This travel blog update is my way of taking you on this journey with me. To start from the beginning and find out what the adventure is all about, click here.
So I think it goes without saying that monthly updates were a little ambitious. Let’s agree to disagree on ‘two monthly’ (ish) ones 🙂
June and July have been funny old months. On the surface not much appears to have changed; we are still on the farm outside Cape Town. The boy is still working on various projects here. Girl Dog is still loving farm life and ruling the roost. She has found the weakest link on the farm and knows that if she lets herself into that cottage, she has dinner cooked especially for her!
I am still working from my computer, blogging, writing and Global Handprint-ing. Well, kind of.
Having spent 18 months focusing on Global Handprints, investing time, love energy, passion and of course money, I had to sit back and re-evaluate. I have learned a lot, both from the social enterprise world but also from blogging and, most recently, freelancing. Frustratingly, the enterprise hasn’t got where I want it to be, yet, and although I know what I need to do to get on the right track, right now, I can’t focus on that and on me.
For now, I need to focus on what I need and want from life, my personal goals, both short and long term. Although I know I want Global Handprints to be a part of that, I also have personal needs to meet, namely having an income and some form of consistency. I have recently admitted to myself that I want to be location independent, and part of what comes with that is inconsistency. So I need to find a way to have consistency in an inconsistent lifestyle. See where my confusion comes in? I have decided to focus on one thing, to invest in myself. To do something I am good at to generate an income therefore build a personal base. From that I can then return my attention to Global Handprints.
So, in the last few weeks I have come to the decision to put energy purely into my online work; content writing, social media content management and web design. This decision has has left me being labeled as a Freelancer. A Freelancer rather than someone who is ‘establishing a social enterprise that provides volunteer placements at grass roots level projects in rural South Africa.’ Ian not sure how it sits right now but it is definitely less of a mouthful!
In doing this I am feeling a little lost; I have lost a sense of myself, and my identity. For those who know me well, I have always been involved in education, volunteering, ‘doing good’ and aiming to change the world. To now be a writer / web designer is a huge shift in mentality. To be honest, it is one I am struggling with. The decision has left me feeling out of sorts. I have spent so much time, energy, passion and brainpower on it, I feel like it’s a part of me. Global Handprints sums up everything I am passionate about. To purposefully decide to stop doing that, even temporarily makes me feel incomplete. Like now I don’t really know what I am doing. I know deep down I need to focus on me.
Despite not having been in a classroom for years, I don’t think I can ever fully move away from being a teacher. Or fully ignore my passion and enthusiasm that lies with the volunteer ‘industry’. But now, I am suddenly mixing (online) with digital nomads and freelancers who are so aligned with the services they offer, it’s hard to feel able to compete when I don’t yet feel like this is me.
A lot goes on behind the scenes in freelancing; networking, constantly putting yourself out there for projects, learning new skills, practicing them, finding a way to present them. It’s endless. And that is all just to get work! Again, those who know me also know I love a challenge (“of course I will take the job in South Africa, it will be a challenge if nothing else”) so I am throwing myself into this new role and loving the freedom it is giving me. However as much as I really try, I struggle with no structure at all. My days vary from being overly productive from 5am to midnight getting all sorts of work done on the various projects I have taken on, to not even opening my laptop and spending the day knitting! I am not accountable to anyone for my time which can be great. But it can also be hard to then get focused and get things crossed off a ‘to do list’ if there’s no one else looking at that to do list and hassling you for things!
After our trip to Vietnam, I knew I could only be in South Africa for 90 days and therefore had an outbound flight booked in order to be allowed to come back in. So since being back, I have been on an extended countdown to going home. I love going home and get all sorts of excited about seeing everyone. However, this time, with everything else going on, the lead up to it is feeling unsettling and stressful. I haven’t been able to fully commit to life here because I am leaving it for an unknown period of time. But then, when I am home, I will find it hard to fully commit to life there, as I know I am leaving again.
Between all the ups and downs and long hard thinking sessions, one thing the boy and I know is a vague end goal. We would love to have a community upliftment centre / backpackers / bar / event space. Where that will be, we have no idea. However because this is constantly at the back of our minds, when opportunities present themselves, we go with them. Last month we visited a business property that seemed like an awesome opportunity. We put together business plans, approached people for funding and generally got totally carried away with the idea. Frustratingly, the owners sold the day before out final investment meeting (which had a positive outcome).
But, you know what they say; “everything happens for a reason” and it was only a few days later that a possible opportunity in Botswana came up…
And heading out to look at the business opportunity meant we got out of the ‘city’ (farm life isn’t really city life but you know,) and explored Route 62. The is apparently the world’s longest wine route…need I say more? 🙂 On our way back we spent a few days back in Pringle Bay. Despite it being winter, the beaches are still beautiful and the place feels like home.
So, right now, I don’t really know where we are headed or what the path there will entail. But I know what I need to focus on for me, for now. And that was the point of this, when I set off a year ago to be a Princess In A Caravan. Right?