If you have followed us for a while then you are no stranger to the face of beauty Anastasia Klaffert and the creative behind the lens Audrey McGee. Last year they took our designs on a road trip across the United States through national parks, hot springs and the most incredible architecturally designed spaces. This year, as the world has started to open up again, our gals dusted off their passports and ventured across the water to some pretty magic locations in South Africa. They are now back and we couldn’t wait to hear all the dreamy details of their adventures!
So, we got curious. This is what they had to say to us about their trip ...
How long have you ladies known each other?
Three years now, the second time we decided to meet up was our first mini adventure together. Audrey wanted to go to Ojai. I had never been so we decided to car camp for the night on the side of the road next to a citrus grove. When we woke up we made a breakfast picnic with fresh sourdough bread, Miyokos butter, and local jam. After that I knew Audrey and I were going to be best friends!
How many trips have you taken together?
This would be our 4th trip taken together, but our second multi state, weeks long adventure. We have been on near a dozen day trips and weekends away together, but this was our 2nd multi state and weeks away adventure.
We have travelled with you before, last year domestically when you took our designs with you on your road trip around America, but, this time you ladies tested the waters (now that the world is opening back up again after this post pandemic) and travelled to South Africa. Were you nervous or excited? We were so completely jealous, was it surreal?
Ana: I was excited! I was going ‘home’ for the first time in 3 years, and this time I was bringing my friend. We were going to drive through parts of South Africa that I hadn’t seen before as well as bringing my Mom along for some of it.
Aud: So excited and ready for the journey to unfold and surface itself! It was my first time to SA and it was super special to do it with your best friend in her hometown. We had friends who were also visiting from the states and that gave some familiarity to how Covid felt there. Nothing is promised and I was so grateful to have the journey be itself in place of worries or even hopes.
Can you please tell us bit about why you chose your destinations?
Ana: I was born in South Africa and spent 20 years living on and off between Eastern Cape and Cape Town. I usually go back every year to visit friends and family but because of the pandemic I had not been back for almost 3 years. I was excited, not only because I got to be ‘home’ however, this time I was able to show it all to Audrey who has travelled many places but never South Africa. I can’t really explain why but there is something magical about SA. My Mom joined us on the first week of the trip and that was really special to share those memories as well.
Aud: We wire framed a little bit of our route so Ana could see friends and family for the first time in three years. Usually what leads me to a town or stay is a mix of intuition, something earth-centered, and humble. Connectedness to nature, being open, and how charm shows up in little ways. The people, their social voice, the food and the decor. It’s almost always a felt experience of ‘this is it’.
We can see that you were able to get up close with the Elephants at Knysa Elephant Park over there ... have you any advice to give to our audience about that?
To ask yourself what your values are around sharing intimate space with wild animals and then see if that aligns enough with the place you're thinking to visit. To learn about the place you’re visiting, ask them questions and share your feedback gently. Take a bit of the experience with you in a way that serves the animal’s gift of connecting with them. It doesn’t have to be outward facing.
It wasn’t the most comfortable of decisions to visit the Knysna Elephant Park, part of me still feels conflicted about being able to touch them. Ultimately, Ana and I decided to go because the elephants are free to roam and choose to be near you. It was on their terms and I really love that every elephant there was coming into a better home from their previous one. They were orphaned or had been in a circus, even rescued from culls. It is really heartwarming to know the intention is to release them back to the wild whenever possible.
What was your favourite blissful moment in the trip Anastasia? And Audrey?
Ana: There were many moments! If I had to choose one, then it would be when Audrey and I decided to change the route up and drive along the R44 from Hermanus to Cape Town. There was mountain all along our right and ocean along the left and it was just breathtaking. Audrey and I kept looking at each other and laughing because it was just all so insanely beautiful!
Aud: Actually same and I also have some resistance to favouriting. The stretch Ana’s speaking about was the sweetest mix of an Italian coast, Big Sur and Brazilian beaches. There were so many car dancing moments! When Ana said her toes were ‘runny’, watching Ana and her Mom dance from the backseat while we drove through a zebra reserve was the perfect high. Laughing on Lion’s Head at sunset. Farm stall stops roadside - So much little bliss.
What was the most challenging part of the trip for each of you?
Ana: I found it quite challenging seeing everyone and everything whilst still finding time for myself because I hadn't been back in so long. I also missed my love, our dog Maya after 5 weeks of being away.
Aud: This is always an inward question for me. How I live in a way that honours the Earth and everyone I’m sharing this walk with is what’s currently most alive for me. I drink a lot of water at home. It’s a huge privilege and that was even more mirrored in SA. Doing it plastic-free was something I made concessions on. So then it was finding ways to minimise that and consider how those efforts touched the people around me.
You look like you have so much fun travelling together. Have you any advice to give about choosing a wonderful travel companion?
Ana: Lol, Audrey is definitely more organised! I am so very thankful for how much more organised I have become because of her. I would say the best part of travelling with Audrey is that we both enjoy the same things - we would drink the beer, eat the food, dance and laugh constantly. In moments when we were not feeling our best then we would give each other space and know that we are not responsible for the other person's emotions. I love our friendship and will be forever grateful for our friendship and these adventures.
Aud: I really connect with a quote by Sri Ramana Maharshi that says the greatest gift you can give the world is your own self realisation. "I think if you're on a path to knowing yourself you’ll know who to travel, friend and life with." Ana is one of the most thoughtful and giving people I’ve known, there's an ease to the way she gives that brings such a lightness to everything. Our friendship is one of the best relationships I’ve ever had and it’s so good traveling with someone you share so many likes and loves with.
What was your favourite South African aperitif detail?
Ana: We had so much good food in Cape Town!!! I love a good G&T but when I could, I would always get a snickers smoothie from Schekters Raw- Chocolate milkshakes are my favourite thing. If you made them vegan and non processed, I would not be able to get enough of them! Audrey would probably agree with me on this, but the best dish I had on the trip was asian inspired yellowtail sashimi from Bao Down and it was covered in coriander, fish sauce and coconut cream. Still drooling thinking of it!
Aud: Yeah, the Bao Down dish was top and they have a lavender, black pepper and gin drink that’s delicious. Schekters Raw’s whole breakfast menu is not to be missed and I loooove their falafel wrap, I bought extra just so I could eat it on the plane. You could also split me down the middle for brekky at Mulberry and Prince or Between Us.
We know you girls have quite a collection of our designs now, why do you love them for travelling and what is your favourite DOI design?
Ana: They are versatile - I can put a dress on and be barefoot running around during the day and then throw some sandals on with some cute earrings and be ready for a night out too. My two favourites right now are the Diya Midi and the Mishka Maxi in Chestnut.
Aud: A tie between the Sahana in Emerald or the Mishka in Chai. I’m a dress girl and LOVE a maxi. The Sahana feels so elegant and I love what those sleeves do! Worn scrunched or peasant. The Mishka feels even more beautiful on, I love the silhouette. Traveling with Daughters for me is wearing comfort and beauty at the same time.
Audrey and Anastasia’s favourite soundtracks for the trip were:
- Manana Tepotzlan by El Buho
- Natural Mystic by Bob Marley & The Wailers
- Midiwan by Bombino
- Texas Sun by Khruangbin