We chatted to travel writer, Dawn Jorgensen about her blog, the Incidental Tourist to find out more about her love for Cape Town and her blog philosophy.
What inspired you to get into travel blogging?
My background is in hospitality and travel. In 2010, I sold my bespoke tour operating company Africa Awaits Tours & Safaris, which I’d established and run for ten years. I decided to start a blog. At the time, I made the difficult decision to change careers. Even though I loved playing a role in the happiness travel brings others, it was all consuming and I wanted to do something more creative. Travel was something I’d always been passionate about, and the initial idea was to start a travel blog that focussed on the experiences I’d had, and act as a bit of a platform for people seeking advice or anecdotes about my African travels in particular. Over the years, it grew into something that I’m very proud of today and has created countless opportunities for me to savour and share. It’s now truly an extension of my voice.
How do you wish to make a difference?
I am ever aware that travel is a privilege and that I am very fortunate to have the experiences that I do. That said, I wish to encourage everybody, even if on a tight budget, to create moments that allow them to pause and enjoy their surrounds. Whether it’s a day at the beach, a walk in the mountains or a trip to picnic in the Winelands. Especially from Cape Town where there are countless things we can do with a limited budget. Over and above that I have labelled myself a Conscious Traveller, and place a lot of emphasis on the environment and eco-tourism. When planning a trip, local or international, it is important to select properties, activities and destinations that offer an ethical experience and are doing the right thing by the community and area they are in. I see my role as one that comes with great responsibility, and I choose to promote travel that matters, where lessons are taken, respect is given and a conscious appreciation applies throughout.
How did you come up with the name, The Incidental Tourist?
It’s all a bit coincidental that I arrived in Travel and Tourism. After growing up in the Free State, living in Israel for four years and starting a career working for Anglo America, I eventually was able to weave my way to a place where travel, albeit for other people initially, was my career and focus. When I was thinking of a name for my blog and examining the incidents that brought me to where I am today, a tourist in my own town, in any town or place, it seemed apt.
What do you love most about Cape Town?
That we have two oceans, so to speak. Having grown up inland, I absolutely love the ocean, the natural scenery and rich offerings of beaches, coastline and viewpoints from which to appreciate it, be it from above or below. I know the water is freezing in some parts, but if you head to False Bay or towards the Overberg, it’s much warmer and you can and must swim. Either way, the energy and mystery of the sea is something I believe provides a calming energy to me personally, as well as to the whole city and constantly reminds of our connection to nature.
People say Cape Town is an ‘International City’. Do you think it’s true?
It’s always an interesting debate as I want to say that Cape Town is an African city given that as soon as you look beyond the ‘city bowl and Atlantic seaboard’ you find a rich culture, unique history and mix of people with a proud heritage we must embrace. There is so much here to enjoy and learn from than the obvious. That said, the strong international feel and cosmopolitan influence is undeniable. It’s a bit of Europe, America and the continent coming together in a relaxed and vibrant manner, over fine food and craft beer, appreciating all that the Mother City offers. My wish is that, with time, we will become more of a blend of culture and language, delighting in each other as much as we do in our precious mountain.
What are your favourite spots in Cape Town?
I live in Wellington and travel a lot within South Africa and internationally, which means that I don’t spend as much time in the city as I’d like to. But when I go through I love to linger in the Company Gardens, walk the Sea Point Promenade, eat all the delicious wares at the Old Biscuit Mill, not only on a Saturday. Photograph Bo-Kaap and head out to Muizenberg, False Bay, the Penguins at Boulders Beach and Cape Point. A place I will never tire of.
What’s next for The Incidental Tourist?
More focus on local travel this year where I aim to highlight smaller lesser known towns, villages and destinations uncovering more of the South Africa we should embrace. Always a safari and walking trail, when I can find one. My hope too is that I can build up more relationships and associations with ecotourism and fair trade products and move more into the promotion of animal rights and ecotourism. Throughout more freelance writing and coming soon, Travel with The Incidental Tourist.
Photography courtesy Dawn Jorgensen