2010 - A year of change
Trip Start Jan 17, 2010
135Trip End Feb 27, 2011
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It would be hard to say it has been the year of greatest change in my life ... early years like my first year of high school, my first year at university, the first year of being married or having kids, etc were huge change years as well ... but that is the case for everyone.
This year has been a year that I have chosen, as an adult, to make big changes to my life ... my way of thinking, the way I look, my approach to life ... my overall perspective of why I am here ... etc.
I am not the same person I was 12 months ago ... I am looking at life from a completely different perspective now ... and I approach each and every day in a very different mode.
Perhaps my greatest change has to been to become self-aware ... in the real sense of the word.
I thought I was a year ago ... but when I look back on that mental space it is almost laughable for me to think that was me.
My mind was cluttered with a mountain of rubbish ... unfulfilled dreams, rages, regrets, unresolved realities, etc ...
I could not really even begin to see who I was because I was trapped within my own mind ... and more importantly ... within a flawed perspective of myself.
It has not been an easy journey ... I have been confronted, shocked, awed, and generally humbled by the experiences of this journey.
The world is so much more than I thought it was ... and an even greater revelation has been the people of the world ... generally (French and Russians excluded) people all over the world are nice, friendly, easy going and great to meet and communicate with.
I also did not really understand how "same" the world is ... the 20th century has created a truly global village ... I mean I kind of knew this before, but did not fully appreciate the impact of it, and the reality of it.
Not only is it easy to travel and explore the world now ... the reality is the world is pretty much the same everywhere now.
Perhaps something has been lost because of this ... some of the uniqueness and diversity as been lost ... but in the end the world is genreally a much better place for it ...
There are some "pits" in the world that have been left behind ... certainly India is one of those ... and it must be the mission of the world (in my view) to lift these people out of the chains of ignorance and poverty ... and bring them into the global village ... so that they too can enjoy what the rest of us take foregranted.
I know I am a better person now, without question ... for many reasons, but the biggest of these is because I want to be ... I have taken a long hard look at myself and decided that I did not like what I saw ... now I kind of like what I see ... but I still have some way to go.
A huge change for me has also been my approach, and interest, in meeting and interacting with people.
Like any mature adult, I had an established small group of friends that I choose to spend my free time with, and so was comfortable within the space I was in.
In this year however I have made something like another 150 new friends, from all over the world, and from all sorts of different walks of life.
I treasure these new relationships, as I have learnt to treasure my existing relationships ... and most importantly for me, to treasure my family, which I have neglected for so long.
I have found the truth behind the Paulo Coelho book "The Alchemist" ... funnily, I have had to do the same thing in many ways as in the book ... travel to far away places to realise that the greatest treasure I have is right back where I came from !!!
I have just done a review of all the places in the world I have been to now ... the total is now 75 countries (out of about 200) ... some of which I have only seen the briefest sliver of, and some of which I have spent many many years in.
Many people have told me I am lucky to have been able to do and see what I have ... and perhaps I am ... it has not been possible without many years of hard work and saving though ... but yes, I am also lucky to be healthy, fit, educated and able to do this ... if I had been born in the pit that is India I might never have been able to do this.
I am beginning to feel full ... I have satisfied my need to "go out and see that world".
Of course I could go on and travel a whole lot more, as I had originally planned to, go see another 50 or so countries ... but I am not sure that I need to do that at the moment, or want to anymore.
I am feeling like the next bit of exploring of the world that I want to do I would like to do with my future partner, with family and friends, and not alone.
I have needed and wanted to do what I have this year alone ... there is no way I would have had all the experiences I have had I not done this alone.
But I have "been there done that" now.
So now I look forward to a different phase of this journey, the "getting back to my roots" part ... on 7th January I fly into South Africa for the first time in 18 years ... to see my family, to visit old old friends, and to generally wander around my old stomping grounds from university days onwards.
I will also return to Botswana (where I was born) and Zimbabwe (where I grew up) ... again to re-connect with my roots ... which I tore out so many years ago.
Funny how back then all I wanted to do was leave all those places behind ... and now I want to go back ... but I am not alone in that ... it is the tragedy of Africa that so many of us felt so uncomfortable in the lands we were born in ... all because of the colour of our skin ... how ridiculous !!!
Future generations will look back on this shocking period of history with dismay ... how so much ignorance can cause such pain.
I have also decided that I am happy in New Zealand, and to call that country my home now.
Part of the purpose of this journey was to have a look around the world to see if there is anywhere else I want to live ... and the truth is there are many ... but in the final analysis, none of them are any "better" than what I have in New Zealand.
"kiwi" has become my identity and my culture ... yes I am an African by birth, and am definitely a hybrid of African and New Zealand culture, morals and ethics ...
but I am also a "citizen of the world" ... my identity is also now that of a "human from planet earth"
And so I will go back to New Zealand after I have reconnected with my roots, and re-establish myself there ... a new home, a new job, new things, a new lifestyle, a new way of being.
This probably means I will return around April 2011 to rejoin the rat-race ... but with a very different work / life balance than what I have come from.
Never again will work absorb me as it did ... there were good reasons ... I had to fund raising two kids ... but I could have done that a lot better ... and could have appreciated and valued those years so much more.
But that is lost time now ...
Now I look to today and the future ... to what I can do to make my life, the life of my family and friends, and to whatever extent I can, the lives of the rest of the people in the world ... something meaningful and valuable.
2010 has been a year of personal transformation ... one I will never forget ...
2011 is going to be interesting ...