Living my dream

For a year I have been living my dream.

For a year, I have met the most incredible local people.  I have been touched by the kindness offered, the smiles shared, the heartfelt waves.  I have teased with the guides, laughed with the market sellers and listened to people’s stories.  We have shared tea with some, meals with others.  We have been given food to take with us on our way.  We have been helped when we didn’t know which way to turn, and offered beds in homes of recently met people.

For a year, I have met the most amazing fellow travellers, kindred spirits.  Some are travelling for a few weeks, some are travelling for many many months.  Some are using public transport, some are in vehicles and some are bravely exploring on bicycles.  And almost everyone is generous with their time, their company, their knowledge, their smiles, their hugs, their laughter – dished out liberally according to need.  I have loved the openness and generosity that travellers share – no hoarding for personal gain, so familiar in corporate life.  I have made many new friends with similar but truly unique experiences.  I hope to see many of them again.

For a year, I have had no fashion police watching over my shoulder.  No-one to check whether I am wearing this year’s clothes or last year’s.  No-one to check what shoes I am wearing.  I am not worried about whether the colours I am wearing clash or co-ordinate – I am hopefully adding to the kaleidoscope of colours around me.  I am complemented on wearing an authentic skirt – even if it is just a piece of fabric tied around my waist.  No-one cares if I wore the same shirt yesterday as today, or my face is free of make-up, or my hair in need of styling.

For a year, I have escaped the entrapments of 21st century life and embraced a simple life.  Everything I need is in the car – and at times, I feel that we still have too much, that day to day living would be easier with even less.  There is no TV to soak up the waking hours, little internet to pass the time – so we chat more, read more and play games.  We explore the markets for fruit and vegetables – enjoying the smells, listening to the sounds, and feasting our eyes on the colours and stomachs on the full flavours.  We eat what we find in the roadside stalls, and test the new delights presented to us.

For a year, I have had the time to marvel at the world around me.  I can move as quickly or as slowly as I desire – spending more time here and less time there.  I have driven across deserts and mountains, through rainforests and wide open plains, along coasts and through gorges.  I have climbed dunes and swum in lakes, hiked in the desert and lay on the beach.  I have seen animals and watched birds.  I have soaked up the sun and snoozed in the shade.  I have felt the enormity and magic of this amazing continent.

For a year, I have seen the man I love come to life.  And I have fallen in love all over again.  I have watched him shed the work persona, the ‘conforming to a foreign country’ persona, the ‘juggling act’ persona.  I have watched him warm from grey to full technicolour as he interacts with people, negotiates for my souvenirs, chats with the local children, barters in the market.  I have fallen in love with his smile, his cheeky sense of humour, his adventurous spirit.  I have valued his support, his strength, his determination.  I have enjoyed being on his team – working seamlessly, unconsciously together, with little conflict or aggravation.

For a year, I have been free to be me – the real me.  I have been free of job appraisals, telling me to do less of this and more of that, conform to this and adhere to that, stay in my box and think inside the circle.  I am free to be peaceful and mindful, to savour the silence of solitude.  I am free to be chatty and bubbly, and enjoy the company of others if I so choose.  I am free to laugh and smile, free to joke and tease without fear of offending.  I am free to share from my heart.  I don’t have to convince or influence or change people’s minds – rather, I am free to inspire and help, free to show a world through my eyes.  I am free to be me.

This is my dream.

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18 Responses to Living my dream

  1. steve says:

    Wow, what a fantastic entry – I have been following your year and have loved every entry. Thank you.
    Keep on enjoying


  2. Jo says:

    Ah Sheelah!! What a treat. I must say, it is wonderful to read your words. Xx.

  3. Jo says:

    It needn’t be just the one year, you know. You choose more. You and Øyvind can choose more. Xxx. Lots of love!!!

    • African GirlChild says:

      The trick is to hold on to all this specialness as we transition into the next stage of our lives … but still a little more travelling to go 😉

  4. Naomi says:

    What a lovely post Sheelah 🙂 So nice to hear how happy your adventure has made you!

    • African GirlChild says:

      Thanks Naomi – is has been such a special year. I am glad to have been following it and enjoying it with us 😉 xx

  5. Fantastic words Sheelah..!! I could very easily step away from the ‘expected’, ‘normal’, life and do the same, and maybe once my kids are grown up, I may just do that.!! Until then I will continue being ‘free’ as often as I can during my time off and try and continue to show Markus and Heidi as much of the world as possible.
    You have been on an incredible journey not just in ‘Brodie’, but it has also been an amazing life journey!
    Im sure your ‘journey’ will continue, and I hope we cross paths again soon!

    Scott, Markus and Heidi.
    (and Donny)

    The GA team.

    • African GirlChild says:

      Scott – you really have inspired us with they way you are giving your children such a broad minded upbringing. You are to be commended. I look forward to sharing another adventure with the GA team … even if we may need to wait a year or a few 😉

  6. Vic Langford says:

    Ah, Sheelah. Reading that brought a tear to my eye! And a lump to my throat…. Your turn of phrase is superb.
    You’ve been so blessed. And what you describe is probably the unsaid (or said, perhaps?) of millions. It’s been a privilege to share this whole experience with you in a small way.
    You are also so blessed to have VE, just as he is to have AGC. You guys are a great example to all.
    I’ve said many times how jealous we are of your experiences. Who knows, one day…….???
    Looking forward to seeing you.
    Lotsa love
    The Dorset Crew
    (Now the George Crew!)

    • African GirlChild says:

      To the George Crew – we have loved having you along to share the ride! I have no doubt you will experience Africa in the years to come … just start small, and in not time you’ll be amazed where you have been! We are always here to share our tips 😉

  7. Beulah says:

    Hi Sheelah, I can’t imagine Oyvind in grey after seeing him in color!! My best part of your summary of your past year….is that you’re even more in love and impressed by your hubbie! What ……no fashion… created a new one!! All the best with the next year’s corporate adventure…….B

    • African GirlChild says:

      Beulah – thanks for your kind words! And thanks for being such an important part of our adventure 😉 Keep well! xx

  8. Kay says:

    Oooooooohhhhhh Shelaah

    This brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy that you got to live your dream and that it turned out to be all you imagined if not more. I am so happy that you and Øyvind got to share this together as one and that along the way you were inspired and were an inspritation; that you got to really live life instead of having to conform to a set of meaningless rules; that you got to see first hand a side of creation that many of us experience only in an unnatural habitat.

    May the experiences that you shared forever live in and warm your hearts.

    Luv from Barbados

    • African GirlChild says:

      Kay – thanks for your kind words. It has been a special adventure for us and being free to be ourselves was such a relief. We hope to keep the simplicity in our lives going forwards, and never forget our true selves again. xx

  9. margaret hingley says:

    I know exactly where you are coming fro m in these words – it is indeed a wonderful experience.

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  11. Martin says:

    Wow, nicely written. Makes me want to experience it all over again.

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