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Cape Town Joburg

Come Make Stories

American girl moves to South Africa to intern and work as a Chief Entertainment Officer at Once in Cape Town.

Come Make Stories


When I first got to Cape Town, I walked out of my room to see Table Mountain peeking out from behind the clouds. The sun was shining in a way that felt bright and full of opportunity. It was August 7th, and I had finally made the difficult decision to leave home and live in a new place on the other side of the world. I had been wanting this experience for years, but for most people, actions are different than dreams. When you’re dreaming, you can create and imagine a fairytale. You can also let internal fears create an alternative story, which makes a great excuse for cutting your dreams off from growth and manifestation. That is the power of a dream- it is one of the only things we can create to look exactly how we want. I spent a lot of time creating a fairytale in my mind, then I would destroy it with fears. Over and over again. In August, that changed. I didn’t just wake up in my bed on the other side of the world, I was waking up to an entirely new life. When I walked into the doors at Once, I was writing new pages in my story and I had no idea how they would look. All I knew was that amazing things were going to happen. 

When I first arrived at Once in Cape Town, there were a few volunteers who were heading home. They were extremely sad to go, because they had fallen in love with the city and had so many wonderful experiences during their stay. One girl said to me, "I don't want to go home. I am so much more myself here. I am so shy at home." I found myself wondering if I could possibly feel that same way at the end of my three months. Given that I was in the middle of counting down the days until I got to go home, I didn't really believe that would happen to me. I was constantly staring out the window and wondering how I was going to grow. I felt very uncertain when I got here. One day while working, my lovely friend, Thembi looked at me and said "You're in the motherland. You are not lost." That is the first day I felt peace about my decision to move here.

It is impossible for me to accurately describe what life over the last three months has been like. Moving to Cape Town was one of the most nerve wracking things I have ever done, but living here has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I have met people from all over the world, fed elephants, done yoga on the beach, gone sand-boarding and on epic wine tours, watched more sunsets than I can count, laughed and cried with new friends, hiked mountains with views that have taken my breath away, spotted lions on a safari, and felt so joyful and grateful for the little things in life.

Knysna Elephant Sanctuary

Lion's Head

Alexandria Dune Field

The Arcade Bar

Since being in Cape Town, I have been able to tap into an entirely new outlook on life. Although it can be easier to be positive when you are constantly adventuring and surrounded by beauty, I tried to remain conscious of that difference and tried to turn it into a habit that will last long after I leave. In September I wrote in my journal:  “Every day gets better. Not because Cape Town is so much better, but because I am looking at life with new eyes. I got brand new eyes from Cape Town.” Sometimes going somewhere new is all you need to give you some perspective and remind yourself to be grateful.

I have lived here for three months now, and it feels more like home every day. Working at Once has allowed me to meet people from all over the world, which is not something most people get to experience. This country is complicated- it can be confusing the way things run societally - but I think the complexity is part of what makes it so amazing and beautiful. My days have been brighter here and I have experienced joy like I have not in a while. I have met so many amazing people who have taught me about a variety of cultures and how differences don’t have to be bad. They’ve taught me how to forgive and accept people as they are. Going to a new place is that- it’s about learning and becoming a better and more informed version of yourself. It is about just choosing to be more alive.

Woodstock Cave

Now it is time for me to enter into another phase of unknowns and return to the USA. I have never liked goodbyes. It is true that most people don’t, but I used to let the fear of losing keep me from starting a relationship, going to a new place, buying something new, or even trying new things in general. I don’t view goodbyes the same way I used to. I have begun to believe that life has a way of telling us when it’s time to move on, and that is okay. When we allow ourselves to live fully in the moment and be happy, goodbyes are not so sad.

Lion's Head

Your next soul mate, friend, roommate or business partner could be one passport stamp away. Your dreams coming true could be one flight away. A new job that may change your life could be one application away. The kicker to receiving all of these gifts is super simple. Decide what you want. Decide to be uncomfortable enough to go get it.. and stop being so freaking afraid.  When I decided to come to South Africa, I was looking for a vibrant and exciting experience. I wanted my story in Cape Town to write itself. The whole point of me leaving home was to let go of expectations and plans. To just jump without a safety net and live.


Be the author of your life! Come make stories.


Groot Constantia


                                          Read more by me: Freely Chaotic 

                                                       Rachel Adkins