Why Doing Something That Doesn’t Make Sense, Makes Sense

How a trip to Cape Town changed my life


Hannah is one half of the HOF Sisters tall style blog, a fashion journal by two 6ft sisters trying to make their way “in a world designed for the fivers”.

It all began with a trip to South Africa last February. I had Airmiles, and was in dire need of sunshine, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to execute a longstanding promise to visit a friend in Johannesburg. He was working during the week and my plan was to alternate laptop hours with sunbathing hours by his pool. Sadly, the unseasonable rain in Johannesburg unhinged this plan, so my friend suggested we pop to Cape Town for the weekend to get some sun.

Everyone who has ever visited Cape Town has had 'The Moment'

It typically goes like this. You are sitting in the sunshine. In your hand is a glass of wine, resting lightly on a belly distended by exquisite, indefeasibly affordable food. Your eyes, bleary and drunken behind dark glasses, are staring out over The Twelve Apostles, a large expanse of white beach and endless ocean. You turn to your smug Capetonian friend and say, "I'm going to move here". Without shifting their gaze from the horizon, they mutter with a sly smile, "Yes, everyone has "The Moment"". Well, that's how it happened. That and a brief holiday liaison which convinced me that life in Cape Town would be more romantic than a Nicholas Sparks novel.

It didn't happen immediately, however. I returned to London and my routine; the endless drizzle, short and grey days, cramped, damp tube journeys and feeling perpetually S.A.D. "Surely the whole point of working for yourself is that you can work whenever and wherever you like?" asked my Jo'burg friend, as I lamented the drudgery over WhatsApp a few days later. It was all I needed. I booked my flight for September, due to return before Christmas.

It was booked on a whim, with little thought to the practicalities. But start considering why not to do something, why not to make a change, and it's game over. The fear takes hold and the status quo prevails. I needed to crawl out from under the comforting, polluted haze of my London existence before it swallowed me up for the rest of my life.

My strategy was to make a series of non-refundable plans and work everything else out later

From a social perspective, other than one or two people I had met during my February weekend, I knew nobody in Cape Town. I sent a mass email to friends, unashamedly asking them to help kick-start my social life by introducing me to anybody they had ever met who lived there. The response was an inbox full of introductions - at the time just names, now friends who have made my Cape Town months rich and unforgettable.

Three months turned into six and I am now in the final throes of my Cape Town hiatus. Moving to a city 8000 miles away knowing nobody - socially or commercially - was a rash decision that made no sense. A rash decision that I am grateful I made everyday. Yes, there were times I felt alone, but no more so than in London, and I have made lifetime friends, created new business opportunities and poured fuel on my passion for nature and the outdoors.

I strongly urge you not to consider what makes sense, what is the right thing to do, or the easiest. But instead to consider what doesn't make sense, what may involve upheaval, what will change your life.

Read more from Hannah at HOF Sisters blog.

I write this post for Long Tall Sally at a very challenging time for Cape Town, which is on track to become the first developed city in the world to run out of water. The following have all been cited as the reasons for the drought - climate change resulting in a number of dry winters, a rapidly growing population, a lack of investment in infrastructure, political brinkmanship and general mismanagement. While the exact date of Day Zero, when the taps are turned off, seems to be more fluid than water itself, the realities of such an event are only now being fully understood. Having no running water may result in violence, disease, infrastructure failure, collapse of the tourist industry and even the economy.

If you intend to visit this wonderful city, please help by sticking to the daily potable water allowance of less than 50 litres per person to help avoid Day Zero altogether (this number may change, please check here).

People’s response to the water crisis is also creating an environmental crisis on a catastrophic scale as they rush to buy bottled water and plastic consumption soars. Recent news that microplastics have been discovered in the Antarctic marine system, the most pristine ocean on earth, take our obligation to cut our daily usage of single use plastic to an urgent level. Check here for 9 easy ways that we can all reduce our plastic consumption.