I’m baaaa-acccck! South East Asia was awesome but it’s also good to be home

Biets is back, yo!

After a crazy long journey (Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Addis Ababa – Jozi – Cape Town) I’ve finally made it home. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know my return trip was a bit hellish as Ethiopian Airways cancelled my Bangkok to Jozi flight six days before take off. Their resolve was to shunt me onto the next one, creating an expensive domino effect that involved having to pay for an unexpected night in Bangkok and a new Kulula flight to Cape Town. Their compensation for this was a $150 dollar voucher to use when I fly them again, but that’s never going to happen, mostly due to their lack of customer service when things go wrong. For this reason, I’m choosing to cash out my voucher, something I can do at their ticket office somewhere in Cape Town (not in the airport), but then it comes $75. Bleh.

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At least Kulula was kind enough to monogram my plane in honour of my return.

But, I’ve finally made it home where I initially drowned in ‘re-entry’ admin, most of which involved sorting out banking drama that I’ll be detailing that in my next post because I do feel the story could be useful to others. With all that resolved, I now sit with ‘little admin’. Stupid things like ‘Which of my clothes am I going to take out of storage now that Cape Town’s weather is schizophrenic?’ The majority of my stuff – the rest of ‘life’ – is sitting in my storage unit.

For those of who didn’t follow my li’l jaunt from the beginning – I sold off most of my stuff then put the rest into storage with StoreSmart. You can read about that experience here. I love the fact that, while everything’s locked up safely, I have the key to my unit and can pop in anytime between 7am and 7pm. It’s kind of like owning a giant off site closet and I honestly can’t recommend them enough. I popped in there the other day and the moment I rolled up my garage-style door I just cried and cried and cried. I kind of stood there looking at all the ‘things’ that summed up this girl who really wanted to do something kind of daunting, was completely and utterly terrified, but did it anyway, not knowing if it was going to work out. I felt like she was standing there, waiting for me in the yoga pants she wore the day she packed right next to her carefully bubbled wrapped up fridge and I got to give her a big fat hug and go ‘Hey, hey! It all worked out! Look what we did!’ (Clearly, its not just Cape Town’s weather that has mental problems.)

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We did it, girl!

Going there and rifling through my things felt super weird. Having spent almost a year on the other side of the world with just two suitcases (one of which was filled with ‘thank you for lending me cash when I got locked out of my bank account’ gifts) kind of makes you realise just how little you really need. If I was a minimalist before, I’m going to be a lot more ruthless as to what I attach myself to in the future.

Still, I have to be that asshole who gives major props to herself for her religiously using all the clever storage packing tips I could gleam prior to leaving (and shared them over here) because it’s made my life very easy. Each of my boxes was meticulously labelled in regards to contents so there was no guess-work or having to open anything unnecessarily. (You think you’re going to remember what’s in where, but you really, REALLY don’t!) I’d even gone as far as to put the ‘not immediately needed’ boxes containing stuff like decor or kitchenware right at the back and all my ‘re-entry clothes’ and Vitally Important Stuff (like eye shadow and foundation – two things my sweaty self can’t wear in Thailand) right at the front. The cherry on top? I’d even left myself a scissors sitting on top of the boxes so I could easily cut them open. High five, you anal biets! Next time, I’ll also leave a roll of duct tape so I can close them up too. I had to open one just to pull out a black strapless bra. The rest of my underwear collection can stay behind as I now own ten million La Senza items thanks to the factory being in Vietnam.

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I also own ten million Milk Tea flavoured Kit Kats, most of which turned to liquid in a searing hotel room in Bangkok. (The aircon deactivates when you leave.)

Anyway, give me a bit of time to sort out my shizz (literally) and soon my blog will be back in business. While I’ll be writing about beauty once more, because I love it, expect a shift to more ‘lifestyle’, with a focus on good value, because I really enjoy writing about that too.

As for those of you who followed my journey and interacted with me every step of the way, I want to say a heartfelt thank you. I never felt alone, had an absolute jol and each and every time someone told me they felt inspired to do the same thing or that the information I shared had helped them out, it made me feel really, really good. It reminded me of why I started blogging in the first place. To share. To connect. To help. Also, to those of who’ve never met me yet offered me money when I tweeted about my banking drama, you’re all freaking MENTAL, but AMAZING and your incredible kindness made me cry more than my banks’ customer services department. (Which was a lot!) Actually, the more I think about it, one of the biggest things that was impressed on me while away was that this world is filled to the brim with people who are lovely and kind. Maybe spending most of my time in Buddhist countries had something to do with it. But the amount of ‘care’ that was showered on me, particularly when people found out I was a woman alone, really humbled in me in a way that’s difficult to describe. Being tough in an often cruel world will help you survive it. But not allowing yourself to become jaded or hard will help you enjoy it.

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But probably not as much as I enjoyed my last meal in Chiang Mai. Rustic and Blue’s buttermilk bread, three cheese, two pickle and crispy bacon toasted cheese o’ the Gods.

In short, if you’re able to work remotely and considering taking the plunge – just do it. I now wish I’d done it sooner and realise that all the things I thought would be so difficult to get around are just a series of little problems you can write down before solving them one by one. Also, once you start striding towards the ‘new’, the universe meets you half way and many of the problems start solving themselves in weird, karmically interesting ways – but only once you initiate.

Also, it’s not about being brave. I got a lot of ‘Oooh, I’d love to do this, but I’m not as brave as you’ and that’s rubbish. Like I said, I was absolutely petrified but did it anyway and that’s the real definition of being courageous. Being scared and doing it anyway. So, if the thought of packing up your life to roam the globe on your own is something that fills you with abject terror and yet you’re still toying with it, please know that you’re already much further along on the ‘brave’ scale than anyone else.

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The only thing you have to truly fear is Daiso’s demon-possessed panda sponge that WILL crawl out your shower to murder you while you sleep.

So just go. And if it all goes to shit then come home. I’ve done sooo many stupid things and made sooo many mistakes, you guys. But the day you accept that you’re just a moron wandering around with the intent to learn and become totally okay with that – the mistake-making – then your life starts to expand and explode with options. You’ll start dipping your toes into things you wouldn’t have before. And sure, sometimes it’s a puddle of mud. But for the most part, it’s magic – new, wonderful, exciting, life-changing magic – that you’d’ never even have known about had you been too afraid to bust a move.

One day when I’m old and lying in bed thinking back on my life I’m not going to have any regrets, just killer good memories and I wish the same for you. (Okay, that’s a lie. I do have one regret. I should’ve just sucked it up and bought this overpriced, God awful, so ‘kak it’s cool’ unicorn top.) But hey, we’re here to live and learn.

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I’ll never forget you boo.

Love, love

Leigh

Posted by

Editor of South African beauty blog Lipgloss is my Life.

10 thoughts on “I’m baaaa-acccck! South East Asia was awesome but it’s also good to be home

  1. I can so relate to everything! Being back in SA after a year of living in china and having to sort through my boxes of clothes. Also living out of two suitcase whilst in china. Also… what a mission to get back home from china. Delayed flights led me to missing my connecting flights. So had to go from wuhan to beijing to Frankfurt then to jhb and finally durban. It really was an adventure. Your blog is so entertaining. Xx

    1. OMG, I feel you on the nightmare journey. And the jet lag. Yoh, it’s suuuch a killer. I’ve been home four or five days now and still feel like a dead person come 4pm. I’m trying not to nap but it’s haaaaaard. But I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog x x

  2. Well done for doing this!! Was such a pleasure reading your posts which are informative, hilarious and always left me wanting more!
    I’ve been in China for 8 months now and I’m glad that I took the plunge to give it a go. I have tasted, seen and done so many things that would’ve not been possible in beautiful Cape Town.
    Enjoy CT!! You are just in time for silly season and beautiful weather.

  3. Welcome “back”!!!

    I loved reading every single post and can honestly say that I will miss all the updates of where you have been, what you ate (had me drooling for days!), where you slept and what crazy adventure had befallen you (the self-tan & panty incident on arrival remains my firm favourite!)!

    How did I miss the banking drama????
    xxxx

  4. Welcome back Leigh-Leigh, oh how I missed you!!! But you were always close at heart. Thank you for sharing the rhema of your life here. You are an incredibly inspiring person and it’s an honor to follow along with your journey. I love that you going to share more about lifestyle and not just beauty. Thank you for being YOU!

  5. oh girl! you make me laugh at the end of your article…but really have no regret for this unicorn sweater…..
    you did it! bravo!!!
    and I am sure you already have new travelling plans…
    Impatient to follow your new adventures!!!!

    cheers
    nath

    Regarding Ethiopian airlines…I flew with them for the last time in October and took 44 hours to come back from Belgium to Cape Town and finally home with a hell of a nightmare trip with my son of 7.5 who has been so cool and honestly I am still waiting a compensation….

    1. Thank you! For good… for now. But let’s see. When winter kicks in I may run away again. But this all depends on what type of projects I’m involved in at the time.

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