Our experience in South Africa was tangled with everything you would expect to feel when you find out your are pregnant for the first time. We arrived in Cape Town, on this far away tip of Africa, and had so many things to be in awe of. Firstly, where we had arrived geographically, was hard to wrap our heads around, and what we experienced while were there – the people, the collision of cultures, the tension between the black and white – stood out starkly to stare us in our faces. Secondly, we were diving into a new world full of so many things unknown, and had to run with the idea that we were slowly our own way to becoming parents.
At first it was hard to understand that this was actually happening to us, that this experience would be tangible, and that everything surrounding the idea was full and real. Could this really be happening to me? Am I ready to embrace this dive into womanhood? It felt as if we were dancing between being joyful and excited, overwhelmed and fearful, and in-disbelief and udder bewilderment. A swirling and colliding sea of emotions and thoughts were rolling in over our heads. And here we were, seemingly on the bottom of the world, in this crazy and foreign country, left to figure out what to do next.
For the most part, it was extremely exciting. We played with so many ideas of where we could go to birth and to start this descent into living as a small family. But on the other hand, we had to consider the pragmatic aspects of being travellers seeking refuge in host countries around the world. It was painful to have dreamt up so many beautiful and thoughtful ideas about how we could live abroad and contribute in meaningful ways, only to have immigration and visa policies restrict us from being anything other than just tourists. What we needed was slowly changing. We had to find a place to settle while still being true to what we valued and appreciated in our lifestyles.
With so much to think about, the Western Cape affords us an unlimited array of natural beauty to marvel and get lost in. It’s landscape was vast and unfolding with endless mountain ranges, deep wide valleys, flora that was lush green and flourishing, or, tough, dry, and brilliant. On one side of the Cape we had the wild and freezing Atlantic Ocean, and on the other roared the Indian. We spent most of our time volunteering in the middle of a beautiful and unspoiled nature reserve, where sat a collection of guesthouses at Porcupine Hills. We were kilometres away from small towns in every direction, the nights were clear with starry skies and endless shooting stars, and a wide flowing river ran through the middle of this farm that gave us the purest spring water to be refreshed by.
It seemed as if we had found exactly the right place to let all of this ‘newness’ sink in. We were surrounded by uninterrupted nature, warm and friendly company, and the guidance and wisdom of the most outstanding women, mothers, doulas, and midwives. Outside of our time spent on the farm we took a few adventures to explore the truly vast and spectacular wilderness around us. We drove along the coast to cosy beaches, magical and serene valleys of jungle and wildlife, foggy lagoons full of birds and cranes in all colours, and into the mountains with high rocky waterfalls.
In a way, I couldn’t imagine falling into the experience of being pregnant without having been surrounded by the people and places we were. Everyone was so warm and welcoming to us, which was such a treasure in being so far from close friends and family. Robyn Sheldon, author and founder of Mama Bamba, was there for us in unsurmountable ways. She helped us to connect with our own experiences of being pregnant, with the soul of our unborn child, gave us guidance and advice, and was an all around joy to be around. Our hosts at Porcupine Hills, Tony and Cha, were so helpful in giving us a place to stay, a space to explore and give back to, and were so inspiring to our shared vision of creating a place to call a home. Looking back at our time spent in this country, it is the friendships with the people we met I cherish and miss the most.
Now that our journey has continued past South Africa, and we have gotten closer to our due date, we have really settled into this experience thanks to how well we were treated in the Western Cape. The fear, nervousness, and disbelief we initially felt have all dissolved into an embrace and love for where we are in our lives. I feel so blessed to be on the journey I am on, and cherish deeply the growing energy and connection I feel to this growing seed inside of me. I feel completely full, happy, grounded, and in peace.
It is an amazing to think of how this whole journey has unfolded to place me exactly where I am now. When I started my travelling I was so eager and bursting with curiosity, and I was out to follow a path that was honest and heart-led. I let love come into my life and trusted it enough to bless me with such a beautiful gift and the opportunity to give that love and purity back to the world in the most meaningful way. I cannot wait to continue my adventure as a mother, and look forward to seeing this life from a completely new perspective – from the eyes of a child.
So where do we go from here? Coupling our changing priorities with a still thriving zest for life and desire to maintain our integrity? I am writing this post today from the tea plantations of Munnar in Kerala, India! A place full of the twisting of culture and history, nature and agricultural demand, beauty and despair, and religion and lifestyle. Not a place we will settle for the next precious moments we are anticipating to experience, but on the way there. In a few days we fly out from Asia and continue this journey towards the Pacific Ocean. In following this route, my adventure will soon have taken me completely around the world. We have a three week journey in Australia awaiting us, a short visit to Hawaii, and then land in California at the end of April.
After a reunion with friends in Grass Valley, we plan to move on up to the western coast of Canada to British Columbia. Growing up in the Maritimes, I never got the opportunity to see our beautiful west coast, and I am so looking forward to being there and to start this next chapter of our lives – still exploring, but more settled, still refreshed by things anew, but secure. I can feel the hum of love and positivity that lay ahead, and can feel I am still following my heart.