As an eighteen-year-old South African girl who loves Sunday braais & uses hectic as a common adjective, I am about to embark on a year-long journey in a foreign country where they drink tea at 4 pm every day & have a Cathedral in every town.
I am going to work at a school in England as a gap student assisting in the sports department. I was selected through a working holiday placement agency along with 3 other South Africans. A total of 300 18-year-olds will be meeting in Dubai on the way to their separate schools in the UK. I have no idea what my boss is going to be like & whether my bed will be comfortable but I have made the decision & it is time for me to grow.
My whole life I have been second to my older brother, always doing the sports he did, succeeding the way he did, and never once I made a choice to part take in something that was going to make me happy. So in leaving school, I have decided to do something for myself.
There is one thing that has consistently made my heart flutter, travel. I have been to almost every country surrounding South Africa on overland tours & the thrill of being in a new destination, taking in new sights, smells & feelings brought upon myself by these sensations has always been somewhat electrifying.
Travel means so much more to me than getting on a plane & staying in a fancy hotel. Travel is the epitome of living; let me elaborate, you are in a specific place for a certain time & you need to make the most of that moment, experience, sight, feeling or memory. To me that’s the life we strive for, to make the most of that moment every second of every day and in turn, you’ll end up making the most of your life. That’s why I think travel means so much to me, if we all lived our lives to the fullest the way we spend our time traveling, imagine how fulfilled our potential would be and how exhilarated we would feel?
Destination: the rest of my life.
Flight: the journey of self-discovery.
Airline service: opportunity.
Cost: an open mind.
Already I feel like I might be forgotten, my brother has already started talking about how he wants my queen-sized bed when I leave & my mom wants some of my clothes that I don’t take with me. As much as it hurts that I will be leaving & that I might become a distant thought on some days, I’ve got to keep reminding myself that I am doing this for myself. This is my journey. My opportunity. And my chance to show them who I am & prove some people wrong.
This gap year won’t be smooth sailing & I know that. I know that I am going to spend some lonely days in rainy England missing the sound of a car hooting at a taxi that cut it off. I’ll miss the people who helped me get there. But without rain, there would be no flowers. Much like a wildflower, this journey is going to allow me to grow in places people never thought I would & for that I cannot be any more excited.
I am ready to meet myself and have discussions about all of my strengths, my flaws & my dreams. I am ready to board this flight of opportunity & make it the best 365 days of my life.
I’m at the edge of the runway & I’m getting ready for takeoff.
England 2019- bring it on.”