I’m looking over the beautiful harbour of Vancouver backed by its lush mountains and whimsical clouds. A city that was my home for 13 years, where I went to university, lived in a couple different apartments, worked at a couple different office jobs, where my oldest friends live. Before that, I was born and raised an hour outside of Vancouver, where my family still lives, including my little niece and nephew, who are my world.
I’m staring outside at the cars stopping to allow the pedestrians to cross the street. I remember on the taxi ride from the airport noting the feeling of being able to have my window open while stopped at a traffic light.
The past six months I have been living in Cape Town, South Africa, a city that resonates with my soul more than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s home to mural-esque mountains that are ripe for climbing, ruggedly beautiful rocks that come alive at sunset, a thriving music and arts scene, and some of my favourite people in the world, with whom I have grown and created indescribable bonds over the last six months.
In Cape Town, pedestrians had better run across the street if they don’t want to get hit, and rolled down windows at a stoplight (or shall I say “robot”) are an invitation for your phone to get snatched out of your lap.
I don’t even know what home is anymore.
I’m currently quarantining at the Fairmont Waterfront, a government-authorized accommodation for the mandatory hotel stopover. As a digital nomad, travel writer and content creator, and owner of a travel business Adventurelust, I chose to live abroad even during the pandemic because it was the best decision for myself, my business, and my wellbeing. Sitting in this stunning hotel room as I gather my thoughts and reflect on my trip, I’m thinking this hotel quarantine isn’t such a bad thing after all. Aside from the massive dent in the ol’ bank account, I wouldn’t mind if this stuck around for a regular halfway home between travels and reality.
I’m back home in British Columbia to see my family, as this is the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing them before and it is physically paining me. My nephew was barely saying words when I left, and now he says full-on sentences and “I love you Auntie” when we hang up our FaceTime calls. My mom is my best friend and I know she misses me a lot (it’s mutual but I am trying to compartmentalize otherwise my emotions will get way out of control and I will always be missing everyone, everywhere). My loved ones are my priority, but my general approach to life is pulled toward Cape Town.
I’m now getting a glimpse of that terrifying part that many of us experience after our travels, where the trip starts to feel like a dream, a distant memory. We come back home and slip into our old comfortable lives, where everything feels the same, like we never left. It’s like I wasn’t just flouncing around in my spirit city, climbing my beloved mountain a few days ago, dancing around on the rocks as the waves crashed at sunset, flitting off to a safari once or twice a month.
That was actually my life. Pinch me.
But one of the guiding principles I live by is to live in the now. In Cape Town, I would actively remind myself to soak in the present moment, be grateful to get to spend so much time in this incredible place, that the future is uncertain but I am living for my happiest self right now. I was literally reading The Power of Now (great book, if you haven’t read it) while I was there. I made up a hashtag for my trip called #insoulmotion—living life in the now, in slow motion, for the soul.
Now, being home, it’s up to me to cherish those moments but fully dive into why I’m back here. I need to make the most of my time with loved ones and my Canadian summer. I must chill on those post-travel blues—the adventure isn’t over, it’s just on its next chapter.
In today’s world where (pandemic aside) everywhere seems accessible, I don’t know if we do have to pick a place to call home. I believe we can have roots and loved ones and connections in different parts of the world, in fact I know my life is richer from it. Maybe my life will turn to take a more conventional path and I will settle down in one place, and maybe it won’t. That’s all part of the adventure. —Kellie Paxian