It’s been a while since I have written a blog post, largely because I have found that I have nothing to say. As an expat,…
The holidays provided ample opportunity to engage in some hefty self-denial about my upcoming repatriation to the US, but with the packers arriving in two weeks, I can no longer put-off the inevitable. Like it or not, I am returning to the States and to quote Will Smith, “I’m going to Miami.”
As the jacarandas trees exploded with purple blossoms across Johannesburg, I couldn’t help but think that this was the last time I would see them usher in spring. In what is surely a perverse way of viewing the world, I find myself longing for my South African life even though I am still living my South African life. The absurdity of indulging in nostalgia for the life I am leading instead of appreciating my life in the moment, is not lost on me.
In the four years since I arrived in Johannesburg, I have exuberantly explored South Africa taking every opportunity to discover new places and jet off to far-flung locales. I think for expats who know that our time in a place is limited, we feel the need to cram in as much as possible before it all ends, but end it does
I once told my Mom that traveling with her was like traveling with myself. She pursed her lips and cocked her head and shot me a look that said, “really?” I meant to say that we had so many similar likes and dislikes that if I suggested an outing, restaurant, or museum (or vice versa) nine times out of ten it was something that we both wanted to do. She willingly agreed to my suggestions with nary a complaint, although getting her to approve of a harebrained adventure in the first place was the more challenging part of the proposition.
With careers that demand that emails are attended to quickly and digital addictions that require us to check multiple social media platforms numerous times a day, a digital detox is a necessary respite from the information overload that has overtaken our lives. Lately, social media platforms feel less like a place to connect with far flung friends and more like a divisive social commons where stress inducing breaking news stories are interspersed with targeted advertisements. This constant bombardment of unnecessary information in no way enriches my life, but going off the grid is harder than it sounds. Perhaps that is why I increasingly seek out holidays to remote corners of the world where cell phone towers and WiFi have yet to reach. There I can enjoy the benefits of going off the grid. I had planned an eight day trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe with my Love fully knowing that we would inaccessible for nearly the entire vacation; never imagining that the real reason why we carry devices with us – so that we can be reachable at all times – would affect me.