As our journey comes to an end, our emotions are all over the place. Reflection of a life-changing adventure and choice of life for 18 months. Excitement, intrigue and trepidation of what lies ahead. A family of four that broke free of the suburban shackles and headed into the unknown with a one-way ticket to freedom. Read our individual accounts of what the journey meant to us all. This time its Tiana’s turn to regale her story.
When my parents told us that we were going traveling for a year, it felt like it would be a lifetime. I was very sad and knew I was really going to miss my school, friends, pets and family.
At the airport in Borneo I felt scared as I wasn’t used to anything about Asia. Our first night away was a struggle because of the time difference and heat, I was worried we would never get used to it. I wasn’t used to the different surroundings and homeschooling but as our travels went on, it all got a lot easier.
During our trip Mom and Dad liked to go out sightseeing but sometimes this got a bit tiring and boring for me – a lot of cathedrals, temples and shrines all looked the same to me. We did do some lovely hikes though, and even though I moaned, they were still fun. My favourite hike was a 4 day/3night hike to Machu Pichu in Peru.
As part of our travels we did 7 volunteering projects, most of which were with animals- these were my favorite parts of travelling. Whilst working we also got to meet lots of different people which I really enjoyed. I particularly loved working on the turtle conservation project on an island off the east coast of Malaysia, and also living with a Japanese family in Nagoya learning about their culture and tradition.
We met, and then traveled with a family from England who had kids similar ages to Rico and I, and also met other children while we were in Chiang Mai at a World Schooling summit. It was great to relate to each other’s stories as we were all experiencing similar feelings.
Whilst traveling, one of the greatest lessons I learned, was that sometimes the less you have the happier you can be. I saw this in a small barrio in Colombia where we volunteered with children from poor backgrounds. The people came from very little but were always smiling, happy and generous.
I used to be scared of going into poor areas because there were lots of vagrants and people living on the streets but through our travels we stayed and worked in many underprivileged areas and I am no longer scared and now realize how silly I was. Just because people don’t have a nice house and live on the streets doesn’t mean they are dangerous, just unfortunate. I really enjoyed meeting new people and learning all about them and their backgrounds.
In Colombia we saw lots of Venezuelan immigrants on the side of the roads trying to sell wallets and origami paper ships made out of their money because the currency was worthless. This made me feel very sad as many of them had small children and nowhere to go. I also felt very grateful for what I have.
Throughout our travels I have changed mentally, I have learned how to be confident with new people, new places and respect all the different cultures we have learnt about.
When I get older I want to help people and animals who have been through a hard time
Coming back to Cape Town is exciting but I am a little worried about going back to school next year and fitting back in.
I found that my family and I are a lot closer and I hope that when we settle back in we will still be as close.
When I look back at this journey I think of how privileged I am with respect to having the chance to travel. I will miss the freedom and new places.