Soul searching in Namibia

I’m going off topic today. No Africa talk, just a post of self-reflection and honesty whilst I’m on the road.

But first I want to tell you about two quotes I came up with. And when I say ‘came up’, what I really mean is that I opened my mouth and they just came out….

Travelling is medicine for the soul but it has to break you first.

Travelling is like a hall of mirrors. Whichever decision you make or route you take, you can’t escape yourself.

Seeing yourself is what makes travelling hard. It’s not the long days or the time you sick but it’s opening the emotional baggage you’re carrying with you, examining it and wondering what to do with it.

It’s the reason I said that I didn’t like who I was. In a group situation like this, other people’s reactions to your personality are your mirrors. Whether you want it to or not, travelling will always make you look at yourself harder than you might want to. ย It will make you question who you are, what you can achieve in life and push you to your physical and mental limits.
Driving for long hours between destinations and only sleeping for a couple of hours a night has given me a lot of time to think about myself and the things that I have been through in life to get me to this point.
If done correctly (whatever that means for each person), travelling can work as therapy. It’s not easy and you may not like what you discover but the end result will always be wort it. If I look at just the past 18 months, I have changed an enormous amount.
When I lost my baby before Asia and everyone told me to stay at home, I packed my bag and discovered a strength in myself I never knew I had. To everyone else I was the same but I had grown as a person and discovered the path I was meant to be on in life…to travel and to write. I couldn’t describe it to anyone because real change is something that you feel rather than see but I knew I was different.
So here I am again travelling and I’ve had a lot of time to think about life and myself. As devastating as it was to lose my child, instead of being here in Africa, I would be at home with a one year old today. I have no idea which path is ‘better’ but this is the one that I’m on so it’s time to use this time to learn, again, who I am, go back to basics and build myself back up to the person I’m supposed to be now.


If I wasn’t here in Africa then I wouldn’t have met the people on the bus and for whatever reason, I was supposed to meet this parrticular group. Maybe it’s to reinforce how tolerable you are when they say something offensive or to make you realise just how strong you are as an individual; maybe it’s even to make friends for life and continue to grow/change. Our first 4 people left the group yesterday including a really special person and as we drove during the day and I stared out the window, I cried under my sunglasses. You never know why people come into your life and leave but they will always affect you. I was destined to meet the special person and connect with them just like it was destiny that they leave so suddenly pulling the rug from beneath my feet. I may never know the reason but, like everyone you meet on trips like this, they will leave a metaphorical footprint with you.
I’ve had a few really low days when I started to look hard at myself and my personality. I’m often loud in groups because I fear I’ll be forgotten and don’t want the ‘what’s wrong’ questions when I’m quiet, I sound over-confident because I’m really not but life is about being scared but living anyway and I flirt (sometimes too much or even if I don’t realise) because I don’t want men to realise they can break my heart. They are just a few amongst many other things I’ve discovered about myself over the last two weeks and I’m sure it’s just the beginning so I have a long journey ahead.

Remember:
Travelling is medicine for the soul but it has to break you first.

Leave a Reply

10 comments

  1. Mum

    Wow! Yes I know travelling does change you but please donโ€™t change that much!! Love you xxxx

  2. Travelling really does make you think about things that at other times in our busy lives we can just push to the back of our minds and forget. I’m glad your discovering more than just Africa on your trip Toni and still having an amazing time!

  3. I found myself while living and traveling throughout the Middle East and North Africa for 16 months. I know exactly how you feel. It is always a good thing – growing faster even =) or so I felt

    hugs!

  4. I think this happens on all African overland trips. It’s certainly a place that never leaves you.

    What company are you using btw? I did Cape Town- Vic Falls with ATC two years ago, and then liked my group leader so much I went with her to see the gorillas a few months ago. ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. It’s amazing just how much travel can change you. I know that I’ve changed a lot since I’ve been in Australia, I can only put my finger on some of the things that have changed about me, but sometimes I’ll say something and I’ll be like “did I just say that?!” ( in a good way!)

    I too can be loud in groups and I hate this about myself but I’ve also become a much more positive person with a more rounded perspective.

    I’m sorry you’ve had a few low days Hun but as you said, it’s all worth it. Keep smiling and having fun xx

  6. Love the honest, reflective words you share here, though I wish you didn’t have to cry and be a little sleep-deprived at the same time <3

    I nodded my head as I read. I firmly believe my year in Australia was when I was supposed to be there and I met people who were supposed to be in my life.

    One of my grad school professors once said "growth is a painful process" and it's SO true.

  7. Beautiful sentiments. You’ll carry these things with you forever.

  8. Mum – It only changes how you feel about things and life in general…don’t panic too much ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you too x

  9. Monica – it really is hard but incredible discovering new and old things about myself…Africa is definitely good for the soul and can’t wait to see just how much I have changed when I get back ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. MAria – I definitely love knowing and feeling like I’m changing…it’s great despite how hard it feels at the time. Hugs right back!