A place called home

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September 25th 2011
Published: September 25th 2011
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As I sit here overlooking the sunbleached tarmac of Doha International, as planes come and go into the hazy blue sky and shimmering heat, I don't think things have really sunk in yet. Nothing quite seems real, like I'm stuck in a dream. And to tell you the truth, at times I don't even know how or what I'm feeling, or if I'm even feeling anything at all. I thought I'd be a barrel of emotions, bubbling over, but I feel like I'm in a trance, daydreaming and sleepwalking to Heathrow.

But then, at other times, the realisation dawns on me. It sinks in that I've come to the end of the trip. It sinks in that I've already left Africa, that the UK is but a few hours away. And suddenly a cold chill grips my heart, and a knot tries to tear my stomach in two as my limbs start to tremble and my heat skips a beat.

In a way I left the Africa that people dream of a few weeks ago, most probably when I crossed from Zimbabwe into Botswana, and from then it's been one long drawn out goodbye, one long slide back into the development, order, and sensibilities of Europe. I'm hardly even expecting any culture shock, but the for the grey skies. So maybe that explains my muted feelings.

Or maybe it's because I just don't know where I'm going to. And I don't have the slightest clue of where I actually want to be going. Back to the UK? Is it even home anymore? Back to nine-to-five? Back to being a designer? At times these seem to be the last things on my mind. Sure the developmment of Southern Africa was good for a day or two, the cafes, the restaurants, the bars and clubs, the hot showers, and fully stocked supermarkets. But once the dust had settled, where were the street markets, the stalls filling the pavements, the smells of cooking food, rotting fruit, sweat and deisel fumes. Where were the smiles, the laughter, the dancing. All these things that became so familiar, so natural, now seem so far away.

And where does that leave me? I'm not sure I'll quite fit or belong in the UK when I get there. I almost feel homeless, a little lost, all at sea. But I guess all I can do is board the plan, see what happens next, and keep dreaming of the next adventure. The next time my feet stand on the red soil of Africa, and the sticky heat hits my body, instantly causing sweat to run down my skin. The next time the warmth of the sun hits my face as it rises over the most fantastic continent on Earth. Where hope and joy flow like the rains, in the most unlikely of situations. Where laughter will greet you in the morning, and send you to bed at night. A place where you find a gratefulness for the sun, the rain, and the earth, a gratefulness that we seem to have lost in the West. A place where life isn't hidden away behind gates and fences, but lived as one with everyone else. A place music is never far from your ears, and where every beat leads to a dance. A place of sunsets, safaris and campfires. Of street markets and street food. A place where every journey is an adventure; Where will we arrive? When will we arrive? Wow will we get there? A place where life is lived in all its glory.

A place that feels like home.


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