Time to come clean.
As some of you know, I decided to forgo my flight out of South Africa which was booked for the 8th of this month.
It’s about time I update everyone as I am getting many confused messages like: “Hey, I thought you were leaving that place? Where in the world are you? Aren’t you supposed to be in Italy?”
I was meant to leave for Rome, Italy on June 8th. Yes… I was supposed to be in the sunshine, sipping prosecco and devouring gelato right now. And as great as all that sounds (especially the sunshine because it’s now winter here in Africa), my heart remains in Cape Town.
I just can’t go.
For the first time EVER I skipped a flight. Four hundred dollars down the drain and time lost. Do I regret it? No. Not at all.
I can’t properly articulate how and why this happened but I am going to try…
The day of my flight, I packed everything up and was (technically) ready to go…but deep down I knew I wasn’t. As I packed up Big Red that morning I felt panicked, nervous and uneasy. When we drove to the airport my entire body started overheating and my breathing all but stopped. My palms got sweaty and my heart rate spiked. It felt like my body was shutting down…or I was having a panic attack.
But why? I never get nervous to fly, so it couldn’t be that. I’ve been traveling solo for nearly a year and have never felt so wrong about boarding a plane. I’m the girl who gets to the airport early, eager for the time up in the air. And I was headed to Italy, for God’s sake! Italy is one of my favorite places on Earth, so it couldn’t have been angst about going there. I couldn’t pinpoint one exact reason as to why I was so panicked- but the truth was there were too many reasons to count.
All I know is that when it came time to leave, the little voice inside (you know, the one who’s always right) was screaming at me “Don’t get on that flight.”
Before this year of travel, I would have ignored the little voice and forced myself along. It’s silly to blow off a paid flight to Italy, am I right?! And before now, I would never have done so. I would have left my heart in Cape Town, carried on and followed the plan. I would have done what I was supposed to do. (I also would have felt internal turmoil and anesthetized it with a bottle of
But so much has changed now. I’ve changed. When my gut tells me something, I listen and act. If my inner voice says “Don’t get on that flight. Stay here,” I am listening. Four hundred dollars be damned.
So I stayed.
There are many reasons why I feel confident with my decision to skip my flight. Despite the loss of money and a new adventure in Europe, I had nothing to lose by extending my time here, I knew that much immediately. It feels, rather, that I would be losing out by leaving Cape Town this soon. I feel like leaving now would rob me of what could continue to be one of the best experiences of my life.
The heart of the matter is this: I feel the need to stand still for a while, but I am also not ready to go home. Cape Town feels like home now and I am not done exploring this beautiful country.
I can’t think of a better place to stand still than somewhere that looks like this….can you?
I may be veering from my original plan by stepping off the road, but I’ve learned to accept, and even celebrate at times, failed plans. I never planned to come to Africa in the first place, let alone completely fall in love with the place, make friends and meet someone special (Yes, I met a South African man and he’s amazing!)…but that all happened. After I listened to my inner voice and booked the flight out here, only
good GREAT things have transpired.
So far in South Africa, I have gone on almost every Western Cape tour, allowing me to see sights that look unreal- and quite frankly, very unfair. South Africa can make my home in California look mediocre. In the past month and a half here, I have surfed, hiked, sang and danced, tasted amazing wines, attended a TED Talk,
met exotic animals and made lifelong friends. I fell in love and found a truly happy place for myself.
What more could I ask for at this point in my travels?
Amidst all the activity, I am discovering a new way of living- one that includes wandering new territory and a bit of normalcy. I never considered how nice the balance between the two lifestyles could be. Until now, I never knew it was an option to live in the space between. Before the last month, I hadn’t planned on taking a break from the road anywhere but home in the states. But now, Cape Town has become my solace from a year on the go- and a new place to call home.
I plan to stay here a while longer, go travel to a few more countries then come back here. But, then again, who knows? Life is ever-changing, and I will “go with the flow.”
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last 10 months, it’s that plans are made to be broken and that the best experiences occur after an impulsive, going-with-my-gut-feeling decision. Every time I’ve made a decision based on my inner compass, I’ve been steered onto a path full of adventures and life changing moments. My experience with South Africa has been nothing less than that- life changing.
Will Cape Town be my permanent home? Probably not. (You all know I can’t stay away from the states forever. In N Out is calling me back, after all!) But for now, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My head, my he
art AND my internal compass are all in agreement on this one. And I can’t argue with that.
And so…I hope you all are prepared for much more of my gushing about this beautiful country and know that I will continue on the road soon enough.