What am I doing? A question that occasionally surfaces to keep me awake at night. How did I end up here? Have I done the right thing? What am I missing back home? Shouldn’t I be a bit more miserable or worried about my career status? I wouldn’t be human to be wondering after so many life changes in the past few years.
I suppose it’s inevitable that I’ll have crisis moments and panic attacks when things get difficult – as they frequently do here in Africa. Three years ago I had a wife, a job, a house, a car and a load of stuff. I thought life would continue thus and at the time I thought I was happy.
Pull one thing away from that pack of cards and the whole facade came crashing down. Regular readers will know that led to me realising my true passion of travel and living in Africa. I met Khady and the rest is history.
That’s not to say that I don’t miss a bunch of things – not just cheese, but English conversation, family, friends and many things most of you will take for granted.
In this blog, I try to convey the joy in my life – the beauty of the place, the friendliness of the people, the adventure and the down right weirdness. For too long people automatically think of poverty, famine, corruption and war when they think of Africa. Those things exist, but there is development and a growing middle class. There’s a joy to life and sense of community that I think for the most part we are losing in the UK.
To some around me it may have seemed like a crazy snap decision to move to Africa and start a new life. And yes, as recounted here, there was a crunch point, but in actual fact, many issues and things going on in my life had worked for years to make me the person receptive to that snap. After six or more months of travelling, living here and seriously thinking about what I wanted from my life – only then did I go for it. It was a calculated snap decision, and one I made once I realised I could support myself financially at a level acceptable to me. It was at that point, after making the decision, that I learned that Khady was pregnant, and I’m glad it happened that way. This news ensured I had absolutely no way out of backing out and taking what may be seen as the safer option, rather than follow my passions, my values and my heart.
On my fortieth birthday, I was still with my ex, and she suggested that, as I was floundering about a bit career wise, I was a failure. I was clearly in a state of change and she wasn’t wrong that I was floundering. But I’d say the only difference between me and the majority of people is that I was thinking hard about what I wanted from life and making steps to change direction – studying photography and trying some online business’s (both failures, but never a waste of my time as I learnt loads and had fun). Most people just keep calm and carry on, often miserable or unaware there can be another way in life.
Life here can be quite hard, but Khady, Gulliver and my land are my rocks and bring incredible joys to my life that make it all worthwhile. When times get tough, I just have to think about what I might be doing in UK and I feel better. Commuting, working too hard and not enjoying a full life with my family, worrying about rising costs and so on. That’s not to say I don’t have problems here (trying to find a spot under the palm tree where the glare doesn’t affect my screen is a killer), but it’s all part of the adventure.
Someone pointed out to me that I’m good at projects – if I have something big going on in my life, that takes over but I’m a little lost when that finishes. That’s happened a little now, hence I’m musing about things – we’ve nearly finished the house and I’m twiddling my thumbs. The tourist season doesn’t kick off until November and we don’t have any confirmed bookings yet (a few enquiries though, so I’m sure it’ll happen). I have lots of small projects, especially with photography, but my main camera lens has broken and I’ve no way of fixing it or buying a new one.
And I’m procrastinating on the biggest project of all – a book. Think “A Year in Provence” with machetes and snakes.
So, what am I saying after all this waffle?
Follow your passions – life’s too short and not a dress rehearsal, etc.
Do what you have to do and work hard to put yourself in a position where it is a viable and good life choice.
And perhaps sometimes, you do need to be a little reckless and let fate decide what’s going to happen for you.
That’s what I did.