With no particular plan in mind, we would drive up to Kosi Bay and would stay there for either 1 or 2 nights. It was either Kosi Bay or another long day in the car looking for game in the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve. But after the 12 hour drive we’d done the day before – with many pit stops due to my kids catching a severe bout of gastro – the thought of a dip in the ocean was quite enticing, a slower day if you must – one that would allow my frazzled ‘driver’s brain’ a day off! We arrived there around midday and readied ourselves to set up the tent. Usually my husband accompanies me on these type of trips, but this time an old friend of mine came with us. And to be quite honest, the thought of putting up a tent myself, making the fire, tending to the kids and cooking dinner was an exhausting thought in itself. But I’d have to ‘man’ up! I’d figure the tent out and I’d make the fire, Bear Grills style! Now…where did I put the matches?!
Just then, like an angel descending from the clouds, ‘Nico’ arrived on the scene.
‘Would you like me to put your tent up? I can also make the fire, guard your campsite, be your guide and wash the dishes,’ he said. ‘My gosh,’ I thought, ‘this could quite possibly become my next favourite campsite!’ Without hesitation, I employed Nico full time. It was worth every cent!
It also allowed for some down time. The chance to head through the tunnel of mangroves and out towards the Kosi Bay Pier to watch the grand old sun dip behind the horizon, 1 day closer to the new year!
This trip seems to have summed up my 2016. Going nowhere slowly or going in a vague direction, but not entirely sure of ‘where’ or ‘when.’
As with every move, it takes time to adjust. And moving to Ixopo – back to the place I grew up in – still seems like I’m in a room with a complete stranger, with eyes glaring at me – and thoughts like ‘Who are you? Make yourself known, from where do you come?’
Along with pinning it down to a ‘big move and a huge change,’ I also suspect that the stars or the Gods, or whatever you believe, has something to do with 2016 being a particularly bad year! Especially after having read the 1st of January Facebook posts and talking to friends. ‘Good riddance,’ some said. And others mentioned ‘monumental ups and downs, changes, break ups and personal losses.’ Without a doubt, it seems there is a collective feeling that 2016 was an utterly crap year and that we’re all fixing our eyes upon the little light flickering at the end of a dark tunnel, urging us to march on into 2017, into the light.
For me, the light would simply be to find ‘direction,’ my direction that is! Having lived here before, back in my chef days, it seems time stopped there. To others and sometimes to myself, my ‘direction’ should be fairly obvious – to get back right where I was over 10 years ago – and to dive head first into hospitality. It’s what I know after all and what ‘others’ know of me. It’s a fantastic opportunity right at my feet, if I want it.
“Do not think that years leave us and find us the same!” -Owen Meredith
But then late at night, thoughts swimming in my head, I think of the last 10 years. Of where we’ve been, of our wonderful enlightening and sometimes frightening experiences that came with living in places like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. It was during those 10 years that I discovered what truly makes me happy and what I’d like to do with my life – photography and writing – although admittedly, I’m a complete novice at both!
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Spence Johnson
To ignore all that; of who I am now and the direction I’ve taken since I left the hospitality industry 10 years ago – burns me up inside. My challenge here is to find a way to continue in the direction I want to, a direction that is considerably blurred at this stage.
Having moved a few times before, I keep on telling myself to be ‘patient.’ As I well know, it takes at least a year – maybe 2 here – to settle down and to find out how and where you fit and importantly how to continue going on in the direction you want to, here in Ixopo. It’s a place that is completely different to where we’ve come from. It’s a place that is challenging me to re-direct, or reshape my goals as I get to know it better. We all arrive somewhere ‘new’ with big ideas and we imagine what life will be like. It’s not surprising that the path is never straight and it challenges us to change some of our ideas, adapt or simply to ‘hold on tight’ while we bump along the way!
So while I know my posts have been far and few of late, it’s not because I’m losing interest. I’m just trying to figure things out, patiently! Which I can assure you is an incredible challenge in itself as I’m quite far from being a patient person!
Along with many others, I also get that ‘good’ feeling about 2017. It’s probably not going to be ‘a wham bham, mind-blowingly excellent and exciting year with huge achievements,’ but simply a year of seeing the light and discovering the way forward, of finding my direction.
“If you want to build a flotilla of ships, you don’t sit around talking about carpentry. No, you need to set people’s souls ablaze with visions of exploring distant shores.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Best wishes to you all for 2017! We are off on some exciting trips this year – one being to Madagascar in July where we plan to travel 2000 km in 3 weeks and with only a vague direction/route in mind. So you see, 2017 is already looking up even if it’s still a bit vague!