Next week, I’m getting on a plane in Manchester and flying to Istanbul, Turkey. There, I’m getting on another plane and flying to Cape Town, South Africa. When I get there, I’m not coming back for a year. I’m not going with family or friends, I don’t know anyone who lives in Cape Town or South Africa and I have never been to the continent it sits on the tip of before in my life. I am so scared. And I am the most excited about anything I have ever done in my life.
I keep asking the inane question whenever the topic of my move comes up (which is a lot, because I talk about it a lot); “Why am I moving when I’m so happy here?!?” Even though I know the answer. Its cliché, but I do. I’m moving because I need to. I’m moving because my heart and soul and mind are telling me to. I’m moving because I left home two years ago and I’m already itching for change. I’m moving because I want to be alone, because I want to spend time with myself and keep growing. I’m moving cause I want to meet new people, see new streets, climb new mountains, visit new coffee shops. I’m moving because I can’t stay here and expect to keep growing, if I don’t find more space.
I have an insane and awesome opportunity to move abroad in the cheapest way I could have imagined. I also have fantastic support system of friends and family who are enabling, supporting and encouraging my move. I am physically and mentally healthy and I have a purpose and an institution to be a part of in the country I am moving to. I am aware that this is unusual for relocation to another city, let alone another country. I am very grateful to be able to need and take this opportunity and I do not intend to waste it.
In the last month, the media reported the discovery of a body on a roof in Richmond, London. The flight which authorities theorise the man fell from was one from Johannesburg, South Africa. We are yet to find out why this man and the second stowaway currently in critical condition may have been desperate enough to leave Johannesburg or get to London, to cling to the underside of a plane and remain there for 11 hours, potentially experiencing -60C temperatures. Whatever motivation it held, the risks encountered by these men were severe.
I am travelling in the plane for my move to Cape Town, my journey will be a safe one. But I am still scared. While being aware of those not able to have the safety, support and preparation I have, I do not have to diminish my own fear. Awareness of those that may have opportunities, appearances or experiences you do not or those who have the opportunities you want yourself, allow you to ground yourself in your own situation and that of others. You do not have to diminish or undermine the experiences of yourself in knowing others, or experiences of others in knowing your own.
In an age where we are able to access information about hundreds of thousands of other people’s lives we find ourselves making comparisons between them and our own, between that which we know and what we discover, between something we understand and something we do not. This access can be awe inspiring and life changing and enlightening and incredible, they can help us discover things about ourselves and the world we never would have know if it weren’t for the internet. But they can also get us lost. We can spend too much time focusing on others’ lives and not on our own, on the amazing things people have done and what we think we will never do, in the worst cases, unhealthy amounts of time judging others, witholding jealousy and misunderstanding situations we have never experienced.
We are each our own person and we must remain aware. Stay tuned to yourself and your experience and allow this to make you aware of that of others, in context. Never undermine your own, or anyone else’s experience by direct comparison to others, and never focus solely on the experience of others, where we lack the personal insight that individual holds, for that is when we begin to lose ourselves.