I am By no means Leaving Africa!

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It is mid-April and I’ve published exactly two weblog posts in 2018. That is which includes this 1.

You know what the worst component is? One particular of my New Year’s resolutions was to turn into a much more active blogger, to share my recommendations and stories with you in this longer format. As an alternative I have 151 post drafts and guilt sitting on my shoulders, enjoying the piggy back ride.

There’s a superior purpose for my absence although. As you will know if you comply with me on Instagram and Facebook, I’ve been travelling about Africa because the starting of the year. But my trip was much more than a content-g0-fortunate backpacking adventure. I came out right here as component of the #Faces2Hearts project organised by the European Union.

It is a superb initiative, focused on sharing the stories of nearby men and women and how their lives are altering thanks to EU help. My time with Faces2Hearts was life-altering, and I say that without the need of cringing. I’ve grown so substantially as a individual and I owe it all to the men and women I met along the way.

From female entrepreneurs who are not afraid to shake up social norms to hardworking college youngsters, from guys who are fighting to defend their communities to village leaders eager to embrace modify, each and every single 1 of them left a deep imprint on my soul. In the mountains of Ethiopia, forests of Uganda, beaches of Tanzania and lakes of Malawi, the journey into the locals’ hearts produced mine develop at least twofold. If you haven’t but verify out this weblog exactly where I shared all my stories.

Exploring the colourful labyrinth that is Mercato in Addis Ababa.

But now the time has come for me to get back to what I do most effective and that is operating my personal enterprise! One particular of the greatest perks of becoming Girl vs Globe is my potential to operate from anyplace in the planet. I’ve identified that ever because I turned this small corner of the World-wide-web into a complete-time job but by no means really took benefit of it.

Positive, I’ve lived in 4 various cities because graduating university in the summer season of 2015. But they weren’t specifically offbeat options – London, Manchester, Glasgow, Vienna. I liked every single of them in its personal appropriate but by no means felt appropriately relaxed. There was normally a deadline hovering more than my head like a poisonous cloud. I couldn’t go a single day without the need of feeling miserable simply because I failed to reside up to my self-imposed thought of who I really should be.

In spite of not functioning a standard job I was trapped inside that familiar old cycle. I wanted to advance, to make much more revenue, to be much more respected by my peers. I craved the very same outdated version of good results every person else does. My job title produced me sound much more enlightened than my mates in the rat race but I seriously wasn’t.

Back residence in England, sipping on a £4 Insta-worthy latte.

As you have no doubt guessed from the title of this post, my journey about Africa didn’t come to an finish when my time in the Faces2Hearts project did. No ma’am. I was supposed to leave Malawi on March 21 but it is been practically a month and I’m nevertheless right here.

Searching from the outdoors in it barely sounds surprising. “A travel blogger decided to take some time out to travel? Wow Marge, pass the popcorn.” I get it, sarcastic inner voice. The truth is that the selection shocked me much more than any person.

I’m not an impulsive individual. Dropping all the things to travel without the need of an finish date, to discover remote villages exactly where I’m forced to disconnect from the World-wide-web is pretty as opposed to me. It limits my potential to make revenue, meet clientele and liaise with brands. It limits my potential to operate – anything we workaholics frequently locate really hard to swallow.

But you know what? I’m ultimately realising that taking time away from becoming “productive” and functioning nonstop is 1 of the smartest items a individual can do. Backpacking about Malawi has been 1 of the most effective and most liberating choices I’ve ever produced. Ever.

It is permitted me to really take a step back and hit the reset button on my life. I’ve ultimately produced time to reflect and ask myself all the difficult queries I shied away from for years. At the danger of sounding like a cliché backpacker, I know I’ll appear back in 5 years and be grateful I awarded myself this chance at the tender age of 24. Deciding upon the appropriate path before I hit my thirties and embark on grand new adventures like beginning a family members is much more crucial than I can even comprehend.

Undertaking a bit of grocery buying at the Bwaise slum in Kampala, Uganda.

I’m turning a quarter of a century old this October. While I’m nevertheless pretty young that is a extended way to have spent on this planet. I’ve celebrated 24 birthdays, travelled to 42 nations and eaten much more than 26,280 meals. It is far from absolutely nothing. So I assume it is higher time I attempted to get to the bottom of a query that is each straightforward and extremely complicated. Who do I want to be?

I know travel and writing will play a large part in my future. But there are a lot of items I could do that incorporate each. To superior have an understanding of which life-style would suit me most effective I initially require to get to know myself. For the reason that you know what? I seriously do not look to know myself that effectively.

It turns out travelling just for the sake of travelling does not fulfil me. It turns out generating revenue just for the sake of generating revenue does not fulfil me either. In quick, it turns out I’m a fairly really hard lady to please and I’m gradually realising that is a superior issue.

Not becoming content material with settling for “just ok” has forced me to make a lot of complicated choices, but all of them have led me specifically exactly where I am. I’m an independent self-employed lady with a prestigious political science degree and the potential to speak 5 languages. But much more importantly, for the initially time ever, I really feel like I’m much more than that.

In meeting all these superb men and women in the course of my time in Africa I’ve located anything inside myself. It is not anything I discovered by way of schooling or earned by functioning really hard. It is anything I’ve had all along, absolutely independent of any achievements. It is anything each and every single 1 of us has inside their grasp.

Exploring the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

I’m nevertheless attempting to locate the appropriate word for it but it lies on the crossroads among kindness, consideration and patience. I’ll be the initially to admit that I’ve not normally been the nicest individual to be about. Tension, self-imposed or external, can make me into an individual I’m not specifically proud of. But I’m starting to locate myself functioning by way of issues without the need of that dark and bitter power that employed to accompany them. For the reason that dark and bitter may possibly sound scrumptious, but power is not chocolate.

It is been a subtle shift, 1 I believed would go unnoticed by the planet about me. But you know what? The modify in how other folks treat me has been much more dramatic than any I’d ever noticed prior to. Men and women go out of their way to get to know me. They strategy me and strike up conversation, curious to study much more about who I am. Anytime I speak they seriously listen.

This is partly simply because I’m in Malawi, 1 of the friendliest nations in the planet. But it is much more than that and I’m excited to invest the rest of my life honing in on what it is. Maybe it is the smile painted into the creases of my face. Possibly it is my newfound self-assurance. Possibly it is the feeling of calm that meeting extraordinary men and women all more than Africa has brought into my heart.

I will ultimately leave Africa of course, in ten days in reality. But I’m starting to have an understanding of 1 straightforward reality – that Africa will by no means leave me. It is component of who I am now.

Have you ever had a realisation like this in the course of your travels? Is there a distinct practical experience that helped you get to know oneself superior than ever prior to?

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