do you love about your country (or your specific town/city) that travelers may not be aware of?
I live in Cape Town and I think it’s the best city in the world. We have everything in one place – gorgeous beaches, the winelands, beautiful mountains, a very cool/hip inner city & nightlife, safaris, shopping, great food and great wine. You really can’t ask for more. Something travelers may not be aware of? Perhaps that we don’t have lions roaming around in the streets? (that’s something South Africans like to joke about) 😉

Which dish do you feel best represents where you’re specifically from? Share a picture and tell us why you love it!
It has to be malva pudding. It’s an Afrikaans baked dessert with a spongy texture which is served hot with custard or ice cream. It’s super easy to make and it’s absolutely delicious! (I’ve attached a pic of me holding one that I made myself – but maybe grab a google image that gives you a better close up view)

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Growing up in your country, what’s something that you believe makes it unlike anywhere else in the world?
I guess it’s the mix of different cultures. As an example, we have 11 official languages. It certainly keeps things interesting.

Talk about the role of family in your life. What does family mean to you? Which family values are valuable to you?
Family is very important to me. I unfortunately live in a different city to my parents and some of my siblings are spread across the world, but when we see each other it always feels like home.

Art and dance can tell a deeper story about local culture. Tell us the story of a specific artwork or dance that has a meaning for you. Share a photo, if you can. (It can be anything from street art to a festival to a painting to architecture to woven art work, to woodworking, a family heirloom, etc.)
We have a annual public arts festival called Infecting the City. Every time I’ve been able to attend, I always leave completely blown away & inspired by our local talent. Read more at: http://infectingthecity.com/2016/festival/previous-festivals/

Languages not only give us the power to communicate, but also can unite us across cultures. What’s something you love about the multitude of languages spoken in your country? Share a favorite saying you have, or teach us something in your native language. In Afrikaans, if something’s nice or cool we say: “Lekker” Then sometimes we’re a bit confusing, for example to show that we agree with someone we say “Ja nee” which means “Yes no” in English – which of course doesn’t really make any sense at all. The terms “just now” and “now now” are used to describe how long you’re going be. For example “I’ll be there just now / now now”. There’s no exact science to how many minutes/hours either of those relate to, but I think I’ve been able to figure out that just now is very soon and now now is a bit longer than that. (or it could be the other way around.. who knows!)

Table Mountain Cape Town South Africa

What local spot in your city/town do you love most? Why is it personally important to you?
It’s definitely Table Mountain. Not only is it one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, but it’s also really beautiful to look at. My apartment has a direct view of the mountain and I sometimes find myself just staring at it, particularly when the clouds move over it to form a tablecloth of sorts.

Who is the most inspiring person in your life? In which ways does this person inspire you?
I’m not really inspired by only one person. I’d say my friends and family inspire me for various reasons in their own way. I’m also inspired by stories of courage, love & perseverance by every day people living in difficult circumstances. It reminds you to always feel grateful for what you have and to never give up when things are tough.

Have you ever met a stranger during your travels who made an impact on your life in a certain way, or maybe it was you who helped someone else? Share the story!
I always meet awesome people when traveling solo. One person who stands out is an American guy I met on a train station in Vernazza (Cinque Terre, Italy). He was struggling to figure out the Italian train system and was trying to get to Florence. He spotted my English guide book and asked me for help. Luckily I was also heading to Florence and we ended up chatting up a storm on the train. We spent some time together in Florence and became good friends. He’s been to South Africa since & I still need to go check out his hometown of New Orleans, but we definitely still keep in touch.

Unfortunately, stereotypes exist in the world. What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about your country? What is considered disrespectful in your culture that visitors should be aware of?
That it’s super dangerous as a tourist destination. I always say it’s as dangerous as any other place. The advice I give others when walking around here is the exact same I follow when I travel. For example: Don’t walk around with too much cash, keep your camera/phone tucked away, don’t go down dark streets or alleyways that don’t feel safe, and rather grab an Uber at night.

Karisa is a full time IT professional and part-time lifestyle blogger, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow her travels via Cape Town My Love and on Facebook and Twitter

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