Tramping a Perpetual Journey…

My half packed suitcase is shaking it’s figurative head at me. I should have finished packing ages ago, but I’ve been putting it off. My curls are also unhappy that I’ve indulged the ends and let them avoid the hairdresser for over a year (Medusa is not a good look for me)…

It’s nearly that time of the year again. Time to leave home and say goodbye or ’til next time. It really is a challenge to say that to my house, my pets, my family and my friends. They say things like this get easier with time, but I’m on the fence about whether it truly does.

I study overseas, in Dubai, which is very very far away from the little section on the most Southern part of Africa, which has been home to me for a very long time. My family and I are going on a trip that we have been planning for the past ten years, so you could say the anticipation has been building.

This has been my fourth visit back home since I started University, and strangely I have felt the most disconnected on this occasion, coincidentally also one of my longest visits (3 months, although it seems much longer). The first time I came back it was only for a week and I was busy every hour of the day, always with friends or family, making the best of the time that was trickling away, faster and faster with every passing second.

Every time I hop on a plane, I feel like my life which I’m leaving behind is on pause. It should be waiting for me to come back to continue the story. If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, life goes on. A fact that somehow always seems to surprise me when I step off the plane into a valley of changes. Reality does not accept bookmarks. Renovations in my house and my town makes it all seem like a sudden alternate reality, so different from the world I left on my imaginary-pause.

The buildings and my room is not all that has changed, however. People change too. My friends meet new people and have different inside jokes. They move on, while I take a different path. I find it difficult to go back to where we were. It takes a while to adjust again.

Dubai is different. We are all from somewhere else, and we know how it feels to live in two completely separate worlds. Everyone adjusts to the Dubai life as if we never left. It is our sweet fondue pot of culture and somehow each person has their place where they belong perfectly. Most of us have left our home countries and that is our common ground.

On my current visit in South Africa, I have been entirely reluctant to meet new people. When introducing myself, I usually explain where I study and why. That makes it obvious to them from the start that I cannot be a permanent fixture in their lives. I am even more hesitant to make new friends, because becoming attached and then leaving them behind is made more challenging as the numbers increase. The people who I already know are either surprised or excited to see me. The most frequent questions I receive are “Oh, when did you get back? ” and “How long are you staying?” and “When are you going back to Dubai?”. I know they all mean well and they’re interested to hear about life overseas. Nevertheless, it makes me a little bit sad and I’m not sure why.

I suppose I don’t want the constant reminder of the fact that I cannot stay. My best friend and the rest of our quartet of friends, our ‘groupie’, are the only people I have really felt the need to see. They’re also the only people who I have frequent contact with whenever I leave the country. Most of the others just send a message here and there, or usually just ask to meet up when I’m in S.A.

For some odd reason, the changes are enormous compared to last year. Maybe it shows how much I’ve changed. I’m not very interested in drinking and partying as much as I was last year. I have less that I want to escape from. My other friends mainly want to continue with what they’ve always done at get-togethers. I simply just do not enjoy it anymore. I want to go somewhere and have fun and come back not smelling like a pub. I want to do something more.

One of the highlights of this trip was playing with baby leopards, lions and an adult cheetah. The perks of growing up in Africa. This is not the first time that I have done something involving wild animals, however it was different because it was with friends instead of my family. We went to the reserve for my best friend’s birthday. These types of things are probably more expensive, but I’d rather save money to go on more adventures like this (albeit occasionally) instead of constantly spending money on the same old thing every other day.

The release of the long awaited game, Pokemon Go, has resulted in a few accidental escapades too. Travelling over rivers and into the unknown… Okay, it was in an Estate and we ended up in a stranger’s backyard, but it still counts. It was wonderful to feel like kids again while chasing Pikachu and Eevee in shopping malls and casinos and making my mom pull over on the side of the road to hunt down a Jigglypuff. My inner geek has been squealing with suppressed emotions over the past few weeks.

It made me realise how much I miss being spontaneous and doing what makes me happy. I have been trying to make everyone else happy for quite some time, and forgotten that I deserve happiness too, even if people pleasing makes me happy to an extent. I can still do what my soul craves and care for my soul-family simultaneously. I did learn about time-management during IFP after all.

Clearly, change has been overwhelming in certain aspects, and this has caused me to crave it in some areas while shunning it in others. It’s a bit of a topsy-turvy mess and I need to let the Universe get everything back on track. Trying to walk with one foot, while keeping the other firmly planted, is not going to get me very far at all (plus it will look very silly too).

Serendipity and Wanderlust are two words I have come to adore after a spot of introspection. If I cannot settle down right now, I might as well make the best of it. I have decided to be more open to meeting new people on my wanderings (everyone has something they can teach me) and finding places to get lost in (finding my way back is my favourite part). I have outgrown this particular place and my soul is searching for something more. Anything with wings does not like to be caged and will always have the desire to soar.

By Monday, my suitcase will be grinning with the gleam of its closed zipper and my hair will have a fresh cut and my curls will bounce once more. I can’t go on my new adventure if I’m not fully prepared after-all.

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