Leaving home is never easy, no matter what age you are at, but it needs to be done in order to grow and challenge yourself.
I have been feeling quite emotional for the last few days. It seems like anything from small moments of quality time laughing and hanging out with family and friends to feeling overwhelmed and stressed by final travel prep has my tear ducts in over drive with constant water works. I would love to blame it on pre-menstrual hormones but the truth is, the reality of leaving home to solo travel for almost 9 months has me in my feelings. I have only traveled abroad alone once when I went to an ashram in India in 2017. So, I won’t lie, I’m slightly nervous and anxious. Don’t be me wrong, I’m very excited and grateful to be able to embark on this great sabbatical and have the opportunity to stay in different countries but it has really sunk in that I’m leaving the nest. I guess the boarding school, living at res in 2nd year of university, traveling and briefly living on my own hadn’t quite prepared me for this – the moment where I leave home and go into the big world. I had never truly left the nest until now.
Since I first wrote about my upcoming trip to now with a day left before I leave, a lot has happened which has tested me mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically. I feel I have grown and learned a lot over the past 2 months.
Some the lessons I have learnt:
Learning to let go:
Packing has always been a challenge for me, I always tend to over-pack. Having to pack my life into a “small” (well in my eyes) suitcase, only packing what I REALLY NEED and not want or think I may need. This small challenge of packing has actually taught me to let go of many things from the ideas of over compensating, be it something as menial as packing to relationships even at work, to learning to let go of the fear of the unknown, be it what my experience traveling will be like to leaving the nest. Learning to let go and trust processes of life and your journey is challenging and often takes learning and unlearning, but the older I get, the more I realise and have made peace that not everything is in my control and everyone is constantly trying to figure life out. Sometimes you got to let go to gain.
The universe responds:
This is probably one of the best things my mother has drilled into me and words that never rang more true. The universe truly responds, it’s the secret. What you give out to the universe: our energy, effort (hard work), goal setting and focus etc all contribute to what the universe gives back to you and outcomes (this is obviously an over-simplified explanation). I have always wanted to do a gap year where I get to travel and work. I first contemplated this seriously in 2015/2016 when I was in my last years of university but the timing was not right (for many reasons). However, the universe never forgot and heard me, and responded 3 years later. Everything I have done and worked for since then to now has led me to this sabbatical and made this opportunity possible. So, continue to work hard and focus on the things that you want because, the universe is listening and in time will respond.
Life is about who you know and not what you know:
During the preparation for this trip, this phrase has never rang more true, life is about who you know and often not what you know. I learnt this the hard way when I was selling my car. So, I decided to sell my car with We Buy Cars. After my dad insisted that I get the car fixed up and ask one of his employee’s to assist me with the car since he has a lot of experience with all things cars. My dad’s employee managed to get me another offer through his contacts that was R15000 more than the offer that I got We Buy Cars. In the end because I had already signed the sale contract with We Buy Cars and no longer had ownership rights to the car, I unfortunately couldn’t take the other offer, therefore losing out on a potential R15000 more, which would have really helped me on the trip. I felt so dumb for not using my dad’s employee from the beginning because I know he would have helped me get the best deal from the beginning. Had I been more patient, did more research and got help from people around me that I know, especially those with car knowledge, I would saved myself lots of time and gotten a better price. Definitely also learned to negotiate better and be more strategic, which are great life skills to have.
Getting visa’s are a lot of work, admin and sometimes a challenge. Had it not been for the help of my parents and their contacts to assist, I don’t know how I would have managed to get some of the visas I needed. I highly suggest working with agents for assistance when applying for visas because they help with preparing all the documents required for specific types of visas. There are companies like Visa Direct that specialise in this.
Overall I’m very excited to finally be embarking on my sabbatical. I look forward to the adventure, my growth and all that I am still going to learn and see throughout the trip. My first stop is Vietnam. I will be doing a Contiki for 9 days while I’m there. Will keep y’all posted on all my travels with weekly update on Melenial and on all my socials.