Thursday, July 21, 2011


 I have been away from home for a long time. Five weeks. To me, that is a long time. Long enough that when I opened the door of my home and walked inside, and sniffed the air, it smelled different, not like me/us any more.

The cups and plates and cushions and other things were in different places and spaces and it felt like someone elses' house. It took me a while to settle back in.

Still, I was happy to be home. Very happy. My dogs were happy, one thinner, one fatter. They were both strangely subdued. And so was I.
It took me a few days to make one decision. And this was it.
Time to commit.

Commitment and I have a long history.
The thing is - I seem to do it. But actually I don't.

One of the first things we did when back in the Garden Route was to take a young nineteen year old Dutch boy bungy jumping.
He wanted to do it. He booked a jump as early in the morning as he could. He hesitated only because he did not understand the instructions to jump. They were in Afrikaans. And there was music playing. Loudly. Even we could hear it, from the viewing station across the gorge. He was on the curve of the arch beneath the bridge. The highest bungy jump in the world.
I suppose they play the music to help the jumper. Similar music is played in clubs in Amsterdam. Here it beat out along the fynbos covered ravine running beneath the bridge and out towards the river sky sea.

When he jumped I screamed. He, was silent. He said he was aware of the air rushing passed his ears. Silent.
That's commitment.
You make a decision and you do it.
No turning back.

I have moved over fifty two times since I was eighteen. I think that might be a world record.
My children have moved about fifteen times. They are grumpy about it - but I am not very sympathetic, really. I tend to hold the view that not moving and staying in one place is only the accepted thing because most Western people do it.

So I tell my children that they could have been the children of:
- the touareg (my daughter retorts that at least the tent would have stayed the same - and all your friends travel with you.. and the desert is the same just about, wherever you go...)
- yachties (same argument more or less, the same boat, the same sea...)
- the maasai, who have no respect for borders, but only for lions, and own nothing but a stick and some pretty impressive beadwork ( the retort to this, from my son, is that the masai have sold their souls for wristwatches and photograph money and would probably live in a house in a security complex these days, if they could..)
- circus people (a friend pointed out that maybe, to them, we ARE circus theres a thought - the juggling, tightrope walking, performing dogs, clowning....hhmmm)

But even circus people settle down eventually. Retire- to some caravan in a field where they let the grass grow up around its wheels. And yachties possibly throw the anchor one last time, or move into an upside down boat that they make into a home, maybe, complete with chimney. I'm not sure about the tuoareg, or the maasai, but their lifestyles are endangered and the lure of the west is getting to them too.
Which leaves us.

Moving is tiring, and the temptation to follow our noses over the next hill or beyond the next bend in the road is loosing its appeal.

Bungy jumping is expensive, but worth it I am told.
So here goes.
Lets stay!


  1. It will have to be a very big anchor!

  2. Aaaaargh! Don't want to throw anchor! But I am beginnning to think the only way to know anything is to commit to something.
    Loved the answers from your children to your examples of nomads.