What happens when you announce to the people you know, and the world at large (once it's on Facebook it's everywhere) that you're going to do something unusual?
I'm very interested in psychology, non-verbal communication, face traits, psychometry, behaviours and in general people, so I'm a people watcher, even more interesting is what people tell you when they don't realise they're telling you.
Back to my annoucement quickly, I expected most people to tell me I had obviously hit menopause and lost my brain cells, and yet there must be something about me, as most people I've told, have been excited, interested and supportive. But like the rest of life there are those people who just can't abide seeing someone doing something out of the ordinary.
Let me state now, that my decision to drive home was one that was born out of me, my desires and my thoughts. I'm not doing it to impress anyone (there was a time when I really wasn't sure I was going to tell anyone I knew until I hit the road), I'm not doing it to be famous (never been interested in fame and didn't think anyone else would be interested in a 58 year old heading off into 'deep, dark Africa' on her own). I think it's important to state this, as most women have an inclination to do things for reasons other than their own (for partners, children, strangers) ... I'm not one of those women in this instance.
I've promised to bring you along on my journey and I've discovered that this journey looks to be an internal one as well as an external one, so if you're not into internal journeys, feel free to skip all the 'Thoughts' categorised blogs. I've just decided to record all of it for my own purposes as much as anything else.
'Wow', 'WoW', 'WOW', 'WooooW', 'really?', 'REALLY!', 'incredible', 'amazing', 'why don't you just fly like everyone else?', 'ALONE?', 'No?', 'NO!', 'seriously?', 'fantastic' ... it's been interesting to hear the first word(s) that people say when I tell them about my journey (I won't even start on the facial gestures :). The responses have told me a lot about what is likely to follow. Warnings of the dangers, excitement about the journey, questions about when it will start. Thankfully most of it has been positive and honest, some faking positivity (probably as they know I'm not interested in the negative) and the few being negative.
Also of note, that it's mostly been men who have been negative about this journey. Yet in my reading there are a number of men who have undertaken Europe to Cape Town adventures, some couples and yet I've only managed to find less than a handful of women who have done so on their own. So I've yet to ask whether the negative response has been because they think I'm a woman and couldn't possibly do it and succeed, or because they couldn't possibly do it and succeed ... Then there is the point that as a women I should be able, entitled to go where I want in the world.
Life isn't without it's challenges but again of note people who have discussed their concerns about my journey with others (not with me), who have found reasons and excuses to disappear after supporting them for years. I've found it to be a phenomenon that when you leave a place people fall into two categories - they want to stay in touch and do so (even liking a Facebook post or making a comment is all it takes) and those who feel that they must now make new friends and don't give you a second thought to move on. As I like to say, people show you who they are with their actions, words and deeds when they have nothing to gain.
So I've spent the week reviewing the past month since I've made my plans public - I'm a bit like an elephant, 'I see everything, I remember everything, I say little' - the unexpected friends who have been incredibly supportive, enthusiastic and going the extra mile to help me in this enormous undertaking (I'm comprehending daily and thankful for the support), the people who have faded into the mists of time and space with excuses and self-interest (despite my lack of self-interest when helping them), the gossips (may you live to see me succeed) and the nay-sayers and dream-stealers (not much to say to them as they are devoid of their own hopes and dreams).
It's been a bit of a passing parade the last few weeks with emotions both sad and exstatic, the 'weather' has been hot, cold, raining (on my parade), the occasional bolt (out of the blue), snowy and icy, a whole range of experiences. . My message is 'You have caused me to doubt, you have caused me to question, you have caused me heartache and you have made me joyful, hopeful and determined'. Thank you all, I have 'seen' you.
I have no doubt this will not be the end of the 'Oh Shit!' moments but they attest to the fact that I am alive, I am doing something that I will do and I am following my dream and my path.
Regrettably we can't get to the amazing in life without the fire. Man, it's going to be AMAZING :) !!!