Our BIG Adventure: South Africa, Going for It, Exciting New Book Deal, and a Few Questions for YOU!

by ShaunKing on March 19, 2014 · 40 comments

(Note #1: These are my raw thoughts and I have not edited this blog for errors. At the very bottom of it, I have some important questions…)

(Note #2: I hope our big news inspires all of you to live life to the fullest. We’re doing it on a shoestring budget, with 4 kids, and only a small bit of certainty.)

For the first 15 years of my adult life, I lived in Atlanta, loved it, but too often lived timidly until the end.

Since 2011, though, my entire family has embraced a true spirit of adventure.  During these 3+ years:

  • We moved to California, fell in love with the place, and started HopeMob. The beach became our home.
  • We moved to Kentucky for a year to be with our extended family and so that I could more easily travel to New York where I was preparing to launch a tech start-up, Upfront.
  • We said “what the hell” and decided to move the entire family to Manhattan into a 1 bedroom apartment so that I could work full-time to launch Upfront. To our surprise, it was one of the most memorable times of our entire life and none of us really cared about the small space.
  • We moved the family back to California a year ago after our Manhattan apartment was overrun with mice (worse than you know) and have loved every minute of being out here.

During these 3 years we’ve climbed mountains (literally), launched businesses, sold thousands of Girl Scout cookies, camped at the most beautiful national parks, our children have all started and excelled at new sports and instruments and hobbies, and I think we are all about as healthy and whole (inside and out) as we’ve ever been.

So, our lease at our California home is up tomorrow and we’ve decided to totally go for it.  Most of the work I do, I do from the internet and I am not tied down to any one physical location.  We felt like the timing was perfect for us to take a real calculated risk and for the world to be our oyster.

On this Sunday, we are moving to Cape Town, South Africa!! 

Cape Town_mainpic

We are literally staying in a home we found on AirBNB for the next month and will decide what all the future may hold for us once we arrive.  We have a few friends there.  I traveled there over 10 years ago while a student @ Morehouse and loved it.

We hope to try new foods, see new things, swim in new waters, make new friends, help new causes, and allow our hearts and minds to be open to new possibilities.  We are planning on coming back to the states before September, but we are completely open to anything.


I have decided to step down from my day to day role as Chief Creative Officer of Upfront. I will continue to serve on the board and am excited about all that is next for Upfront.  Ray Lee & Vinnie Tuscano, my Co-Founders, are capable and talented leaders and I am rooting for them in every way.

I hope to have some very exciting news to share about the future of HopeMob in the weeks ahead.

While in South Africa, I aim to love on my wife and kids like they deserve and devote a large chunk of my daily time to leading 100 Life Goals University and preparing for the release of my first book, 100!

If you missed in on social media, I just announced that we signed a VERY awesome deal with Simon & Schuster/Howard books to publish “100!” and I can’t wait to get it in your hands!

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 12.19.56 PM

I have a few questions for you! Leave your answers in the comments and feel free to email me @ shaunking@gmail.com

1. Do you know anyone in Cape Town that you’d like for me to meet?

2. Do you have anywhere special in Cape Town you’d like for me to visit?

3. Do you have anywhere special in Cape Town where my family could serve kids and families in need?

4. Can you give me any real tips on using my AT&T iPhone while in South Africa? Get a SIM card?

5. Where can I rent an automatic van for a monthly rental other than the main spots I see online?

6. Have any tips on SPECIFIC places where we could live in a month or so?

7. Do you know of any schools that may open to hiring an outstanding, fully certified elementary school teacher?

8. Do you know any SPECIFIC places where I could get access to SUPER HIGH SPEED internet?

9. Do you know any videographers I could meet and work with?

10. Would you please pray for us?

THANK YOU ALL!  Your love and support across the years means the world to me.

  • Pat68

    I have nothing to offer but my greatest admiration for you and your wife and the way in which you lead your lives. Your children are so blessed!

  • Latrice C.

    This is TOTALLY AWESOME!!!! Take lots of pics and keep us updated on your family’s journey.

  • Matthew Fears

    Don’t know much of anything else but as far as the iPhone, you may just want to get an unlocked iPhone before going. My wife had her iPhone in Costa Rica with at&t. She couldn’t get a local sim and was still charged $300 for data with the international plan and using mostly wifi. My personal opinion get a Samsung note, I used it in Costa Rica with no problems. Uses the local sim with ease and without switching anything on my phone (besides getting an unlock pin from at&t). It worked as a translator, navigation, organizer, tv, and a bunch else. Bottom line get your phone unlocked or switch.

  • azuspeak

    Wow! This is amazing!! You guys truly are an inspiration to me. All the best to you on this adventure. I can’t wait to see the pictures and read the updates!

  • ATLOshun

    You all inspire me in so many ways. And on so many levels.

    Sending prayers up and out for you all. Love and light.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thank you so much!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks!! I may need your film making advice soon for some VERY basic work I will be doing.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    That’s still very helpful actually!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks Latrice!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks friend.

  • Dion Evans

    Wow, wow, wow…. This is amazing news. Tears come from our immense love for you guys and the fact that we will miss you guys like crazy, but also the fact that all of the years I have known you ~ you have been CRAZY COURAGEOUS! Even in times when you may have thought that you were not you have always been. You tend to seem ahead of the curve and that is exciting. You have lead your family courageously and I am so excited for all of the things that lie ahead for you.

  • Camilla

    I have no answers to the questions you asked except the prayer question. I will pray for you and your family. I admire your free spirit and thirst for change and adventure. All the best to you and the family!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks a ton for those words my good friend. We love you all and can’t wait to see you next. Send Michele and the kids my love.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks a lot Camilla.

  • Scott

    Hi Shaun – wow! What an incredible journey! You inspire us all to live larger! We hope to have news to share in the coming few months as well!
    So – while I’m not sure I have too much to share – I would suggest that you connect with Hillsong South Africa which in Cape Town. They should be a great resource as they have lots of visitors thru.
    I work with an instructional designer in South Africa and I’m not sure if he is in Cape Town or Johannesburg? I’ll find out – but either way he would be a great person to contact. He works with video, audio and other production resources all the time. I’ll get back to you soon.

    All the best to you, Rai and the entire family! I’ll be praying!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thank you so much Scott! I will absolutely connect with them when we get there! Rooting for you bro.

  • Melanie

    Hi Shaun, Again congratulations on this move and big adventure! So much to see there. Does your family go through Johannesburg? The Apartheid Museum is a must. Here’s some amateur suggestions that I have had the privilege to do and most are within an hour of Cape Town: Robben Island -it’s a bumpy boat ride out there so if anyone has sea sickness be warned. Table Mountain-you can see Robben Island from there, Company Gardens-downtown, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Chapmans Peak – great hike!; Penquins in Simon’s Town, Long Beach, Hike-Elephant’s Eye – at Silvermine Park -you can park at the reservoir, Cape Point Nature Reserve (lots of baboons, elands, ostrich), And then there are so many food markets!!! Ask a local as soon as you can about those. I am an outdoor fan so most of what I love is outside. I passed your info on to my friends and hopefully you can have a good place to land if you or your family need anything. If I can do anything else, just let me know. Blessings!!!!!!

  • Taylor Lyall

    Awesome. My wife and I had our first date in Cape Town. We were connected with people from Church on Main http://www.churchonmain.org.za/about-us/history. I don’t really have any relationship with them though. I also have heard great things about Joshua Generation. http://www.joshgen.org.za/ which is led by Andrew Selley, who’ve I have heard speak a number of times. Really great guy.

  • azuspeak

    No problem! Just let me know.

  • Billy Fray

    Hey Shaun! Exciting stuff my man…With your permission I’d like forward this to a few people here in London that are in our community…They’re from Durban, and Pretoria but obviously know Capetown as well. All 20 something’s and forces of nature:) they’re called Tyrone, Dominique, & Joelle. Also our friend Annie here has a passion for SA and you would get on well with her–she’s a legend–and more capable than most. Ok that covers #1. I’m not a details guy haha…but #4–call AT&T and get the factory unlock code…then pick up a SIM in SA and it will work easy peezy…Lastly I’ll do number 10–praying 4 you and your fam now…Keep stepping out in faith–Big LoVe! ~Billy

  • hakim

    Hey Shaun,
    I just posted on your facebook wall. I haven’t been to South Africa but one of my best friends in a renown actor, singer and entertain from SA, who now lives in the States. Not only is she connected to everyone in South Africa, but she has a heart of pure gold! I’ll make sure I reach out to her and send her the questions you have! Wishing you guys nothing but the best!


  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks Taylor!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    We will absolutely go to Johannesburg! Thanks for this!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Please connect us all Billy! Thanks my friend

  • RaShaunda

    AWESOME! You all LIVE life to the fullest and continue to make a positive impact along the way. Way to go!

  • Mary Irvine Sweet

    Stand with one foot in the Atlantic Ocean and one foot in the Pacific Ocean! One’s green and one’s blue!!!

  • Mary Irvine Sweet

    There are several OVC (orphaned and vulnerable children) villages throughout South Africa. They would love to have any help you could offer.

  • mbjones

    1. I’d love for you to meet my crew in All Nations. Our Africa “hub” is located in Noordhoek. We focus on raising up leaders from neglected communities for neglected communities. I was there until moving to East Africa a couple of weeks ago to start a new AN work here.

    2. The main touristy things are worth it (Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point). Other than that we loved the 2 saturday markets in Tokai (Forest Market & Earth Fair Food Market) and the Old Biscuit Mill on saturday mornings (in woodstock). It’s worth seeing the differences of SA: if you hook up with any AN people have them give you a respectful introduction to some of the communities we work in. You could go to Cape Town and completely miss the townships if you wanted. There is a lot more but that will get you started.

    3. See #2 if you connect with AN there is a lot of different potentials. See two of our ministries here: thebabysafe.org & http://childrenofpromiseafrica.com/

    4. First make sure it’s unlocked. Your original contract with AT&T needs to be up or you need to be able to sweet talk them. Once that’s done, all you have to do is go and get a SIM card. I’ve used all major cell providers in SA and would recommend Vodacom for coverage. If you get them, you won’t likely have an issue any where. Cell C is another good option: their customer service is world’s better than the other options but their coverage isn’t quite as good. Avoid MTN like the plague.

    5. Our office would know the answer to this. Unfortunately I don’t.

    6. The housing market is rough at the moment (hard to get) so you might have a bit of difficulty finding a short term lease. I’d start looking on gumtree (gumtree.co.za) now.

    7. This is super tricky in SA, due to visa restrictions. It would be almost impossible to get a job as an educator from my understanding. You could however volunteer (potentially at a place like the schools in the townships that DO need help). The one US teacher I know that’s being paid in a school is actually being paid by a UK consortium and isn’t allowed by the school to teach students rather just to train teachers. It’s a big hurdle.

    8. Your best bet ATM is to get a combo of ADSL and 3G. ADSL through mweb (if you have a permanent place) will get you good speeds. 3G works well too, but is really expensive. There are various places you can go (internet cafes) but their are kind of a mixed bag. I used our office for anything super important.

    9. Not local, sorry :(

    10. Definitely.

  • Ciska harrelson

    Shaun, Jason send me your blog to see if I could help in any way. I’m also excited to hear of people being adventurous enough to move to SA. Capetian is my favorite place to visitin the whole world.
    I few cautions. Don’t go into the townships without a guide or organization that work in there it can be very dangerous. I
    I have reached out to people in OM Africa that live in Pretoria to see if we can get you guys connected with the Omers from cape town. I have also reached out to a friend of mine that lives down there regarding your hoisting and transportation to see if we can help in Amy way possible there

    Suggestion for things to do w the kids. There is a place called boulder beach that your kiddos will love. We did. You can hang out at the beach among the penguins walking around you it was pretty awesome. Most tourist don’t know about it.

    I’ll let you know when I hear back from my mom and friends. I’ll stay connected and hopefully if you guys are still there in Sept we will see you there. We will be down there sept 20th thru Oct 2nd.

    Enjoy ypuraI g adventure
    Ciska Harrelson

  • Anthony Jewett

    Wow, brother. Just WOW. It is such a privilege to watch you and your family grow and live so very on purpose in the world. Congrats on this bold and faithful move. You’ll never ever forget or regret it.

    There are a few people who come to mind when I think of folks that you should connect with both in Cape Town and in South Africa in general. A good friend, Samantha Williams works for Teach For All there and used to work at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. My academic Advisor, Dr. Deborah Jewell-Sherman, consults regularly to principals and administrators throughout South Africa. You might also remember that Chris Eaglin, the valedictorian of my class at Morehouse (2003) lived in Cape Town for several years and has lots of connections. And finally, two very good friends who were Echoing Green Fellows, Chris Bradford and Fred Swaniker, run a phenomenal institution, the African Leadership Academy.

    If any of these folks could be helpful to you and your family, please let me know and I’ll make the connection.
    Blessings and Godspeed to you all on this amazing journey ahead, brother Shaun!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Hey Man!! Thanks for your kind words! If you don’t mind, could you introduce me to everybody you mentioned (except for Chris – he and I are connecting now.). THANKS MAN!

  • Shantenekia

    Just wanted to say Thankyou! You blessed me from the start of the year – and your continuing to sow seeds in letting your life speak as this year moves forward! God’s abundant blessings to you and your family on this new faith journey, what a wonderful example of “Pressing Life’s Limits!” ;)

  • kymtom

    Hi Shaun, I wish you luck with your adventure in SA. I had a blast there and can’t wait to return. Might I point you to two places. One is Gumtree (it’s the Craigslist of SA), you can find a lot of resources here such as jobs in Cape Town, vehicles for rent, rooms for rent, etc: http://www.gumtree.co.za/s-cape-town/v1l3100006p1

    Also, SA requires registration for SIM cards. You will need to buy or rent another when you get there. You can do this in the airport, which is quite high. Or wait until you get in CT, and then find a local provider.

    You can find rental cars in the airport, and on Gumtree: http://www.gumtree.co.za/s-automotive-vehicles/cape-town/rental+car/v1c5l3100006q0p1 . I don’t know about renting a van specifically. But just use any person-to-person resource with caution, there are scammers out there.

    There are tons of charities in CT, especially in Cape Flats that you and your family could volunteer at. Here is the official gov website for charities in West Cape: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/web-directory-charitable-organisations-western-cape

    I would use Gumtree to post an ad looking for videographers.

    Before leaving CT, I would go shark diving. Granted I’m a bit more adventurous than most, but I think you’ll have a great time.

    Lastly, I spent some time in Joburg, which I recommend you visit. I found some time to write a bit about some interesting lingo (which applies to Cape Town as well): http://kymtom.com/2014/03/johannesburg-lingo-and-slang/ . Sorry not trying to promote my own blog, but just thought you’d find this page useful.

    You’re family is in my prayers, have a safe journey and tons of fun.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Soooooo helpful!!! Thank you!!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Amazing advice!! On our way now!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Very welcome!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks Ciska!

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    I sure will

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Could you connect us? shaunking@gmail.com

  • kymtom

    Hi Shaun, I have come back to your blog hoping to get an update on your move, but to no avail. They have internet in SA so what’s your excuse for leaving us out of the loop. I hope everything is perfectly exciting for you and your family. In the meantime, I created a new blog of my own: http://justmeandyoukid.com . I’m hoping to document so of my own fabulous adventures. Please update us with lots of pictures, so we can all feel apart of your family’s big move.

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