Shifting Shores – Part 1

WARNING: VERY OPINIONATED AND SELF-EXPRESSIVE POST BELOW – but if you didn’t want to read about the stuff happening from my point of view, then you wouldn’t be reading my blog in the first place… so buckle up!

 

A sad truth hit me a few months ago; I realised how utterly miserable I was living in my country of birth, South Africa. It has never been a secret how much tension and underlying resentment still lingers in the Rainbow Nation; with racial segregation and gender-based violence remain prevalent, along with the increasingly high crime rates and taxing corruption stripping the country, the thought then crossed my mind, “why I would want to continue to live in a country that made me feel so unsafe, or stay in an environment that I would never actually consider raising my future kids in…”. I basically sat and questioned the current state of my quality of life in South Africa, not so much an existential crisis, but more so a critical and careful contemplation of how the path in front of me is going to be laid from here on out. Don’t get me wrong, South Africa has some of the most inspiring locals and breathtaking landscapes you could imagine, but is a handful of smiles and a few pretty scenic drives really enough to keep me on Africa’s southern soils?
What about being able to walk around at night without being scared, what about going for a run without the paranoia of being followed, what about the state of the diminishing infrastructure, what about the constant depressing news articles of yet another rape, another murder, another kidnapping… how is that a happy life for anyone?

 

This state of unsettlement has lingered in my mind for quite some time now, and often I have found myself revisiting my considerations and thoughts of immigrating. With a planned trip to New Zealand coming up soon, it was a good enough time as ever to explore those thoughts a little deeper. I made the decision to consciously consider moving to foreign soils, without repressing and avoiding these thoughts because of fear (of the unknown) as I had been. I know sit a month into my trip, currently perched on the beach, alone, and writing this post as content with life as I have ever been – and I have been showed me exactly what I was looking for, and what I’ve been missing all these years. In just a couple of weeks I have gathered a newfound sense of freedom and liberation. I’ve been flooded with the sense of communal unity through each and every interaction I have had with local Kiwis, and I was overwhelmed with the respect and pride that the people hold so dearly for their country. It almost felt as if I had been kept from this entirely adverse way of life, that felt so normal and so incongruous altogether. If I am speaking with raw honesty, I almost felt as if I clicked in more here than I ever have, anywhere else. I fitted.
And to me, that is more important that chasing any amount of money and shatters any possible excuse one could make for staying trapped in a receding region of the world.

 

This was my deciding factor and what eradicated all that muzzled fear. My exposure to a way of life I had only ever dreamed of. Admittedly, despite the guilt I harboured from these feelings of my homeland that I had just come to terms with, I realised that at the end of the day you need to decide what is best for you, and for your future. Nobody else can decide that for you. I never signed a contract saying I’d stay in one place, or saying I’d agree to continue to live in fear from behind the high walls and electric fences of our houses. I believe that the earth home to all who rest on it, and whichever particular floating piece of rock you decide to build your forever nest on, just make sure you make it one hell of a journey for yourself with a smile on your face.

 

So the point of this post? This marks the first chapter of a new story that I have officially started writing, and the start of my move to New Zealand soils.
Celebrating each experience along with all that South Africa has given me in my 25yrs of existence. To praise each of the lessons I have gained with gratitude, and to remember the life that I’ve lived and moving forward to the life I want to live with a heart overflowing with ‘ubuntu‘.

“You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes… you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!”

– Dr. Seuss