A new beginning and the next chapter ...

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 08, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Sunday, April 17, 2011

After endless months of deliberating my life circumstances and situation in the UAE, I finally made up my mind as I sat on a hostel balcony in Mumbai, watching the endless honking stream of traffic below me, mulling over my last few days holiday in India. After two and a half years working for a weekly magazine in Abu Dhabi and living in Dubai, I was quitting and going travelling.

I had come out to the UAE knowing embarassingly little about the country, except for the information scrolled through on Wikipedia. I joined a small, incredibly motivational team and together, with a fair few seven-day weeks, disturbingly late office hours and some blood, sweat and tears along the way, we launched the weekly community title in November of 2008. The experience has been of the once-in-a-lifetime kind. It's naturally come with highs and lows, but all in all, its certainly been unforgettable.

So why leave?

I very quickly felt that the UAE wasn't home. Abu Dhabi is a fascinating city with sustainable progress planned for the future. Dubai is home to impressive buildings and er, well, that. I miss culture, history, and the feeling that everything isn't judged on your home, handbag and Friday-brunch hangout. Despite really not doing very well in geography at school, the world map has always fascinated me, and I've always wanted the opportunity to travel. There's a very good reason travel journalism is so competitive. If I can't get paid for it, then I can at least settle for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the kind that I know my own parents won't have experienced, and the kind that not many people do get to experience.

I wonder if I'm foolish for leaving a stable and steady environment, but no one grows from staying well within their comfort zones. So from resigning, I've had six weeks to plan the unknown, a adapt-as-I-go itinerary that will be starting in South Africa for eleven weeks; my first six nights in Johannesburg, six weeks volunteering for a wildlife project just below Swaziland and three more weeks trying to cover as much ground as possible, leaving for China from Cape Town. I'm scared and nervous yes, sad too, but overall excited. I have no idea what to expect from my travels, or where I'll end up at the end of it. But no one has a good story to tell from sitting still and safe and as I writer I don't know the outcome before the end of the first chapter. That's perhaps the most terrifying and equally exciting part.
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Kate Gudgioni on

I'd like to think that your sitting on the balcony in mumbai, patiently waiting for me to finish my siesta made all this happen

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