In South Africa, Travel and Adventures

We’re Moving! Goodbye California …

…hello South Africa!

ca-saThat's right, friends, I'm moving to Cape Town, South Africa for 6 months! When I asked readers to guess my big announcement, 21% of you guessed that I was moving out of the country (although only 1 person correctly guessed my two announcements). We've known about this move for a while, actually. Matt and I started talking about the possibility of this move back in August, and knew that it was pretty much a done deal by the end of 2012. And in three months it will be a reality. South Africa 2013 hits us all in less than 3 months!

So why we are moving? Our university has an exchange relationship with the University of Cape Town. Last year they sent us an advanced PhD student so she could do her research / take classes, and this year Matt was picked to be the student to head to South Africa. He'll be doing research, taking a few classes, and teaching a statistics class for Master's students for the semester. Me? I'm planning on chipping away at my own research while hanging out on the beach. I'm actually pretty lucky because about 50% of my current work / projects / research can be done remotely, meaning I'll still be able to do things (as in get closer to my PhD, and make a tiny bit of monies) while in Cape Town. Get my work done in beautiful South Africa? High-fiving a million angels. 

In the meantime, I've got a lot to take care of before we move out of our place in June.  I'm frantically trying to wrap up all my other jobs (3 of them!), and projects that I can't work on while abroad.  We have to move out of our house in June, and we'll be visiting family for a couple of weeks (in Northern CA & Oregon) before we arrive in Africa July 1st.

This is truly a wonderful experience, but also kind of sad. I've been living in Southern California for 8 years now, and as much as I loved growing up in Northern California,  SoCal has become my home. And to be honest, Matt and I aren't entirely sure if we'll be returning here after our time in Cape Town. So, I've got 2.5 months left in this beautiful area, and I plan on making them count. Family, grad school friends, college friends, blog friends – I need to see you all before I leave! Although it will be a super busy couple of months, I'm really going to be making personal connections a priority. So let's hang.

Also, any good tips for living out of the country? I did a study abroad trip in college but I have a feeling that this will be a little different …

Linked withLinked with This or ThatLovelyGrow, Almost Friday, and the Expat Diaries!

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Nicole is a treasure hunter and pup mama located in Seattle, Washington. Loves travel, politics, lifestyle, TV, & wine. She's an unapologetic SJW & feminist AF.

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  • Brittany

    This is insane!! I’m so so happy for you! I can’t wait to hear stories about you and Charlize Theron hanging out and watching Invictus together!

  • Best wishes to you! I really regret not studying abroad in college- but we are finally here in Europe after wanting an expat assignment for years. I’m participating in the expat linkup this month and my post actually has 10 things I love & hate about being an expat- not sure if they will apply to you or not :) But whereas you are pretty unencumbered- I have 3 boys ages 2, 2 & 4. So in my eyes you have the easiest road ahead possible. I can’t even imagine how much different this would be without the kids! Enjoy!

  • AH how exciting! I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures and I hope you have lots of time to travel around the continent, too. Leaving home i always worth it, but for this, I’m sure you’ll not want to leave SA by the end of it! My only immediate tip that comes to mind is pack light and maybe the expensive stuff: like a coat. Everything else you will get there and I don’t know about SA, but Europe has so many cute cheap stores (H&M, Primark, etc.)

  • Casey C

    Ooo exciting!!! SA sounds amazing!!

  • Megan

    Oooh, how exciting! I’m South African, and as much as I love our beaches and seas, there is no way I’ll put my feet in Cape Town water. It’s sooo cold. If you want a proper sea to swim in, you’d better go to Durban :)

    People are super friendly though, so enjoy the hospitality, just don’t let them take advantage of you.

    Check out my blog for more. Especially my travels page :)

    Also, check out expat Jenna’s blog, she’s also a SoCal girl, but now in SA, more permanently.

    Good luck with everything!

  • MyTravelingTroop

    Wow! What a big move! I hope the journey goes smoothly & I can’t wait to read all about your adventures abroad! :)


  • Wow, thats so exciting! Stay opened minded and you’ll have the best experience. I recommend bringing and your favorite spices and American measuring cups. There’s nothing more annoying than wanting your favorite foods at the end of a challenging day and not being able to. Also, converting Metric to ‘American’ every-time I cook makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Good luck!!

  • Holy shit!!! haha That’s so exciting!! I’m a rockstar when it comes to moving but for this, I wouldn’t know WHERE to start!

  • Chelsea Diamond

    congrats!!! that’s such an exciting move! i can’t wait to read more about the move!

  • How fun and I am jealous! My lab gets students from overseas all the time but we never get sent away in an exchange :( Ever since I started grad school I’ve been planting little ideas to get my advisor to send me to Japan, haha!

  • WHAT! and OMG yes. we need to discuss – especially as you’ll be planning your wedding from another country! LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, YOUNG GRASSHOPPER! we should totally schedule a Skype :) and also watch your twitter!

  • tia liogas

    how exciting! I’ve always wanted to visit south africa!

  • Jenna

    Hi! I’m so glad Betsy re-connected us via twitter :) I’m also a California girl living in South Africa. I’ve been here for 5 years and counting spending my first 2 years in Stellenbosch (near Cape Town) and my last 3 years in Johannesburg. My fiance just completed his PhD in Industrial Psychology with emphasis on statistical methods and also taught stats for the social sciences at the University of Johannesburg and University of Stellenbosch. I’m currently doing a Masters in Industrial Psychology as well. What department will Matt be researching for and what kind of stats is he into? Would be crazy if we’re in the same field! UCT is Beautiful – you guys are going to love it. Please feel free to get in touch regarding any questions you might have :) Overall, I absolutely love it here and I’m sure you both will too!


  • OH MY GOSH!!!! I’m so excited for you and I can’t wait to read your posts from South Africa. :) My tip is to find a supportive expat group right away. That honestly makes all the difference.

    Thank you for linking up with us today to make your big announcement. Yay!!

  • Sharon S

    Wow!! This is so exciting! What a fun new journey you guys have in store.

    The Tiny Heart

  • Sad sad sad that you won’t be a (long) drive away anymore but so excited for your journey!! :) So exciting and you are totally living the life my friend. Let’s see each other a million times in the next 3 months, what will I do when I can’t text you anymore?!? AHHHHHHH

  • WOW!!!! What a difference. Sounds really amazing.

  • I was right I was right!!!!! Ahhhhhh that is incredible! South Africa is soooo beautiful! What an amazing journey!

  • Brittany

    That’s so great! I actually had the chance to live in SA for three months! It was great! I was in Johannesburg though! If you get the chance to travel while you’re over there I’d highly recommend Swaziland! Also, in SA, Durban has great beaches!

  • ahh this is so awesome and exciting!!!! yay!!!

  • AnotherCleanSlate

    Wow! This is incredible! Good luck!!!

  • HOW EXCItinG!!!!!!!!! I totally know how you feel. Hubby and I now live in Peru and I had lived in the same place pretty much my entire life. The first year SUCKED, I’m not going to lie…but it gets much better, especially once you start adjusting!

    Good luck with everything! Cant wait to read about your adventures!

    Stopping by from The Expat Diaries :)

  • Ah! Congrats – I can’t wait to hear all about the move – I know nothing about South Africa, so I’ll be living/learning vicariously through you.

  • This is so exciting, Nicole! You’ve got to be going crazy with excitement and anticipation! I hope you and the guy have a safe trip over and have tons of fun!!! I can’t wait to read all about your adventures there!

  • Nadine BackEastBlonde

    THIS IS AMAZING! Congratulations! You two are going to have an amazing time and I can’t wait to see pictures and read stories about your time there. What a bold and adventurous move!

  • danielle carroll

    What?!?!? How exciting. Hmmmm, I may have to schedule a visit once you’re all settled ;)

  • This is so exciting! Congratulations!!!

  • Alyssa

    Wow, Nicole, this will be an amazing experience!!! Good luck wrapping things up at home and I can’t wait to hear about your exciting adventures :)

  • Oh my goodness! How exciting! I went once, a few years ago, to Capetown and it is beautiful! Make sure to have enough converters for EVERYTHING!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Lesley_PLPT

    That is so exciting!! I can’t wait to read all about it. ;)

  • Amanda Holland

    That is so exciting!! Congratulations to you both :) We must hang before you leave!!

  • Oh wow!!! Thats awesome! Good luck with the move, I can’t wait to see more!

  • Britta

    how did i not see this post yet?? this is so exciting!! and happening oh so soon :) well you know you can always ask me anything about living abroad and i’ll do my best to answer your questions!!

  • Eileen Mulloy

    So exciting! Congrats! Looking forward to even more beautiful pictures and stories from your adventures. I lived in Australia for three years and have been having a similar itch to try someplace new…

    xx, e

  • I am SO jealous!!! Seriously looking forward to some exciting posts!!

    NeNe Monster

  • Breenah

    Just came over from Amy’s blog. How exciting is this?!? I think South Africa would definitely be one of the best places to be, especially if you don’t HAVE to be working on something all the time.

  • La Tache

    Oh my gosh this is soo exciting and what an amazing adventure! One of my best friends is moving to Lesotho in October for the Peace Corps! I am not sure how long you will be in South Africa but if you want I can introduce you via email :-) Let me know!

    Seriously…soooo freakin cool!!