“Not all those who wander are lost.” This J.R.R. Tolkein quote has appeared around me quite a bit lately. And it’s one I’ve thought of regularly for the last nine months or so. I spent most of that time feeling lost, at least a little out of place everywhere I went. When I left the Philippines at the start of March I was happy, relaxed, in a healthy state of mind. By the time I attended World Domination Summit in July, I was uncertain about my choices, fully aware of how far I’d strayed from the person I wanted to be. When I realized in Utila that I wasn’t ready to become a dive instructor and turned my attention back to travel, I immediately felt lighter. Traveling, I would no longer feel so lost. The journey would be my purpose. Or so I thought.
Mozambique, my first stop in Africa, was hard. By the time I left I was ready to give up on travel completely, convinced I was no longer cut out for this life. But the welcoming people of peaceful Malawi restored my spirit. I reflected on what had been so challenging in Mozambique and evaluated what I could have done differently. Some things were out of my control but I also made a few rookie mistakes that I hadn’t made in ages. In Malawi, I fared much better. By the time I boarded a plane to South Africa, I was back to where I’d been in Utila: still lost but trusting that a path would reveal itself. Now, after seven weeks in South Africa, I feel once more that although I’m wandering, I’m not the least bit lost.
I have so many stories to share from my time here that I don’t know where to begin. People who wear blankets and make beer from corn? Getting bumped by sharks while my divemaster was bitten by one (don’t worry, she’s fine)? Watching a lion chase warthogs? The beauty of the Drakensberg or the Wild Coast? Taking a bath on the edge of a cliff? The magic of Mdumbi or the bliss of Chintsa? I’m having an amazing time here and I still have almost six weeks to spend in the rainbow nation. I’ll do my best to write about all of that and more but it will take a while. Writing posts for this blog, fact-checking myself, selecting and editing photos all take time, quite a lot of it. And as I lose money on this site, it’s truly a labor of love. It’s the writing I most enjoy so I’ve been doing a ton of it, just not here. Some of it may, someday, appear in another forum. Most of it is just for me, to help me remember, to work through what’s happening in my life, to help me find my way again. More time consuming than that is what I’m doing all day: living life to the absolute fullest.
Exploring new places, meeting new people (and oh, how many wonderful people I’ve met here!), learning about other cultures (there are many in a country that has 11 national languages), trusting my instincts, and embracing opportunities that come my way has brought me back to the state of health I last inhabited in the Philippines. These days I’m bubbling over with gratitude, love, and joy. So I hope you’ll forgive me for not updating this site more often and that I haven’t lost too many of you during my months of radio silence. More importantly, I hope that you, dear reader, are finding happiness and health in your own life.
Happy New Year everyone!