Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step into the world with only a suitcase and a passport? How would it feel to quit your life? Everything about your life? Your marriage, your job, your home, your stuff.
This little book takes you on a journey of self-discovery, weaving between dreams and reality. From meerkat encounters in Namibia to the streets of London, from small towns in South Africa to snowy Chicago Winters. It tells of stories and of people, both real and imagined.
Laurika gives us a glimpse inside the mind of a woman on a journey to discover what it means to be free. She shares her most intimate moments of despair, but also shows us the mysterious joy that comes when you accept yourself exactly as you are.
A Dreamer’s Life, available on Amazon, is a disarmingly honest and ripples with passion, melancholy, humility and gratitude.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It was today, exactly two years ago, that I began my driving journey through South Africa. When I think back to those six months I can hardly believe that it was me, that I was brave enough to do that. No job, no security, no planning, just wake up in the morning and decide where I’m going to go and find a place to sleep when I get there.
After my journey I went back to London back to work. I lasted nine months. And I realised that the life I wanted was the life I had on the road. The one where I can wake up in the morning and not know what will happen that day. The one where I can do exactly what I feel like and not worry if it will succeed or fail because there is no one judging.
So I did it again. I quit. It seems to be a recurring thing here right? This quitting business. I think it isn’t so much quitting in a negative way, but in a good way. Quitting things that no longer feels right in my life. Selfish? Maybe. But aren’t we all allowed to be selfish to be the masters of our lives? Isn’t that why we are here. To become who we are meant to be?
And that brings me to the now. Now I’m in Sweden. I’ve been here for six months. I rent a room from by best friend, who is also the one I love. We share our dreams and we talk about creativity and life. I travel when that itch starts and I come back again.
I write and I paint and I make magicK charms from things I find when I go for walks. Things like little stones and seashells and small sticks that had fallen from trees.
My life now is more. I feel more. It feels like I’ve never been closer to nature, to life, than I have these past two years. I believe that this is all we really need to do in life. Allow ourselves to be who we know we really are inside. Not keep it locked down and only take it out at night when no one can see us. Show the world who you are. Don’t hide it.
Because once those two things are in sync, your inside and your outside world, then even when life throws you curve balls or tornadoes, you will still feel like yourself, you will still cope, because you have accepted who you are.
[written on 6 September 2014]
My journey is at an end. I’m sitting at Oliver Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg and I feel like a very different person to the one that arrived in South Africa almost six months ago to the day.
I took many turns along the way. there were little side roads and straight roads and rough patches with potholes and easy riding tarred ones and ones with loose sand where my wheels got stuck.
Now that is at an end and I look back I realise that I have changed. Not that what makes me me, no the external things. How I dress, how I talk about things, how I feel about life. These things are different. But I am still me, maybe I am more me now than I have ever been before. Maybe now I see myself without blinkers.
I am happy too if you are interested reader. I feel like I can face the challenges life will throw my way. I am heading back to the North.
I’ve spent these last few days in South Africa contemplating and visiting with my mom. I’ve prepared myself mentally for always on electricity and baths filled to the top with hot hot water and unlimited high speed Internet. I can leave the flat at midnight and walk down the street – by myself.
I will miss this place though. I will miss the big open spaces that goes on forever and the way the light shines here. And the night sky that is filled with millions of stars. I will miss these things.
I guess we always miss something. Our souls keep the things we love inside of us. Our souls keep it alive and we can take it out on days when we long for it. We can take it out and turn it over and hold the dreams and the memories. And we don’t have to feel bad or like we failed in the lives that have passed. No, we can feel these memories and be like wow we lived. We lived them we survived them. We made happy memories and we can think back at them with maybe a nostalgic feeling.
All my actions and all my experiences made me who I am now and none of them were wasted. If I remember that, then I am way more free to just live and risk and feel. Because in the end it is worth it. Every second of life is worth it.
A few days ago I passed the halfway mark of this amazing journey I’m on. Halfway through the six months. In some ways it feels like I just landed a few days ago and others it feels like I have been here forever. When you reach some sort of a milestone you usually take a look at where you are heading and I am no different. I took a long good look at myself and my stocktaking led to some conclusions.
The biggest one? I still don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. But I do know how I feel. I wake in the morning and I feel right on my inside. Of course there are days when all I want to do is crawl under the nearest rock and just curl up there and hide. But I discovered that is part of me. It is okay to not always be happy. It is okay to shout at the world. It is okay to feel sad. There is nothing wrong with these feelings. So in a way I guess it meant that I have accepted myself. More honestly accept myself, for who I am. No hiding behind little sweet words and smiles. It is just me now.
Part of this stocktaking also made me realise that this life I have now, just writing everyday, no matter whether it gets published or read, this is what I want to do. This is how I want my life to be. I met an amazing artist recently and she has this outlook on life that speaks to me in some way. Live life without worrying about it. Be free. Trust that you will be taken care of. Now for my control freak mind that would have been a total no go zone a few months ago. But have I not been doing exactly that for three months now? Have I not gotten in my car with no idea of where I am going, just a general direction and every night I have had a safe bed to sleep in? Every time I think shit I don’t know which way I’m going to go now to get out of this, some door opens and wham it is sorted?
So the next step in this thinking is why can’t I do this when I get back to London? Why can’t I just trust things will take care of themselves? I don’t know. I don’t know if a person can be this free all the time. At some point you would want a more permanent place to stay right? Some sort of a home base that you can go back to, where your things are. Isn’t that just how we have been conditioned to think though? Or is it something inherently build into our DNA? Do we really need a place to call home? Do we need a roof and some walls? Here in South Africa I have my mom, she has been here every time I need a roof. Very patiently she takes me in every time. But in London I will be completely flying blind. Is that possible I wonder? Can a person do that?
I have this very special person having my back up there in the northern hemisphere. He has been with me every step of this journey. He’s been there when I cry and think all is lost, he’s been there when I fly on my magic carpet, he’s been there to shake me awake when it had to be done, he’s been silent when he needed to be. In the end isn’t that all we need? Someone to be there for us. Someone we can trust with our insides? Maybe for now that is all I should think about. Just this amazing journey I am on and the amazing people I have around me supporting me. Not think about what happens in three months time. Just live in the moment like I have for the past three months and let the future sort itself out.
In some parts of the world these things are just like a basic human right. In others it is more of a luxury. Here where I am now in rural South Africa it is definitely more of a luxury most days. Regular Internet that you get through lines are generally okay. Regular cellular phone reception is good. But you try and use one of those USB type data connections through cellphone signals and you are royally stuck.
Email? Forget it.
What’s App? Only if you’re really lucky and then you can only send text no pics.
I’m not sure how or why but Skype is the only thing I can connect too most days.
This lack in connection has made me real crafty at sniffing out Internet. Coffee shops that provide Internet for free for thirty minutes a day are my top destinations, but when I travel through dusty hamlets these are not an option.
One town though i got lucky. I discovered an open connection! So every afternoon I’d loiter outside this shop on the main street with my iPhone, downloading emails and what’s app’ing my family to say that I’m still breathing. Most times though I just disappear quietly into the great unknown of this vast country called South Africa and surface again a couple of days later.
That brings me to the other basic human right: Electricity. Over here the company that basically owns the electricity belongs to the government and the government has many more other things to focus on than making sure it increases it’s capacity for electric supplies. So they’ve introduced this thing called ‘load shedding’. *nods* yes you read that right. What a phrase.
Anyway, load shedding works as follows, at certain times of the day, or night, certain parts of a city or town (sometimes the whole town depending on its size) will have a type of controlled power cut. This usually lasts a couple hours. People here have become very good at dealing with these power cuts. Small generators have seen a huge increase in sales. Gas stoves are and those oil burring fridges are all starting to sell.
In each place I have stayed so far i’ve been supplied with candles and matches and torches. There is just something about having your dinner by candle light that makes even the dullest meal taste special, even dinner for one by candle light.
Last night I arrived in South Africa after spending three beautiful weeks in Sweden. The next part of my journey begins.
There comes a time I guess in every person’s life where they look at themselves in the mirror one morning and say: who are you? Mine finally arrived one rainy morning at the end of winter in London. It came a little late in life but I figure it’s not a problem. At least I woke up. I’m making my start on the cliched journey of finding myself.
Being the extremist that I am, I quit everything. Yes really everything.
I quit my job at one of the world’s biggest technology companies. Public relations manager for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia looking after some or other techie things. A big title and a really nice pay check too.
I quit my flat in the heart of Wimbledon. Two minutes walk to the station, gym across the street, mall next door. For a while I had a tattoo parlour for a neighbour, which made me feel real cool, but they moved out one night.
I quit my stuff. I rented a 10 square feet box at the Shurguard down the road. What doesn’t fit in there I said to myself, has to go: to charity to friends to the recycle bin.
By next week this time my flat will be empty. I’ll be left with a medium sized suitcase, a plane ticket to Europe and Africa and insurance for six months.
There is no one word strong enough for what I feel at this moment. The closest one would be that I feel alive. I feel terror, freedom, elation, terror, anticipation, excitement, did I mention terror? But inside of me I know I am doing the right thing. For me. I’m doing the right thing.
This blog will be the place where I record my journey. I think sometimes there will be a lot of writing and then there may be times of utter silence.
This is my first post.