Meet the South African woman who travelled the world without leaving her city
Ling Sheperd was having a sleepless night when she posted a viral travel thread on Twitter that has since amassed thousands of likes and retweets.
The Cape Town local, who hasn't travelled outside South Africa, posted a series of pictures of Cape Town locations and likened them to some of the world's top attractions, including Paris, the Taj Mahal, London and the South of France.
I miss travelling the world so much— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) July 26, 2020
i remember our trip to the Sydney Opera House so fondly pic.twitter.com/if1OJh9YEL
To travel to these countries, she showcased her Pick n Pay Smart Shopper card, aka her "passport".
Speaking to IOL Travel, Sheperd said what was meant to be a cure for boredom has brought smiles to thousands of social media users.
we had an awesome summer in Santorini one year too pic.twitter.com/ROl9iN9Nk9— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) July 26, 2020
She said: "I was having trouble sleeping. I watched a travel cooking show and realised how I have never really travelled out of South Africa, but at the same time, I have only been to Durban and Jozi. I have seen so little of my country, and then I started thinking about my immediate environment on the Cape Flats that reminds me of all the travel shows I watched.
"I sat and thought of each area here on the flats and how something reminds me of these iconic global landmarks. I put up the tweets for myself to laugh. I had no idea it would be this popular and make so many people happy. I'm glad I could do that in these precarious times," she said.
I can go back to the South of France any time pic.twitter.com/P2YJ0QgeEf— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) July 26, 2020
Sheperd hopes the viral tweet would inspire South Africans to explore their own country post-Covid-19.
"We are so lucky to have such great weather, national parks, beaches, river resorts and so on. Before I venture out of the country, I am definitely going to explore South Africa."
Her viral tweet sparked other South Africans to liken their own local attractions to popular global sites. User @KanyiZondo posted an image of Cape Town with the caption: "Girl, I’d give anything to be on top of Kilimanjaro watching the sunset again." (sic).
using public transport in New York was so cool— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) July 26, 2020
I had to snap this pic of Grand central station pic.twitter.com/aL1v3PhkWt
I recall lazy Autumn days walking the streets of Paris, and eating macarons from Laduree pic.twitter.com/BvAu3KRQGk— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) July 26, 2020
On the current SA travel restrictions due to Covid-19, she said:
" I think the restrictions in place are good so far. The only negative is the effects on the hospitality industry. I urge locals who are going to a restaurant to tip a bit extra. It really makes a difference. Always wear a mask, use sanitiser and socially distance where possible. We will overcome this.
"Once we overcome this pandemic, our first travel destinations should be in South Africa. We need to help with the recovery. It will stimulate the economy, secure jobs, and remind us of how grateful we should be for the beauty we have here before exploring overseas," she added.