Bringing Detroit smarts to Jo’burg

When slipped into conversation (and, I’ll be honest, I slip it into every conversation. “How’s the weather today?” “Probably better in South Africa, WHERE I AM GOING TO THE WORLD CUP THIS SUMMER”), I find that news of our trip to Johannesburg elicits one of two common responses.

1. Jealousy. “Seriously? That’s extremely awesome. I hate you.” Responses like this are generally preceded by requests for souvenirs/stowaway space in our luggage/the kidnapping and safe delivery of Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. Fear. Fear of long flights. Fear of foreign countries. Fear of the exchange rate. Fear of FIFA. Fear of rapists. Fear of the African continent. Fear of carjacking gorillas. Fear of soccer hooligans. Fear of terrorism. Fear of lost luggage and misplaced tickets.

This will sound a little arrogant, but: I get the jealous.

I don’t get the fear.

I understand that there are things that we must be mindful of. We don’t plan on going to South Africa and being completely reckless. I have done endless research. We’re young, female foreigners traveling alone. We can’t be stupid. We get that. Common sense was instilled in us long ago (thanks, Mom!). I honestly believe that we’ll be okay.

I’ve made decisions and bookings and plans with safety in mind. It’s something that I’ve kept in mind but haven’t really obsessed over. Taken into consideration? Absolutely. Every time.

Being smart is one thing. Being fearful is quite another. Safety may guide our trip, but fear will not dictate it.

Also: we’re from Detroit. So we’re sort of (read: incredibly) bad ass.


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