For the last seven years I have been living in Sydney, Australia. At first, being an in-land South African, I was really not as taken by the beach as everyone else seemed to be. I mean you drive for ages to get there and then to make the effort worthwhile you sit for hours in the hot sun with sand stuck everywhere, sea salt making you itchy and sticky and on the rare occasion that you do go in the water (rare because, well, I suck at swimming, was consequently almost scared of the water as a child; and it’s like super cold) it’s super stressful trying to not be drowned by each coming wave while simultaneously trying not to get water in your eyes because it burns like hell.
So of course all of my new friends, and I mean all of them, had their birthday parties at the beach. Basically, I made a terrible Australian.
But in time I grew to love it, adore it, crave it. I still can’t swim to save my life (literally) but it became less scary and more of a release and relief as I grew up. There’s a freedom and a peace to it.
So when I found myself living for almost two months in a tiny city 3500m above sea level where the cold reigns King forever, working as a bartender until 2am and then going out in the cold to the girls’ and I’s choice club only to return at 4/5am.
Yes, I got a cold, yes I got bronchitis and yes I had to spend two days in the hospital because it was on the verge on pneumonia. And yes, even though I enjoyed it deeply, by the end, the sun and sea were calling to me.
I joined Christian and we set on the road towards the Carribbean coast of Colombia. It took us almost three months to reach it but we finally did.
Christian, a land-locked German told me that he’s never met anyone with such an endurance to stay in the water. I told him he’s never met an Australian. He told me he’s looking at one. I guess the Aussies must’ve rubbed off on me.
So at least I’m home again. And I may have crossed an ocean and then a continent to get there, but I’m there.