As I dread the twenty-four hour trip ahead of me to Cape Town tomorrow, I’m remembering the stories my mother used to tell me about our ancestors making the trip to the Cape in 1815.  Whereas I can go back home every year or two, once they left home it was pretty much for good, and the sea journey would take about six weeks.  And that was how long letters home would take.  I can be in phone or email contact every day.  And I know what to expect at the other end – I’m not having to leave one life behind forever to go off into the unknown.  One of the stories I loved the most was how, once the ship docked off the Eastern Cape in South Africa, my young great-great-great (I forget how many “greats”) grandmother was carried ashore by a sailor, who set her down on the beach, where she sat and smoothed out her skirts, and said, “Well, here we are in Africa!”  Much as air travel may seem like cruel and unusual punishment these days, it’s a breeze by comparison.

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