I’m not sure how I’ve survived 2012: I’ve fallen 869 times, crashed 3 motorbikes, blown 17 bicycle tyres, licked any and everything, hitched 2687 km, cycled 2953 km, motorbiked 3214 km, sailed some 13 060.8 km, shipwrecked, probably contracted rabies, and today celebrates 396 days of unemployment... not to mention surviving the predicted world’s ending...
I’ve always pretended to be ballsy. I’m not particularly - I’m a woman, we don’t have balls. I think my could-be-any-race-group complextion (currently leaning towards Nigerian), calloused bare feet and mangled mop of gypsy hair gives me that caveman-style untouchable aura. But I bruise, I bleed, I have sleepless nights of worry and I’m generally just as scared as the chickens who live across the road from the KFC...
A year ago today I was sat on a friends balcony in Singapore staring worryingly at the world map wondering where to go next... My goal was a flightless mission to Spain, maybe. But the terrified little girl inside had only a giant teddy bear and a gianter backpack to cling to. And the bank account probably wasn’t very happy already. A pep talk with myself, and excessive amounts of prayer later I missioned off into the abyss and let life unfold.
It’s easy to have a good year when you play it safe. You know what’s going to happen. You know who and where your friends are. You have a secure job where you can budget and plan bonuses. You have a cellphone contract and you know that when you walk into a local supermarket or a restaurant that you’ll find the brands and the flavours that you’re looking for and if you don’t you can at least speak the language and ask. But an excellent year involves a bit of roulette.
|You never know what you're going to eat next....|
“Never try, never know” is one of the many catch phrases of Asia (normally used to promote drug sales and prostitution). You don’t. Think back to the year that’s just past and how many times you turned down offers that made you nervous, conversations with people who smelt funny, travels to places you’d never heard of; how different would life have been if you’d said ‘yes’ more (or, in a few selective cases “no” more)??
After 2 and a half years of being away and 5 months of sailing, I arrived home. We moored in Richard’s Bay (South Africa) a little over two weeks ago after some incredibly hectic seas and a good many sleepless nights of holding on for dear life. I was looking forward to seeing friends and family and familiarity. I kissed the ground (which tasted very similar to dirt the world over, if you were wondering), and spent a couple of hours bouncing up and down in happiness (before I wore myself out and took a 4 hour power nap). It was so good to be back but I’d subconsciously already decided to run away again.
|The purple show's the radar's reflection of the storm surrounding us|
|The tattered remains of our gib|
|The crew and the friendliest immigration man I've ever met who gave the biggest welcome hug|
I missioned to Cape Town (car-bus-car-car-car-car-bus) for the first sibling reunion in 3 years and found a whole lot more than I’d bargained for. The best year of my life (so far) just got even better and ends with me dating my best friend of 10 years.... And that’s more than definitely worth sticking around for.
|Aren't we an attractive lot???|
I’m about to give the realer world another shot [GULP] - but this doesn’t for a second mean that the adventures are over. It simply means a new sort of gypsyism and I’m both excited and terrified - I have no idea where 2013 is going to take me.
And now it’s time to check my bank balance for the first time in 2 years - this is officially the scariest thing I’ve done all year...
Happy 2013!! Go crazy. Be awesome. Say yes a lot. Come Visit. Don’t die.