It really has been quite a manic time what with last minute admin and tying up of loose ends that consist of everything from Cellphone Sim Swaps to Farewell Dinners.

Apart from the practical elements involved with going away, I have had to prepare myself emotionally as well.

It is really quite something, to pack up one’s life and head over to a new country with a vague plan and a heap of hope and good intentions.

It is true that change is one of the most stressful elements of life. Anything that requires adjustment saps emotional and mental energy causing fatigue and stress. I have been trying to guard against my body’s experience of this stress by taking things as slow as possible and by getting lots of rest and drinking lots of water. But emotionally, it’s a lot trickier.

I do a lot of self-talk that includes words of encouragement and praise. For example: If I start to feel anxious, I remind myself that “Everything is going to work out fine”/ “You’ll be okay”/ ”You’re going to land on your feet” etc. etc.

If that doesn’t cut it, I also use logic and reason to help myself out of my negative thinking. I weigh up the possible negative and positive outcomes and usually once I’ve determined that the worst case scenario is totally acceptable then I begin to chill out and remember that the whole point of this adventure is to go out on a whim and put myself out there into the unknown, where anything is possible.

It is exactly this “unknown” that freaks me out the most and yet it is exactly what I asked for and what I know will make whatever comes my way so worth it.

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In the words of Walter Mitty:

What’s made my departure that much sweeter and in a way that much harder, is the unbelievable response I’ve been getting from absolutely every person who I’ve met with or spoken to over the last few days. Whether it’s close friends or family, or even the lady who works at the Vodacom shop in Greenpoint (Shout out!), it just feels like everyone is egging me on with their positivity and well wishes. I feel like I’m leaving for a long marathon and there are crowds of faces – familiar and unfamiliar – standing beside me shouting their encouragement, screaming my name and sending me off with a slow clap and a wink!

So on this Gratitude Wednesday I would like to give thanks for this wonderful opportunity to leave my most beloved country feeling touched, moved and held by a beautiful community of loved ones and other human beings who continually show me the meaning of the word home.