So for the first actual blog post, I thought I would start easy with a place I have come to know and love… South Africa! If you have ever been there, then you know how stunningly beautiful the landscape is and how amazingly openhearted the people are. My love for South Africa started when I was a teen growing up in small-town Wisconsin, USA.
I was fascinated by the worldwide effort to free the people of South Africa through the boycott and divestment movement. My heart broke reading stories and seeing photos of people my age fighting and dying for the freedoms I took for granted every day.
I turned 16 the day it was announced that Mandela would be freed and I still have the newspaper clippings in my scrapbook. South Africa struck me. And it stayed with me. And I vowed one day to visit.
And then life happened. I graduated secondary school, went to university, got a job… by the time my son was born in 1998, I had traveled extensively throughout the United States, mostly via two lane roads (the BEST way!), but had never been out of the country.
Funny how little travel money one has as a single mom! ANYway… with making a good life for my son as my inspiration, I graduated university, got my Masters in library and information science (#fuckyeahlibrarians), and eventually decided to pursue my doctorate.
I knew there was an opportunity there to study libraries in South Africa as part of my research and I went for it! I found an advisor who was local but from South Africa, enrolled as an international student at the University of Pretoria, and traveled there for the first time in 2009. Seven years and five trips to South Africa later, I finally finished writing my dissertation and successfully defended in February 2016.
But that’s actually of secondary importance to experiencing South Africa and that’s what I want to share with others. But even though my two cents is usually a quarter, I will start small and just post some of my favorite pics here from my South African travels… just to whet your appetite.
But never fear, there are so many more posts about this amazing country to come!