Monday, 23 March 2009

Do seamonkeys get itchy feet?

Seamonkey on a trip.

or fins, or paws, or mandibles, or appendage of choice.

I have always been an eager traveller. I started young, surviving two-day long road trips from Botswana to Durban from the age of 1.

And some of my best memories are of the bus trips I took from home in Durban to university in Cape Town. The trips lasted anything from 23 to 32 hours, depending on how many times the bus broke down.

I loved driving through the Karoo and feeling overwhelmed by the space and emptiness. The huge skies, the scrubby plants and lonely koppies, the tiny towns along the way. I always found myself wondering, what is it like to live in a tiny town in the middle of somplaceobscurewhere? What is it like to say you are from Bethlehem, or Zastron? It was another world for me.

Not so fun were getting cankles the size of Nigeria, and endless Leon Schuster movies on repeat. "I told you to go down but you deed not leesen". Lawdy. Digression.

I have always intended to travel. To backpack throughout the world, living in tents or hostels, staying as long as I liked, and then moving on to the next place as the whim took me.

The reality is that it is not that straight forward. Money is an issue. One that I underestimated when I came to the UK. I figured picking fruit on farms would provide the dough for me to see the world. How naive. The money barely covered my chocolate digestives in the UK. Although, I required quite a few of those, it must be said.

So I got a real job with real money. And now the issue is time. Leave is miniscule. I have had to become a tourist rather than a traveller, making short trips and skimming cultures rather than immersing myself in their mysterious ways.

Life never quite turns out how you planned it. Sometimes I feel I have sold out by living this boring grown up life. I could just set off right now and travel until my money runs out. But there is something holding me back, some fear of something that probably needs to be kicked in the balls. Some sense of insecurity. Because yeah, it is so much better to spend my money on a vacuum cleaner, a pot plant, a washing rack, fancy hair masques, super strong Toilet Duck, and double glazing. Oh yeah. Oh baby.

But I do it, I plod on, never exactly sure why. Because I think other people expect me to? Because I am scared I will end up jobless on the streets otherwise? Because I don't know what else I can do? Yes, yes, and yes again.

I have travelled far more than I ever thought possible when I was an 18 year old who had never really left Durban. Back then a trip to the beach was a once-yearly road trip. A road trip that took 15 minutes. We never went places much.

But I dream of so much more. I do my mundane responsible thing, always with a giant question mark floating over my head. ? Always with one eye on my backpack and my walking shoes.

Maybe one day.

P.S. And don't worry, I am not considering giving up my day job to become a Photoshop graphic designer or wotsit. Not juuuuuust yet.


Ches said...

Well done on the nomination Po. Hope you win, you deserve it!

po said...

Ches thanks so much.

Helen said...

The joy of zoology/ecology is that you get to travel a fair amount in order to work, and then your work involves being outdoors. But it gets frustrating to be tied down to anything, and I'm dying to get out and just drive until i feel like stopping!

acidicice said...

I myself am afraid of becoming a hobo or not being able to afford my current lifestyle (or a better one). I don't even want to move to a different job, nevermind to a different country.

It's not for sissies.

Being Brazen said...

CONGRATS on your nomination sea monkey Po - you rock!!!!

6000 said...

Hello, fellow finalist.

How long does your once yearly road trip to the beach take now? Is there anywhere further from the sea than RLS?

I think everyone gets itchy feet. I'm going to cure mine by hiring a cottage near the sea (Pringle Bay, nogal) until I can afford a cottage near the sea.

po said...

Helen: that is what I loved most about studying botany, unfortunately molecular biologists don't travel much further than the liquid nitrogen bottle.

acidice: I know, but maybe we should have more confidence in our abilities to come right!

BB thanks so much! I think your blog is one of the best personal and new blogs in SA. Seriously .Can't believe you arent in the top 10. Please know that we, the people who count, love your blog :)

6000: sigh yes. I dunno, about 3.5 hours min?

But strangely enough, I go to the beach more often now than I did in Durban, because I am in control instead of my parents.

Hmm, a cottage near the sea is my dream, but as my dad keeps saying to me, what about global warming?

redframe said...

Already voted for ya cause I wanted to. You had no influence so there! Congrats and good luck with the itchy feet. The grass is always greener: you live one ryanair (are they still airborne?) flight away from most anywhere in europe so shush! Go, fly, even if only weekend by weekend? Just saying...

po said...

redframe: unfortunately that is not true :(

I have been rejected schengen visas 3 times. I am too afraid to try again any time soon. It costs far too much money and I lose too much time off work. Europe is pretty much closed to me for now. Blegh.

But thanks for the vote!

Lady Fi said...

I have clicked your sexy dog tag! Now - where are my chocolate digestives and undying devotion?

Jeanne said...

Well done, fellow-nominee!! And good post. I go through phases of wanting to own a house and plant a tree and be there when the tree is taller than the house and to have some sense of permanence. And then other times I want to pack it all in, do something non-lucrative that I love and travel travel travel. It's a tough one.

I think in the end, my fear of being old and no longer able to work and having nothing and nowhere to live is what keeps me in formal employment!!

Being Brazen said...

Po - Thanks. I didnt really think i would be nominated. Maybe next year when i am cooler ;)

PS - you are sooo kind to offer to get me a twilight DVD (if UK has, though i dont know if they are out there yet). Seriously, thank you for being so kind *big hug* !!

nemesis said...

I knoe exactly what u mean, been planning a trip to Mozambique for 2 years now, u might have just inspired me to try Durban instead LOL

Miss T said...

I voted for you!

po said...

ladyfi: thank you thank you! You have my undying devotion, but the chocolate digestives stay with me. Mine, all mine!

Jeanne: yeah I have those feelings too, sometimes I wish I had a sense of permanence and could settle and get all cosy. and then I think about seeing India and China and South America and and.

BB: tis a pleasure. But pity that it is not out yet.

neoscribe: wow, no way, go to Mozambique, it looks all tropical and foreign and stuff. And they speak Portuguese!

Miss T: thanks hey!

Sean said...

Of topic, but worth checking out.

a video news report on the expat vote (filmed in New York City):


Anonymous said...

You know, if you don't stop making cracks about graphic designers I may be forced to vote for someone else for the bloggy awards. ;)

P.S. Sorry about the itchy feet. I know what you mean. I so desperately just want to go SOMEWHERE. Too bad a good foot soak won't solve wander lust...

po said...

But ~Iris chicken, the person I am having a crack at is me! I am mocking my ridiculous photoshopping skills. I figure my pics are so bad that they must at least be amusing?

Anonymous said...

Therein lies the great Travelling Catch 22 for me - there are a million places I would love to go, but the lack of funds and my South African passport are holding me back. So I do the mundane job thing in the hopes that one day I would have saved enough, but at the end of the day I'm just wasting time that could be better spent travelling somewhere!

po said...

quartercenturycrisis: I am in pretty much exactly the dame position. Plus all the fears thrown in for good measure.

Tamara said...

I hear you!

Having bought my house, I am now completely freaked out by having "roots" and responsibilities and absolutely desperate to go away somewhere else. Alas, I have NO money, NO work leave and NO chocloate digestive biscuits. Woe is me indeed.

As for going to the beach, we never went we lived in Durban either. Durban beaches are just not that awesome. But I miss them.

po said...

Tamara: the thing is I want all those things too! I clearly just want everything.

It is funny you say that about Durban beaches, I miss them so much now because they are the only places with warm sea and nice big waves. I looooove swimming in the sea and catching waves, and the Indian ocean is so powerful and amazing!

When I was there last I swam every day.

Cape Town beaches are stunning to look at...but swimming there sucks.