Asides / Before

The downsides of leaving

Tick tock, 63 days to go. Reasons to not leave pop into my mind more regularly now. With big life changes happening to those close to me, my mantra has had to be: “There will always be a reason to stay.” I saw a beautiful tweet yesterday: “Simply stated, there are but two defining moments in life: right now, and it’s too fucking late.”

Having bought the ticket for the ride (thanks Bill Hicks), all I can do now is bite the bullet and repeat, “There would always have been reasons to stay.” Here are a few of them.

Huge life events

My best friend and my favourite cousin are getting married next year. My only sister may be having a baby. I know there’ll be more pregnancies, engagements, gigs, career highs, fabulous nights out, magic memories, music festivals, and I won’t be there.

I’m leaving my bitches behind.

My one true love, Claire.

My super-rad parentals.

My amazing, patient, loving, cool, funny, fabulous, compassionate, kind sister.

I’m missing my gorgeous cousin’s nuptials.

I’m missing my gorgeous Celeste’s wedding.

And old friends

And so many new ones.

When I start listing the peeps I will miss the most one thing is clear: I have been blessed with incredible friends and family. Somewhere along the line I must have done something right …

There’s no reason for me to worry that they’ll forget about me while I’m gone (as if I’d ever let that happen), and no reason for them to worry that I’ll forget them.

“Your career”

I have been equally blessed in my career. I got a lucky break back in 2006 when, based on nothing but a copy test, I landed a job at Glamour magazine (Caithlin!). I had zero experience at the time. This is where I learnt everything I know about magazines, fashion and copy editing, and I made life-long friends too (Caithlin!!).

I moved on to New Media Publishing, where I stayed for a record-breaking two-and-a-half years. I worked on a number of publications but was most fortunate to sharpen my travel-writing skills with Sarah at Juice magazine, and get a foot in the online door with Stefania’s Eat In e-newsletters.

My high school drama teacher, Tara, found me on Twitter in 2010 and offered me a job at her digital agency, Flow Communications. Once again I am struck by the importance of solid, life-long connections based on mutual respect and genuine like. People drift apart and back together for no discernable reason other than, I guess, entropic serendipity (serendipitous entropy?).

My work at Flow led me to another major influencer in my life, the Two Oceans Aquarium. I can’t overstate the impact that this place made; it quite literally changed my life. I’m a scuba diver now. I am passionate about ocean conservation and the credit lies firmly and solely with this group of amazing people. I understand the purpose of my next 10 years now. Beyond marine matters, I made invaluable friends here – Helen, Renee, Amina, Alichia, Hayley, Katja – and came into contact with worthy role models – every one of Dr Pat’s team has galvanised me in some way.

When I worked on the 8th International Aquarium Congress in September 2012, my mission became clear: to join this passionate, committed, down-to-earth global community of educators, campaigners and ocean lovers to help create a planet where sustainability, love and understanding of the seas are a cornerstone of all governments, companies and individuals. The time to act is now.

Some people question the wisdom of taking a break from work at what to an outsider must seem like the height of my career in media. To those who are concerned, I say: this trip is a giant leap towards a career that makes a difference, not just money.


If you know me, you know my atrocious track record when it comes to relationships. Abominable, really.

This year, I met someone who took me by surprise: the only way I can describe it is that we are the same person. I booked my ticket pretty much the day after I met him, because “there will always be a reason to stay”. I couldn’t allow the promise of love to hold me back from the big dream. My impending departure meant we had to make a decision: stay together and grow close, only to suffer the consequences in January; or, break up still in like with each other and avoid the inevitable fighting and frustration that my leaving would create. Without saying the words, we went for the latter. We had two amazing months together and then we both just walked away.

I still think about the “what ifs” a lot but on the plus side, this is the first breakup I have ever had where there was no aggression, no fighting, no hate. We don’t despise each other. We still care about each other . We wish each other the best and look out for each other, albeit from a distance. Personal growth FTW. Thank you, Rhoan. Your curiosity about life and effortless understanding of me are unique.

I don’t believe in much, but I do believe in the wisdom of “let it be”. You can’t force things. Love doesn’t blossom when the people involved have to make massive compromises. Love is freedom. Love is letting go. The test doesn’t lie in two passionate months together. The test is two years, seven years, 20 or more.

I’m reminded of this whenever I run into someone from my past and experience the joy and love and happiness in that moment. This has happened to me a few times over the last few months. I ran into my first-ever boyfriend Barrie by chance and we had the most wonderful catch-up session, with nothing but affection for each other. Then, a group of gents whom I hadn’t seen in six or more years walked into a club where I was working. Again, it was the happiest occasion. All past hurts were forgotten; the simple joy of being reacquainted by chance with Winton, Michael, Clyde and Derick was overwhelming.

People tend to invest a lot of meaning in the status quo, in staying stable, in controlling life (I am very guilty of this). For me, South America is about outgrowing the fear of change and about growing into a love of fluke. People come and go (and come again) into our lives. Very little we do can determine with whom, when and how that happens.

Bon Jovi

I am missing Bon fucking Jovi in South Africa next year! Curses!

As randomness would have it this, too, has an upside.


7 thoughts on “The downsides of leaving

  1. Pingback: It’s just a ride | cape/caracas

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