A week before I left on my three week African overland trip through three new countries, I realized I was really ready to just be home. For a long while, my mind was racing about whether I keep traveling, extend my visa by crossing a border or paying 425rand ($50) to SA home affairs to extend my visa and then find any ole job in Cape town, most likely restaurant or bar work. I felt ready to be settled and not in motion nor living out of my backpack after 9 months. The more time I spent wandering Cape town in winter with too many gloomy days, the more home beckoned.
So a few days before I left on my organized trip, I bought a one way ticket from Joburg, SA to JFK, New York. Thank goodness for STA travel as I managed to get a flight for $750 and online the best deal was around $1000 for the same flight. You get the deals until you’re 26, teacher or student so take advantage! It was a happy day despite the windy, gray day. I know I was ready to be home and having a ticket in my hand made my decision this much sweeter. Making decisions can be the most difficult but once I make up my mind, life becomes a breeze.
I flew to NY with out a ticket to SF with the intent to stay for as long or little as I wanted. I forsaw NYC would be overwhelming and intense but didn’t realize how happy I would be to just be on a plane home. NYC is a place where you need a lot of energy and considering how worn out I was from traveling, it makes sense NY didn’t feel right. Home called louder. I was happy to see friends but also intensely overwhelming to see how caught up they were in the NY lifestyle. NYC is like a bullet train without brakes, if you jump aboard you better be prepared to join the madness. I felt my dropping in on their lives was more of a hindrance at times. I wanted to go with their flow and not be in charge of much because after being in charge of everything for so long, I wanted a break. Only to realize, when I gave up planning and going on someone else’s schedule doesn’t mean easier or better. In my case, it meant more stress, no relaxtion and lots of frustration. Sometimes you don’t know what you really need until you’re not doing it.
New York is about the last place one should go when your energy is sucked dry and you need to recharge. You won’t find it in NYC. Any energy you have remaining will be zapped. Hectic. Dirty. Smelly. Humid. Crazy. You’ve got to be ready for going full speed and diving in head first or NY will run you over.
We’ve lived very different lives these last 9.5 months and it took a bit of adjustment. Everything worked out in the end. A simple reminder to do what feels right and always follow what your intuition tells you.