How My life has changed after two years living abroad!

When I decided to leave home about two years ago, it wasn’t an easy decision but one I am euphoric I made. I don’t think I would have experienced or become the person I am today if I had not have left home in September of 2014.

Now one year out of China and 5 Asian countries explored I am extremely grateful and do not regret my decision for one minute.

I remember the person I was two years ago heading into the unknown afraid but masking it by putting on a brave face.Heaven forbid I let my parents and family see my fear as I head into China a country we do not know very much about other than the fact it is extremely far from anything we are used to. Fast forward one year, I learnt to teach, I grew in confidence with being around children.( something I was not confident in), I managed to communicate in a new language, travel around China speak to many different people and make amazing real relationships with the best people.

As eager as I was to leave and try something new I was not prepared to leave a place so unfamiliar but an area that had served as home and the friends I had made my new family. Filled with tears of sadness but tears of excitement it was a strange time.

China was just stepping stone in my bigger picture I had no idea how China had prepared me for life outside of China until that day I packed up all my belongings and left for the greater unknown.

China taught me never to give up especially when the going gets tough.

China taught me to be confident.

China taught me to be strong.

China taught me to be brave.

China taught me to stop hiding.

China taught me patience.

Slowly as the year manifested and did its thing full of ups and downs I left with my head held high and the confidence knowing I hacked China for a year one of the hardest places to live.

I remember leaving for Hong Kong feeling like I was superwomen like I had some magical power. As if I was in prison for a year and finally saw the sunshine (ok not that dramatic but you catch my drift) I was sole alone just me against the world needing to figure out how I was going to travel around Asia for three months, and I wasn’t afraid of anything. I would not be able to do this if it wasn’t for the lessons I had learnt in China.

I ventured through Asia for three months came out with a few scrapes and bruises a few hospital visits but alive living the best version of myself. I had appreciated everything the beauty I saw was indescribable the joy I felt was magical. The saying hard work pays off became real I was so proud of myself for reaching this point. The best part was that my true happiness I was feeling on the inside showed on my face in my confidence to strike up conversations with random people. The law of attraction to bring the best people into my life at the right time made me believe more and more in the mighty God I serve.

I believe now more than ever that God has a plan for my life I don’t know my end destination, but I love that this journey has brought me to now South Korea. It wasn’t an easy task after having the beast journey and going home seeing all my loved ones. Getting to eat everything I missed and do all the things I told all the travellers I met to do when they visit Cape Town. It was good. The high I was on quickly subsided and felt depressed again. 28 with no job living at home with mum and dad it did depress me but also it motivated me not to give up on the dream I just lived.

It has lead me here to this very apartment where I live by myself still living an incredible adventure all while giving back to the kids I teach every day.

China has prepared me so much for South Korea I am a confident teacher, teaching and talking to kids is easy for me now and the job is easy compared to how I struggled back in China. Travelling around a country where I don’t speak the language is a piece of cake it is still frustrating from time to time, but I am so used to it it’s normal for me now. I am just more confident in myself and the people I have met have been special blessings in my life.

I am only 3months in, and I feel I have done and seen so much. Not for one second have I doubted my decision to be exactly where I am.  I thank you, China for leading me here and I thank God for keeping me safe and showing me I am on the right path.

Let’s see where this journey shall take me!!

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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That time my family came to visit & we ended up in the Sex Capital of the World.

I haven’t seen my family in  13 months, and I was so excited to see them. My sister who was 16 when I left her now fully legal 18 years old I was overjoyed and nervous to show them a glimpse of my travel life. I had changed so much too, and I was scared, would we get along being a solo traveller for so long and so used to doing my own thing will I get on with them.

While anxiously awaiting their arrival all these thoughts were popping into my head, and I was nervous to see them. They made the long haul flight, and I saw them hugged each of them overjoyed with happiness. My sister’s first words to me were,”why are you so thin it looks like you walking on your arms” hahaha my fondest memory.

A few minutes went by, and we could not find the person who was meant to pick us up family argument number 1. In those very stressful 10 minutes I knew I was in for a bumpy but fun family vacation. I have mastered the art of patience, but this was a new ball game I was about to start playing. Thankfully before I tried to navigate Bangkok with my family and truckload of luggage, we found the transfer and we were off to our hotel.

We chilled for the rest of the day making plans for the next few days in Bangkok. We ended up doing the floating market visited a temple. The evening I took my sister to Kho San Road (if you have never been read my Kho San Road post here) I showed her how the backpackers/travellers do things. The night was so fun filled with street dancing scorpion eating and plenty of the famous Thai bucket drinks. I was so happy to share my life with my sister and just give her a taste of what my life has looked like for the past three months roaming around South East Asia.

After many hours shopping with mother dearest and sister, Dad could not be asked to join so he let us go while he sipped beers in the pool making friends we were all happy this was good.

We headed off to our next destination Pattaya we had been previously warned not to go to this part of Thailand due to its seediness and it being the Sex Capital of the World but no let’s spend Christmas in this seedy place. The key to a good family trip is to do one thing that each person wants to do even if it’s not what you want to do compromise is key.

My sister had friends staying here from home, so we planned to meet up with them and go to the Cartoon Network waterpark that’s how we ended up in the sex capital of the world, haha

Our days here were interesting; the hotel was lovely but right in the middle of all the bars and clubs, so it was loud. I had not seen so many Thai women, ladyboys and old white guys together it was shocking. We never felt comfortable going to beach or taking our clothes off without men staring in that pervy way it was just a shit show to say it politely as possible. There is a walking street where all the clubs and bars are and people luring you in its insane to see, but so sad at the same time. Filled with Russians and Thai prostitutes let’s put it this way even though myself and my sister are adults it’s still not a place for a family vacation. This is just the best, the tagline for Pattaya is “Good guys go to Heaven bad goes go to Pattaya” so you know I am not making any of this up.

We made it to the Cartoon Network waterpark it was fun, and we found a foam party at the hard rock café which was great, and it was nice to be around faces I knew too. So we made the most of a very dodgy situation but were happy to get out of there.

We headed to Krabi for the last leg of the holiday it was so fantastic we stayed in a beautiful hotel in Ao Nang, This felt like a vacation so chill with the most epic sunsets. We all immediately felt relaxed. We booked an island hopping trip visited the beautiful Maya Bay and Phi Phi islands. My mom suffers from severe motion sickness the poor thing didn’t have a great time, but she’s a trooper for sticking it out.

Our days consisted of beach days, the best street food, beach dancing by night it was a good time. New year’s eve we spent on the beach lighting lanterns and watching fireworks it was incredible. The best part was my sister on the mic shouting Happy New Year 2016 to hundreds of party goers because obviously, she made friends with the DJ a few nights back.

It was a great night and the first new year and Christmas I had spent with my family in over two years so it was not traditional at all but it was magical because we were together. As quickly as the trip came, it ended, and we were on a flight back to Cape Town. I never felt more nervous to go home in my life.

I know we more than halfway through the year, and this post is like eight months late but rather late than never they said, right.  I promise to be more consistent with my posts and so much more travel bits to fill you all in on.

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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It’s ok to Pause!

I feel like a traveler now, navigating my way from country to country, across borders and into places I only dreamed about. Now looking back and seeing how far I have come and the person this journey has morphed me into, is the greatest story I will ever tell!

 A month before heading off to Cambodia, I was struck by some bad luck well that’s what it felt like at the time! I had undoubtedly had the best time ever in Hong Kong and Vietnam. As I was heading onto my next adventure into Thailand (Bangkok to be precise) calamity struck! A sprained ankle had the worst UTI I have ever had, I thought for sure my life as a traveller was over! My mother threatened that if I didn’t recover, I would be on the next  flight back to Cape Town but I was not ready to go home yet!

 I was stuck in Bangkok for a month, visiting the hospital week after week, taking antibiotics by the bucket loads, praying for healing and feeling completely down and out. There was just no improvement in my condition. I was and will always be forever grateful to my dear friend for letting me crash at his new house and comforting me through my time of need!

 I remember the last Monday arriving at the hospital knowing I could not return the next week because my visa would expire and still feeling no better! The side effects from the last batch of antibiotics had put me in a state of constant nausea and insomnia! The doctor confirmed it must have been a bad allergic reaction to the meds and then proceeded to do more tests followed by another week of different antibiotics. I remember explaining my situation to the doctor and I that couldn’t return the next week. She said she would call me and email me the test results and that I would be ok.

 As the week went by I started feeling a bit better but still nervous because I hadn’t heard from the doctor. I went on with my life, packed up my backpack and proceeded to head to Cambodia. The journey was long and I remember sitting on the bus and as we were about to do the boarder cross, my phone rang and it was the doctor!! My test results had come back clear and I was going to be fine, just as she promised! I just needed to complete my antibiotics and take it easy.

 I was so thankful and said a silent prayer to God for this miracle. In hindsight, that month off was probably the best thing for me. Having been away from home for 13 months, working round the clock virtually, I was completely and utterly exhausted physically. I needed rest and time to look after myself again before heading back on the road. If I hadn’t taken time off to pause I would not have had the energy for my adventure of a lifetime. I had the good fortune to cross paths with the most amazing people and reconnected with people I met in the beginning of my travels!

The saying “things happen for a reason” had always been something I believed in and even though the month I paused wasn’t the easiest month of my life, it helped me in ways I cannot explain in words! I have grown up, I feel wiser and a lot more conscious of taking care of my health. I cherish every day I have on this earth as the gift it is. I may not have money in the bank or even a job but I am happier than ever, filled with riches, memories and experiences that no money could ever buy!

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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Motivational Monday – Into the Depths of My Soul

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As some of you may know this Blog was originally created  2 years ago by myself Thalea but as a joined platform for myself and my sister Courteney to share things we feel we want share with the world.It may be read by just one person near or far but our main aim is to inspire all those around us. It may be through a travel diary experience, life’s weird and wacky way of teaching us valuable lessons or through fashion and photography anything we really feel passionate about.

We just 2 ordinary girls trying to do extra ordinary things.

Courteney sent me this beautiful piece she wrote and I am so excited to share it with all of you hope you enjoy it!

“Into the Depths of My Soul

One thing I have come to know is that looks are not everything.  But rather it’s about the beauty that shines out you from within.

I no longer want to be the girl you know from Instagram or a random facebook friend. There is more to me than what you see or the assumptions you make about me.

I want you to see my soul when you look at me, see past my face, race and just see me for me.

Our generation has become a bunch of pretenders who are Consumed by likes and followers and selfies emphasis on the “self”
More like selfish… What happened to self-worth & self-respect?

Life is short and I know you have heard it all before. But I for one know that life can be long too and there is so much you could do. So many people you could have spoken to when you were looking down at your Phone or an awkward smile you could have given to someone that surely brightened up their day.

I am starting with my inside then working my way out. I am choosing to focus on my soul to improve what really counts.

Do you have WIFI? I bet that sounds familiar but what I’m trying to say is
“Why-fit-in?”

God made you just the way you are. Why conform and settle to be part of the norm.

I refuse to compete against anyone I am me & you are you for a reason! I was fearfully and wonderfully made and I aim to stay grounded & never be swayed.

Imagine everyone loved everyone the same way God loves you… Let that sink in I bet you wish it was true.

My soul is what goes to heaven not the physical features I may have
So why worry about the outside when your inside is all you truly have.

My soul is lined with the message of Proverbs 30:31- “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

It’s just a start Its far from the end for I agree to end the great pretend.
– Courteney

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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Leaving Home for the Unknown

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but I can finally say I landed in China on Monday night at bout 9pm.

The goodbyes at the airport was hard but I kept it together until the very end. My mom surprised me with big farewell at my house the Saturday before my departure the Sunday. It was cool to see so many family and friends. Graham said some sweet words followed by a video Courteney made for me. She is truly talented little girl with a bright future ahead of her. The video brought a tear to many a eye including my own. My bestie could not even watch it she had been crying since the morning.

I then had to say some kind words spoke from the heart cannot even remember what I said exactly.

My last visitors only left at around 1030pm I still had some admin to take care of and repacking but eventually around 2am I was done extremely exhausted but done and ready. My mom and sister came to sleep next to me and before I knew it, it was time get up. Went to church prayed and off to the airport we went.

So many of my friends came and we laughed and joked for the last few moments before I had to board.

My sister could not stop crying it was hard to see her like that and brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. I am truly grateful to have such a huge support system back home loads of friends and family that truly care and love me. Even though it was hard to say goodbye I am so proud of myself for taking this risk and huge leap of faith.

I would not be so comfortable here in China Hangzhou my new home for the next few months if I did not truly believe that this is where I need to be in this season of my life. It still hard to believe I am in China of all places in the world.

So much has happened in the first few days its been a real adventure but I will fill you all in on that in the next post of my China adventure.

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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Motivational Monday – Getting the balance in your life Right

 

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Have you ever wanted to pack up your life and start over well life deals us some heavy curve balls we can never prepare for but starting over fresh in the figurative and literal sense can be done. I know we all wish we could run away from hardships and despair but running away never solves the problem it will be there staring you in the eye when you return. Starting over on the other hand is possible.

I am about to pack up my life and start over and the most common question I have received from me outing this decision to the public, (as if I am some Kardashion lol.) The reaction has been what are you running away from. If you could have a looking glass into my life you will find absolutely nothing worth running away from. I have the most amazing supportive family I could ever ask for, the best friends that are irreplaceable, the most awesome church I even have two churches each with its own uniqueness and sets of church family.  My support system here in Cape Town the place that I will always call home is pretty amazing.

I bet you all asking now why pack up and leave…. Sometimes you are called to do things you cannot explain. While most aspects of my life was really great I lacked a good sense of purpose, a purpose driven life if you would put it like that. I believe so many of us are faced with this same dilemma especially the younger generation finishing school and University.

The real world is a tough cookie to crack but only once you feel a great sense of purpose in what you do with your life will you feel complete in that sphere of your life. Like I mentioned before life is a balancing act of many spheres and as soon as one area is lacking it will out weigh the scale. My scale was out of balance my career, work life happiness factor wasn’t there.  I have decided to take a risk I have no idea if this is the right thing or the right career path for me but for this season in my life  I believe it is.

My advice to all of you is to find what makes you happy as early as possible I know it’s hard and pretty cliche to say; Do what makes you happy and you will never have to work a day in your life. It is so true though the happier you are with what you do the harder you will work at it in all aspects of your life. I hope people can start learning how to balance their lives so we can eliminate all this negativity in this world. I know its easier said than done but honestly hope that this post touches at least one persons heart and inspires you to truly live your dream.

My dream is to travel, inspire and continue writing in some form. I never for one second imagined my dream to take me to China but it is and with faith and alot of patience  i know i can do this. The journey up to now hasn’t been the easiest but I have learnt so much about myself and can’t even imagine what else I will learn in the coming future as I now pack up and start over.

This has been an emotional few weeks,saying goodbye to friends and trying to do travel admin and see as many people as possible hence the lack of posting. I have done some awesome things and visted some awsome places so keep an eye out for more explore Cape Town posts coming soon. I also helped my dear sister with another video and will post it as soon as soon as it is out.

Hope you are all well and enjoying the start of Spring or Autumn wherever you may be in the world.

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

 

One World and We all Connected

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Over the last few days, I have visited the airport three times to say goodbye to friends and family all embarking on separate travels off to America and Europe. With my travels coming soon too I realised how small this world is a few hours and many borders may separate us but with the ever evolving technology at our finger tips it doesn’t feel like we that far apart at all.

I have always been fascinated by travel and meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and learning new things. The journey that lead me to this point in my life where I sit looking at my room I have had most of my life and waiting on boxes to start packing and throwing things out actually brings a sadness to my heart.

Life as I know it  is going to drastically change and I still don’t think it has really sunk in but I am so ready for this next season in my life and brave is what I need to be to endure the next few months as China becomes my new home.

The things I will miss the most is the comforts of the familiarity, being able to jump in my car and know where I am going is going to be a thing of the past. Missing out on special once off moments will be sad. The fact that I won’t be here to cheer Courteney on as she competes in her dance competitions not seeing her battle through her final year of school not being here for her Matric balls and family weddings I will miss those moments the most.

It’s strange to think this is my last two weeks in Cape Town for a while, and the journey that lies ahead is one scary, but exciting journey that has taught me to work hard have patience and see things through. The real test is yet to come, but that’s an entirely new post for another day.

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥