Today I skipped my return flight to Cape Town and boarded a different one instead. If you follow me on social media you probably know where I’m headed…and it’s not to return to my ex-boyfriend in South Africa.
As you all know, I first traveled to Cape Town as a tourist a year ago, fell in love and made myself a local. I threw my plans out the window last year…for love. What can I say? I’m just a hopeless romantic.
I had a clear direction when I met him that evening at Alexander Bar in Cape Town. I was 100% in my element spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I was my best self; because that’s what a year of solo travel does for a person. You truly come into your own through having worldly experiences and ample time to reflect. Traveling solo around the world uncovered my truth, helped me find my inner voice and the tools to listen.
I listened to that inner voice and chose to pursue a relationship with a person my gut told me was “the one.” I heard wedding bells and baby announcements over all else and thought “My destiny has arrived!” It was kismet. I skipped my flight out of South Africa and blew off my itinerary, but none of that mattered because… “I found my life partner!”
But reality quickly set in and we both experienced firsthand how difficult an international love affair really is. “It’s a bit inconvenient to have to leave every 90 days… but other than that everything is perfect, Mom!” I’d explain away the fact we were from different continents and would have an uphill battle ahead of us, potentially for the rest of our lives.
I convinced myself borders weren’t real as long as our hearts were truly tied and we were committed to each other. I convinced myself it was okay I never made it to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar as I originally planned. I explained to people that I wanted to be there- even though what I really wanted was to fast forward a year or two to a time when he and I could go home to the states together, as a married couple. I was “in it for the long haul” I told my friends and family that kept asking when or IF I was ever coming home.
I’d attempt to appease my Mother and close friends, “If he’s the future father of my children, this is the least I can do. Everything will be fine.”
But it wasn’t…
I missed home, my life, my career…everything and everyone. I went far beyond a state of homesickness and fell into a deep sadness that lasted months. He didn’t know what to do with me, and neither did I. I was lost at sea, so to speak.
Relief flooded me when I was able to come home for a visit last month and be with my friends and family. My Mom bought me the plane ticket and we planned for me to stay through June. But five days in, my “visit” fell apart as I received the worst phone call of my life.
“Heather… I am so sorry…I went home with someone last night and cheated on you…”
So much for wedding bells and baby announcements. In a matter of minutes my entire life plan changed.
A harsh blow to the heart and soul simultaneously left me shaken up, dizzy and numb. To say “it was painful” is an understatement almost not worth making, because it doesn’t even explain a fraction of the impact.
Nothing can change what happened or will continue to happen because of my choice to stay in South Africa and get myself neck deep into a serious relationship, but I don’t regret a thing. I know everything happens for a reason, and I am grateful for where I’ve arrived now. I can feel that I am back on the right path now. I see silver linings everywhere, and I know this is all for the best.
I’m back to myself, back to traveling and my career. More importantly, I’m back surrounded by people that know and love me unconditionally who are reminding me how fortunate I am. While I am heartbroken, I am happy, as strange as that sounds. I’m at peace with what happened and where my life has taken me. I’ve reached a state of gratitude and the universe has started really delivering the good stuff.
For example this flight I’m on? It’s headed to Norway where I’ll start a two week, all expense paid, press trip touring Scandinavia and more.
You know what they say when you’ve reached your lowest low… “There’s nowhere to go but up.”
So, I’m taking that literally and I’m headed North.
Stay tuned, you all know I come out of Europe with some crazy stories…every time. Surely this trip will be no different.