It was around February 2015, that I started to embrace my love for travelling. Now I ‘just’ had to plan my trip. Looking back, this was not something I really did, therefore I am glad my first trip was more of a ‘vacation trip’, it wasn’t a big deal to go unplanned.I could always return if things would go wrong, whereas on my next trip, bad planning will be stupid and can even be dangerous. Planning is often required, but luckily on this trip I had my family. First I want to thank them for helping me plan, such as my sister’s input, making it easier to find people that take in volunteers. A bit of labor a day and you get to sleep in a bed with a filled tummy. This is incredibly handy if you’re planning on travelling low budget. I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go though, everything seemed appealing, it still does. After a short while, I came to the thought of chilling at the Bahama’s or work at a farm in Australia/New Zealand (The diversity :p ). I was looking for places mostly to come to peace and relax. I already told everyone about my thoughts, making them think my destination was set. I knew though, it wasn’t. Now I had to take a small break in my search for the location as I had reached the last few months of high school, May began and so did a ton of exams.
Then after a shitload of exams and stress, hoping I didn’t mess it all up, I went back to finish my planning. In these weeks of exams I had already changed my mind a few times; Asia took my notice (especially South-East), then Costa Rica, or Mexico, the list kinda kept going. Meaning that nobody was every certain where I’d go, as my plans changed almost weekly. It was halfway through June when it looked like I had made some plans I was actually sticking with. It was in Europe, as it was closer to home. I had made contact with people in Romania and Greece to stay and work at a camp and a hostel. Then I told my parents it was definitive and that I had even set a date: 20th of July. After a host changed her dates though, I decided, being impatient me, I might as well take this trip outside Europe. This meant the far-away continents were now back on the table again. So I started to send emails to hosts in lots of countries and in no time I had gotten positive responses from hosts in South-Africa. One from a backpackers in Jeffrey’s Bay and another from a household with a vegetable garden in suburb Randburg near Johannesburg. Of course I was extremely happy to have found these places and I was ready to go. Especially seeing I was only two weeks removed from the 20th, on which I still wanted to leave. I didn’t want to waste any time. Yet I knew I could not book my ticket yet, as I was going to hear if I had graduated or not in a week. I had no clue if I had done a great job or made a mess out of it. The stakes were high for me, I would not be able to pull myself through another whole year of school. Especially now that I had made my plans!
The final moments
A week later on the 11th I was sitting outside waiting for the phone call. I recall that my father was more nervous than I was. The first few hours I would hear from my friends who had failed their tests and I was trying to see if there was an alphabetical order per classes to rule myself out. In the meanwhile keeping a good eye on the time, because if it was after 2 pm, you were most likely to have passed exams. After a long nail-biting wait, the phone eventually rang at 2:30. My father had picked up and looked at me with a clueless look, hoping it was not a late caller. When I took the phone I heard it was my mentor, meaning it was good news. I was so happy, I had passed my exams and was able to start a new chapter in my life. I was finally clear to go and with this all stress left. A few visits to school later I booked my tickets a week before take-off. I had said goodbye to most of my family, but that was not the hardest part. The hardest part for me was on the day itself when I had to say goodbye to my nervous, tail wagging dogs. With a feeling of guilt I left to the airport, getting a lift from my parents. A long, exhausting flight was waiting for me.