3 years ago on the 9th of April, I drove into Cape Town to embark on my new adventure. I can’t quite believe it’s been 3 years already! I’m so happy that it turned into one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Cape Town has been the best thing for me. I am a happier person, a healthier person and if I could sum it up in a word, that word would be content.
Moving, however, has been one of the hardest, most exciting, exhilarating, scary, vulnerable things I’ve ever done. Voices of: “Oh God Bailey! What are you doing? Have you really thought this through?” to “You champion! Do it! You’ve thought it through enough! Make your soul happy!”
I’ve learned so much about myself and I definitely feel this has been an incredible journey for me. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.
1.) I really had to be independent. No more “dress rehearsals.”
Admittedly, I always thought I had been independent, even when I was living in the same city as my family. However, I took for granted the comfort zone I was in and the safety blanket of knowing that mom, dad, my sister and my best friends are all around the corner if something happened, like a flat tyre or needing help with something. In the beginning before you form your own friends, you only have yourself to rely on.2.) Feeling alone in a crowd (in the beginning.)
When I moved to a Cape Town, I didn’t really know anyone, other than Sox, a few of his friends and a few acquaintances. It’s weird to be in a city surrounded by people, but no-one that truly knows you or has a history with you. The people you’re around are all close-knit, have history together and in a strange hard to explain way, it’s an excluding feeling. Not by any fault of anyones… I just didn’t have anyone here that knew my story or what I’d been through. No one really had any stories with me (yet.)
Obviously, that’s changed in the 3 years of living here, but in the beginning it’s a strange feeling to feel alone in a crowd. It allows you to really get comfortable in your own skin and enjoy your own company.3.) Relationships with your family and friends grow stronger, but some fade too.
It really shows you how some friendships and bonds get stronger when there is distance and how some fade away. I took for granted how easy it was to pop over to my Mom and Dad for a dinner or a cup of tea; or meeting my best friends if not daily, then at least a few times a week. With distance, I tend to make even more effort now and treasure the relationships I do have. Whenever I go back to Johannesburg, it’s quality time that I spend with everyone and I don’t take it for granted anymore.
4.) Having to build up a network and clients from scratch.
It’s not easy at all to be right back at the very beginning, unsure of how people do business here, because it is so different, figuring out who is trustworthy and so on.
It’s also not as difficult as you think, either.
5.) I’m resilient…
I really can do anything I put my mind to and that’s a relief to know. Strangely, you won’t know this until you are pushed to your limits, moved out of your comfort zone, thrown in the deep end… You get the idea.
6.) You cannot expect to change the city… you have to adjust.
So many people think they will come to Cape Town and change the way things are. I’m sorry, but it’s just not true. I used to joke that while Cape Town “slept”, I would come in and seize the opportunities.
All Joburgers are nodding their heads rights now and all Capetonians are having a little chuckle.
It’s a classic case of FIFO, which bluntly means “Fit in or f*#@ off.” There is merit to the way Capetonians do things though and in the beginning I was so frustrated with the… yes, I’m saying it… the slowness, the lack of communications and the laxydazy ways, but their quality of life is second to none, things do get done but without the stress of being in a rat race. There is also not as much traffic (although lately that seems to be changing) and you don’t spend hours in the traffic, like I used to in Joburg, so I actually get a lot more done during the day. Where a 1 hour traffic journey to a meeting now takes me 15 minutes to arrive, I can get more meetings done in a day, for example. 7.) Listen to your gut and trust it.
We have this amazing thing called intuition but we don’t always listen to it. We don’t listen partly because of our own fear or perhaps it’s not what we want to hear, so we push it away. When you take some quiet time to really listen and you feel at peace with the decision (even if it’s hard), that’s when you know that it’s the right call.