Remember that South African girl that went to Israel to find herself. With no plan and a tent on her back. She hiked around the sea of Galilee, slept on either side of the Jordan river. Hiked in the desert.
I hardly remember her.
It feels like a different lifetime.
The adventure, the blisters on my feet, the depression, the laughs, the trees and the smells. It all seems like a lifetime ago.
I was so lost and confused I thought – but I was just me all along. I never lost myself. I just discovered new fragments of myself. I just learned and I suffered and I cried in ways I didn’t imagine possible. Not crying tears, but literally crying in my soul.
But I left all the horrors there.
My last night in the desert – I left all that horror and that pain and fear in the Rhamakesh crater at Mitzpe Ramon. I left it all behind.
Came back to the farm today. Going back home tomorrow and looking forward to it.
Spoke to A on the phone and he said it was so nice to hear my voice again and it was amazing to hear his. His words ‘we’re never going away without each other again, its such a nightmare, I miss you too much’. How adorable – I’m grinning like a fool.
I cannot wait to see him.
I’m so excited!
Took us 12 hours today to get from Namibia down to Kang in Botswana where we spending the night and then home in the morning.
Made the most delicious dinner with my mom and dad 🙂
Amzing end to the holiday!
We went to have dinner in the veld this evening and it was roaring – literally!
On our way we passed this guy (photographed above) and his brother – and little did we know that e would meet again…
We started the fire, put out our camping chairs and the gin and tonics were flowing. Its our last night here so we all left the lodge for a little quiet time.
Laughing and chatting – the elephants were drinking at the water merely 15metres away from us and the sun was setting. It was picturesque.
Then there was a roar.
My dad and his friend concluded that the raw was still miles away and we had at least 30 minutes or so until they even near us. So we continued dipping the most fantastic freshly baked bread into olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Laughing and joking about how the lions were close and we might land up just eating the bread in the car. So we put the meat on the fire, lamb chops and chicken kebabs and we pour more drinks.
Then there was a roar.
‘Ok, no, I’m getting into the car – that thing is close’ I said shaking my head and picked up my drink.
‘I’m coming with you’ my mom said hurriedly and followed me while the rest were laughing.
Not a minute later and the other three were in the car with us and the roars got louder and louder. We drove around a little – meat still on the fire – and stumbled across the two male lions that were wandering around, probably a mere kilometre from our dinner.
Helped my dad all day with the water pump and filtering and so on.
It is so hot here – I literally stick my head under a tap every hour to wet my hair and cool me down. There are times where I want to throw a toddler tantrum – thats how hot it is.
Elephants LOVE! Saw lots of babies but was too difficult to take nice pictures 😦
So we’re in Namibia and its so hot I feel as if I could melt.
The lodge is absolutely incredible. It’s own by a family friend – he has been friends with my parents since they were about 20 or so and I therefore have known him my whole life. He’s one of my many dads 🙂
We are welcomed with iced tea and shown to our rooms which are massive. The room is twice the size of my house and the bath is incredible, I could swim laps in it.
There adorable hippos swimming in th river right in front of my room 🙂
Now I miss A and I would give anything to have him here with me 😦
We just spent 12 hours in the car!
Driving from South Africa through Botswana and tomorrow we get to Namibia.
Tonight we staying at a lodge called ‘Guma Lagoon’ outside Gumar, in Botswana. Its on the Okavango delta and its absolutely magnificent.
Are you waving or are you cresting? I did mushrooms for the first time ever on Friday night all the way through to Saturday morning and it was incredible!Like seriously on of the most fun nights of my life. I did them with A and a bunch of his friends and it was fabulous.
What was the best though was lying in the tent with A chatting for four hours because we couldn’t sleep. We spoke about so many things – our childhoods, our dreams, our relationship.
And we just lay chatting and kissing and making out like teenagers – it was so special. Being in his arms and just chatting and kissing passionately.
For me – I was 26 years old and it was in January this year in Istanbul, Turkey.
And it was magic.
The day that I touched down in Istanbul, Ataturk airport at 05:55am on a Tuesday morning. I will never ever forget it.
I had no plan, just booked into a hotel and walked through the city. My hair soaked, my clothes soaked and by the end of the day even my socks were sopping wet and I had to land up buying more long sleeve shirts because I was not prepared.
I grew up on a farm, in the heat. And snow has always been such a foreign concept to me. Until today I still have never seen snow that is really deep and really thick. But I saw some snow in Istanbul and I will never ever forget that day.
It will always remain one of the happiest days of my life 🙂
I had to go to Israel because I had to do it for me. The woman as well as the little girl inside me needed to go. I needed to get away from the hurt and the pain that was haunting me. I needed to be alone and to fend for myself and fight for myself and be wild and free. I needed to make a new identity and I needed to be free to be who ever the hell I wanted to be and I had to start again.
Ironically who I needed to be was me, I didn’t even change and I didn’t even try to start over. Through the mountains and the waterfalls and the desert it was still me. It was still Danielle with her past and her fears and her dreams and I didn’t pretend to be anyone else.
I had to go because I had to find myself.
Little did I know that I had been with myself all this time. I knew and I know who I am. Maybe tiny fragments got lost and pieces fell away and there were new facets to my being that were growing. But I was still myself during it all.
That is why I had to go. Because I would never have learned that it had been me all along.
I would never have realised that I was in fact the strong woman that left an abusive marriage and I would never have recognised the compassion and the hope I have for people. Things like love and family wouldn’t have become my everything, the need to be a mother would never have made itself so apparent had I not run far far away from it all. My relationships have been strengthened and I feel the beauty of nature on my skin every day now and the sparkles in animals eyes.
There is a fire burning in my heart now. A fire so strong that it will never be put out. Perhaps that is why I had to be stripped bare and thrown into the wild. Perhaps I needed to learn my own strength. Only once I was forced to question every corner of my existence, my morals and my choices, and only when I was threatened with unbearable pain and abandonment would my true fire start to burn.
Perhaps that is why it all happened and that is why I had to leave the city that I was born in and I had to run far away and grow on my own.
Now its all in the past and theres a fire burning in my heart and my soul. Now all that remains are those memories that I left on the top of a mountain in the Golan Heights in Israel while looking over the beautiful landscapes of Syria. Thats where I left it all, in the calm of the valleys when hiking along the Jordan river.
All there is left to do now is freely be myself no matter how much that girl was judged and tortured, in the end, she is all I have.