My Life in Cape Town...South Africa
Living in Cape Town | Working in Cape Town
... and how you come to be reading about Cape Town on this site!
Let me perform a quick introduction, now that we’re going to be on first name terms...
I'm Alison -- Ali to my friends. I'm 39, married, mother to two, and a Chartered Accountant in my 'before kids' days.
I was born in Zambia, grew up in Zimbabwe and have lived in Cape Town for the last 20 years, all while travelling on a British passport thanks to my Dad being born in Wales.
Here's a little taste of the Southern African influences I love and grew up in - this video is Paul Simon in concert in Zimbabwe in 1987 (before apartheid ended) accompanied by South African musicians.
I may sound like an international nomad of sorts, but I'm undoubtedly African at the core. And I love Cape Town, definitely her good parts, but also the bad and the ugly which need healing.
What brought me to Cape Town?
When I finished school, I chose the University of Cape Town (UCT), perched high on the slopes of Devil's Peak, as the spot to get my Bachelor's Degree.
What a spectacular spot! My campus bedroom looked out across the Cape Flats to the Hottentots' Holland.
The library where I did most of my studying offered tranquil views of the tree-clad mountain slopes.
From UCT to the CBD
Well, the idyllic student days passed and before I knew it I was entering the world of work and Qualifying Examinations. My focus shifted to the Cape Town city centre and I joined the world of little grey people in little grey suits.
I met my husband Ian while I was studying. We were married in 1993.
He's also a chartered accountant, now turned financial planner and yes, our friends tease us about who balances the cheque book! But we are proof that accountants have personality and are full of fun ;-)
Cape Town to Cape Town - via London ;)
As many young South Africans still do, we went to the UK and worked there for a few years, enjoying the cheap flights to Europe and traveling between work assignments.
We enjoyed our time in the UK seeing our 'roots' - we each have a parent who was born in the UK - one in Scotland, one in Wales.
But the Northern Hemisphere wasn't ever going to be home for me, long-term - I'm definitely African.
I really yearned for the sun, the wide-open spaces, fewer people and the smell of the bush. (There’s not a lot of bush and wilderness in Cape Town, but it's better than London. The wilderness is just a couple of hours' drive away.)
A month before we had our first child we returned home to Cape Town and put down our roots for good.
At-Home Cape Town Mom - in need of mental stimulation!
Those early years were tough! Colicky babies, husband in a new career, lots of uncertainty. I'm glad they are over, to be honest.
But I still count myself lucky to be an at-home mom and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, really. The children are now getting older and it's wonderful to see their individual personalities and quirkiness developing.
Wanting the Best of Both Worlds
It's human nature to always be looking for a little bit more, isn't it?
A bit more challenge, a little more comfort, something to stretch for.
There were times when I missed the mental challenge of work, the problem-solving and the sense of achievement when something comes together.
I also missed having a space of my own where I am just a competent individual rather than Mother of Two and Wife of A-nother.
Do Without or Do it Anyway?
I had resigned myself to doing without that so that I could be 100% here for my kids because I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person!
But I'd always hankered after having my own business.
I'm not an empire builder but I wanted to work, earn, create and contribute to my family without compromising on my own terms.
"Yeah right!" I hear you say. "We’d all like to make a living only doing what we love..."
Doing only what you love
My Cape Town solution was at my fingertips, as it turned out.
In my time at home I had discovered the Internet and gone on some wonderful virtual journeys via my mouse pad.
I had thought about writing for magazines but that meant external deadlines and constantly hunting the next assignment. -- Nope, that's not for me!
Then last year I stumbled across a process that put reality to the saying "If you can dream it, you can do it."
Actually, I wasn't even dreaming of anything back then
Certainly not of working online!
I had no programming skills or web design knowledge. No existing business or product to sell.
But I managed to find my perfect topic, build this website, get traffic to it and then make money out of it, despite my cautious accountant scepticism.
Are You Like A Risk-Averse Accountant?
Are you cautious and thorough? Me too!
I did a load of 'due-diligence' investigation before I decided to go for it.
But I'm glad I did - it's opened a whole new world for me of exploring and getting paid for it! I am now onto building a THIRD website about what I know.Click here to explore how to profit from doing what you love.
Could you use more insider tips in YOUR planning?
"I [was] visiting South Africa with my family for the 1st time and wanted some advice from a local.
"Thanks for the advice! Can't wait to get there now!"Nick C - Devon
"THANK YOU for taking the time and trouble to create this website - it is a Godsend."Sue Clarendon - US