How are you today?
Here we are on this fine day, a day where we can decide that we have a second chance at life in just one thought. The thought you choose will decide how you want to live for the next three minutes, how you think for the next three minutes, your attitude for the next three minutes, what you will do for the next three minutes and how you will feel about yourself for the next three minutes.
Does your child want to go travelling? Does your child want to go and live abroad? Do you or they or anyone else you know that wants to go travelling or is about to go travelling know what to expect?
That’s why I’m right here, writing this for you. I am going to give you my insights and my insights are not necessarily going to be the case for your children, you or any other person but it’s something to have awareness of.
Here I was standing at Victoria bus station, London in the year 2000. I just turned 21 two months ago. Ten weeks before this day I didn’t even know I was going to be at this bus station (in fact I never even knew I’d be at this bus station until the day I arrived into London), everything was going great until a man had a gun to my head at my first full-time job. It took two weeks to decide that I didn’t want to live in South Africa anymore, one week after, the process to leave began, three weeks later my passport was submitted for a visa and then four weeks later it was time to say goodbye to my family.
From Victoria bus station, there I was, heading to a destination which I never knew will take me to new adventures, give me a new personality from here for the coming years but most of all I had no clue that none of this which I was doing was going to lead me to an entitled life; life here, there, in my own country or anywhere else in the world for the next eighteen years. I remembered what I wanted then. I wanted my life, to make the best of it as that is the only life I have left, I wanted to be safe, I wanted to help my family and the whole town I grew up in and lastly, I just wanted some peace. Yep, this dream in the head of a just turned 21 years seemed achievable at the age of twenty-one.
To reach the best life I had to face what you are going to face; going travelling and I know you are very afraid to “fly” on your own. How would you guarantee a roof over your head? At least at home, your parents and sometimes your siblings got your back. How would you manage to pay the bills on your own? At least at home, if you were stuck someone helped you. If you’re already stuck back home, then good news for you. You have an even stronger chance of making it out there. I was hungry, you know, yes think about it; born in a patriarchal society yep, women were and still are devalued in some homes today, then in apartheid and domestic violence… So yes, very hungry in a world where you see men getting the best of everything most of the time.
- No matter how bad it was at home or in my country I missed my family a lot.
- I began to appreciate what people had done for me back home.
- My motivator became the power; through thinking of how I can help my family, my town, and people in this culture. (I still had no idea how; it was an idea I had for years) Every challenge I took on I’ve taken first for me and then for them if I thought I was going to break down.
- You know to not see your family in two years or one and a half years in your first travel was the maximum I could take; I just couldn’t take more than that. (this in the year 2000)
Read my book The South African: Roamer – This will give you a detailed journey on the above points.
Now from the year 2000 let’s go all the way to the year 2019. A lot has happened, a lot. If you’ve been watching the Instagram platform or Twitter or YouTube videos and reading the blog posts regularly, you’d see a small percentage of what went down. When I returned from my travels in the year 2019, I was a stranger to my family and my family was a stranger to me. They have only seen me for ten days in the last twelve years due to all sorts of circumstances. From a traveller (the just turned 21 one-year-old girl) in just over one year was given the identity “immigrant” which of course over time was a negative word associated to me and others who went and did what I did while I called myself a traveller, someone who just wanted their life, to make the best of it as that is the only life they have left, they wanted to be safe, they wanted to help their family and the whole town they grew up in and lastly, they just wanted some peace. Dubbed immigrant for wanting what every human being really wants; freedom. Eventually with time, one would just throw themselves in that box. You can’t win against the world’s politicians by just being one person.
Now, it’s the first time I am with my family for roughly ten months in the last eighteen years. There’s a lot we’re still working through.
A few upsides to travelling
- I’ve gained wisdom
- The knowingness that I know I can make it anywhere
- Ticked off a lot of countries on my list that I wanted to visit
- Became a linguist
- Gained confidence
- Always lived like I had nothing to lose
- Became proactive
- Had so much fun and not so fun experiences
- Don’t have regrets
- Met some amazing people
- I have built a really strong relationship with truth and honesty
- I found out my strengths and weaknesses
- Became fearless
- You earn great belief in Faith/trust
- I got more tales to tell…
These are just a few things that come to mind.
A few downsides to travelling
- Learnt the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed
- A woman has more to lose
- One fight for a dream can end up becoming a never-ending fight; one that you could lose
- Living from a bag/suitcase
- Saying hello and goodbye to people a lot
- No stability
- Becoming too spontaneous
- The more choice the more you change your mind
- You learn to take so many risks that you can become an adrenaline junkie to living life on the edge.
- You’re always fighting for your worth
- If you’re aiming to get residency on your own, you have to make sacrifices which also means you might have to cross out love for those years, risk it or be ready to lose something.
These are just a few things that come to mind.
Your life in whatever you decide to do will ultimately be about how bad you really want something. Don’t ignore the above points by going fully with your heart, take your brain with you.
Hope this article has helped you. One major piece of advice I’d give to parents and families is that if one of your family members are going travelling, support them and please find a way to at least go and see how they are doing overseas. The is very powerful for them, sometimes people who surround them have to see that they are supported by family who will undoubtedly protect their own, otherwise that world can really consume you, and at times it erodes you to such an extent that you lose your power to that world in which politicians have labelled your passport/identity, you, through the stamp you have.
Always standing for you and with you spiritually wherever you are.
T. Dench Patel
P.S When you are so strong and apt at surviving people forget to see you as a person who can still feel pain, they see you as a machine and not as someone’s sister, daughter, aunt or friend. Beware of exploitation. T. Dench Patel, 4 December 2019, 17:16