Guest post: My travels from A to Z by Jill of Couchtime with Jill

Today I’m pleased to share a guest post I received from my clever friend Jill. Her TV blog, Couchtime with Jill, is my go-to stop for television recaps, criticism and witticism. If you like tv, and enjoy both the thoughtful appreciation of television and considered snark about television, get over to her blog tout de suite.

Jill’s also had her fair share of adventures, which heavily feature one of my future destinations – South Africa. So grab your favourite beverage, find a comfy spot, and enjoy Jill’s adventures!

I can’t kill a wasp, but I can jump off a bridge without batting an eyelash

A: Age you went on your first trip

When I was two I was taken to Disney World, which I’m told I pretty much slept through. I went on a couple road trips as a younger kid, and my first flight when I was ten.  I went to Toronto and Buffalo, NY.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where

I’m really not a beer drinker, but my visit to South Africa is when I first realized I liked wine.

C: Cuisine (favorite)

Italian and Middle Eastern. Don’t make me choose.

D: Destination (favorite and least favorite)

Favorite – Cape Town, South Africa

Least favorite – I’ll say  Washington D.C. not because it’s the worst place I’ve been, but because I found it disappointing based on my expectations. It was a bit bland.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”

My first Broadway show was Beauty and the Beast, and it just blew my mind. I’ve loved live theatre ever since.

F: Favorite mode of transportation

I like road trips so you can really see the landscape.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling

The first time I traveled alone was huge for me. It was challenging, but I felt really proud of myself for being so independent.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to

Southern California in August. My sister hated it, but I felt like I was born to live there. Dry heat is my jam. [Ed note: Word to that. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.]

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where

When I flew with South African Airlines I couldn’t get over how much better the service was than with any American or Canadian airline. The free blanket and socks were incredibly comfortable and it felt like they were constantly feeding me – even on a one-hour flight.

J: Journey that took the longest

On the way home from Cape Town I had a long layover in Joburg, and then I missed my connecting flight in New York and had to spend another day in an airport. It was an epic disaster; I think it ended up being over 48 hours of continuous travel. [Ed note: That’s rough, layover time is looooong time.]

K: Keepsake from your travels

I’m a hoarder, so I have a box of ticket stubs, brochures, etc. The two things that mean the most to me are a lovely carved box from an elephant reserve in Knysna, South Africa and a painting of elephants that I bought at Greenmarket Square in Cape Town.

knysna elephant park
Take Eleven – finally looking at the camera!

L: Letdown site and where

The Statue of Liberty in New York. I was very young and didn’t realize what a tremendous time suck it would be, so I insisted on being taken there. I learned not to put too much stock in big tourist destinations.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel

My first trip to New York. I was probably twelve or so, my dad used to live there. I love that you can go back to New York over and over and have a brand new experience each time.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at

I stayed at a resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada once with my dad. He was there for work, it was fancy.

O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

People. I’m the creepy girl trying to snap shots of locals without them knowing. [Ed note: there’s an iPhone app for that, but it feels really creepy to download it.]

P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?

Oh gosh, I’m not sure. My old passport had tons from trips to the US, but my current passport doesn’t have enough!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where

Monkeyland in South Africa was pretty quirky – you can go on a tour, or you can just order a sandwich and a coffee and hang around while monkeys wander around. It was an unexpected experience. [Ed note: this is the second Monkeyland reference/recommendation I’ve received, it’ll definitely have to go on the SA trip agenda.]

Operation ‘Look, I’m touching this monkey!’ was almost a success.

R: Recommended site, event or experience

The Garden Route in South Africa. There are safaris, the elephant reserve, everything. It’s where I did the world’s talent bungee jump, which is one of my proudest accomplishments.

S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling

My motto is experience over possessions when it comes to travel. I try to play it cheap with souvenirs and spend my money on museums, art galleries, tours.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done

Hollywood. I had my picture taken with a Michael Jackson impersonator and put my hands in Dick Van Dyke’s at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

U: Unforgettable travel memory

Ever since I was young I was really interested in South Africa and Nelson Mandela, so when I finally got to go visit Robben Island I was almost overwhelmed. It was a really emotional experience that I know I’ll never forget. [Ed note: This is top of my list of things to do in SA and I fully expect to be a mess.]

V: Visa. How many and for where


W: Wine. Best glass of wine while traveling and where?

At a jazz bar during one of my first nights in Cape Town. I had a delicious meal and couldn’t believe that with a cover charge, dinner, wine and tip the cost of my meal was only about $20 Canadian.

X: eXcellent view and from where

The amazing view of Table Mountain from my apartment in Cape Town, and the amazing view of the city form the top of the mountain. [Ed note: I want to go to there. Nay, must go there.]

view of table mountain
This is what I saw from my window every day for a month.
view from table mountain
View from the top. A long climb, but worth it!

Y: Years spent traveling

I’m 26, so I suppose about 24.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where

South Africans love their rugby and New Yorkers love their baseball. I’m not sure who’s more zealous.

If you enjoyed Jill’s A to Z, check out the other great A to Z posts by friends of the blog!

My travels from A to Z

Janet’s travels from A to Z

Arthur of Halifax ReTales’ travels from A to Z

Vanessa’s travels from A to Z



  1. Have to remember the A to Z thing, that was a really good idea! Btw, if you like bungy jumping in a long term, there is a place called Kawarau bridge hosted by AJ bungy jump in Queenstown, New Zealand, that let’s you jump for free if you are 65 or older (been thinking about moving there when I grow old). Also the world’s first commercial bungy jump place.

  2. I love the idea of Travels from A to Z! South Africa is high on my list of travel destinations, so this post has given me some great takeaways. I’m in the middle of a travel hiatus right now (sob), and these posts are making it harder and harder to squash my very persistent travel bug.

    • Boo to travel hiatuses! If you ever want to do an A to Z of your own, I’d love to have a guest post.

      (Spoiler alert: if you’re fighting a travel bug, you may not like tomorrow’s post…)


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