Growing up happens all of a sudden. I mean, gradually we’re all getting older and taking on new challenges like paying taxes and voluntarily taking ourselves to the dentist. Those things are easy. But one day something happens, and suddenly you realise this isn’t a game anymore. Shit gets real.
For me, that something was retrenchment.
I have been retrenched.
v. re·trenched, re·trench·ing, re·trench·es.
1. To cut down; reduce. 2. To remove, delete, or omit.
Surprisingly, I am not particularly upset about it. This final decision has come after a long (nearly) six months of uncertainty and instability and I made a personal decision several weeks ago that this is all one big, fat sign from the universe that I am too young to grow up.
I am twenty five. Unmarried. Unattached. Childless. Bondless. Educated. Free. I never took a gap year after school, I have never done anything crazy. I have a deep fear of sitting around a dinner table in my fifties and having no stories to tell, no mad tales of adventure and pure reckless irresponsibility. Cape Town is my soul city, my heart beats wilder when I climb Lions Head or take a stroll along the prom. This will be my home always and I don’t want to resent that one day. I never want to feel trapped by this city and this country, which I love so passionately.
So, I’m off! I’m off to explore the world, to learn about other cultures and other people. I want to open my eyes and my mind and I want to grow myself as a human being. I am hoping for a lot from this trip. I am hoping to get a whole new perspective on my life and on the world, and I’m hoping to come home a different (and better) person. Hopefully with some major life decisions made, such as what the hell I’m going to do with the rest of my earning years.
My tickets are booked, I’ve had the vaccinations and researched my visa requirements. I have a pair of good hiking boots and my dad’s old backpack. I’ve downloaded ten books to my Kindle app and forced myself not to start reading any of them. I’ve given notice to my medical aid and to my gym. I’ve wrapped up my life.
My Great Big Adventure begins on 12 July 2014 in Singapore. From there I travel by train and bus through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal and India.
Oh, India. Where this all started and therefore how fitting that it should end there too. My flight home from Mumbai is booked for December, but it’s not set in stone. I may sidetrack to New Zealand. I may push my flight out and try to squeeze a bit more out of my budget. I don’t know yet. I have no idea what’s going to happen along the way or when I get back and that is both terrifying and utterly exhilarating.
Watch this space.