“Thanks for the invite except I really have a lot of places to be. I won’t be able to make it. With love, Someone Else”
When I was 17 and in my matric year, one of my teachers gave us an assignment where we had to answer “What do you fear and how does it hold you back?” It wasn’t for marks it was just one of those we-are -preparing-you-for-life assignments. That was Ms Nel for you, she was always on this asking deep questions tip – maybe she read The Lord of the Flies too many times. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed her classes for that very reason. So like everything else that wasn’t for marks, people just ignored the thought and went on with their lives. But then you get me – that learner… yes I was that girl – I loved learning! (In fact, I haven’t changed). I really wanted to answer the question and after some thought eventually settled on this:
“I fear doing things by myself and often miss things I am interested in because I’m too scared to do it alone.”
It sounds well thought out and stuff but that’s not what I was thinking when I wrote it. At the time I was thinking of silly little things like
“Today I went home a little hungry because I didn’t want to go to the tuckshop alone”
“I really enjoy sports but I don’t play as many sports as I can because my friends only play netball. I don’t want to play alone.”
From that day on, I tried every day to not let the fear of doing something alone hold me back. I started with small things and now look at me:
I mean I was on a roll – I applied the thinking to everything! I actually ended up trying out for the school volleyball team having never played the sport before and I made it! The only black girl there, no friends in the squad but I strived on and hey I’m actually quite the volleyball player today.
Around the same time I came across The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in my sister’s collection of books. If you have read the story before, you will know what I mean about having several revelations throughout the book about the journey of life but one lesson stood out for me. The Alchemist was explaining that what you need to know tomorrow you would’ve already learned yesterday! So basically life prepares you for life (ooohh…aha moment!).
I have become better and better at doing things by myself and over time it has introduced me to a few influential people, pushed me to start OutClass SA alone and it even got me my first love and thensome lol!
Here is where The Alchemist’s notion gets really interesting though… On the day that I received a call asking me to travel to Switzerland by myself the switch went off: Someone Else is just not going to make it, she’s in demand! You have to do this alone.
God started preparing me for this opportunity since Ms Nel’s class when I was 17. I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass me by because of my fear of doing things alone! So even though I didn’t expect it, being alone in Switzerland was one of the best experiences of my life. Laughing and interacting with strangers was one of the things I enjoyed most about travelling by myself. I woke up every day and stepped out in faith – I didn’t know where the road would go each day but I was grateful to be there and knew that because I was alone, nothing that was for me could miss me. I was going to learn and it was the start of great things to come.
So hey there’s a cool hashtag to #solotravel but beyond the cool factor it’s a revelation that has come with time. It’s especially great because it happened this year when I turned 25. Like I said to Keno, 25 really teaches you a lot of things about yourself – you just have to be patient and know that everything that happens to you is preparing you for the greatness that is around the corner.