I have been in South Africa for a year. A whole year.
It has been a loooong uncertain year, but in some ways it feels like it has flown by quickly. The original plan was to be in SA for a few weeks, to dive and sort out visa's before making our way to Europe for the summer of 2020. I was a little optimistic as a worldwide pandemic was coming our way and borders were closing all over the world. Still, I thought things would ease and go back to normal.
We had been in Umkomaas for months, the small coastal town has character, some lovely locals and world class diving. But it's not home. I miss having an everyday job and working in a team. I miss my big sister and laughing at her quirky ness. I miss Sunny, our family dog. I miss going to the beach solo (and being 100% safe and normal); to read a book and laze in the sun. I miss easy and safe everyday living and having independence. Oh and I miss mum's cooking, we need a VanillaFood in SA.
As much as I love to travel and to explore new countries and immerse myself in different cultures, there's something about home. Not being able to return home easily (Covid-19 tests, long expensive flights and extended layovers and quarantine) has made me miss the little things that much more. Being in lockdown in a foreign country has been bizarre. I am however grateful for my time spent in South Africa.
Without Covid-19 I would never have had the opportunity to live here for so long. Most travellers get a 90 day visa on arrival, due to Covid-19 mine has been automatically extended every three months (so five extensions later... I am still here).
It is already April, I feel like it was 2020 last week. We don't have a set plan for the rest of 2021. We are happy taking each day, each week and each month at a time. We have packed up in Umkomaas for a bit and headed inland for some time with family. Before (fingers crossed) we head to Mozambique.
As much as I miss home I am creating new memories and beginning to realise home is more about the people you're surrounded by and experiences you create for yourself.