Thanks for the memories, South Africa.

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever. – Philip Adams

It’s Thursday, and for our generation that means a Throwback Back Thursday is in order. How appropriate that Facebook alerted me of two years ago today:

Kelsie Corrine at O.R. Tambo International AirportDecember 29, 2014 at 2:44am · Kempton Park, South Africa ·My first impression of Africa is, I’m way overdressed hey. Everyones in dresses and shorts and I’m flinging around my winter coat. Oh and they sell powered headache medicine and I spilled it all over myself, legend. One more short flight and I’ll be on my way to (one we don’t name)! So close xo.

But let’s rewind a few months prior to me arriving in South Africa shall we? We can’t skip the rising action and jump right to the climax!

It’s 2014, I moved to Ocean City for my sixth summer. I was working at this great restaurant, making BANK, and rebounding hard. 10524302_10203178658440534_6405875972277970871_nMy first serious relationship had ended a few months prior, and I was ready to have some fun on my summer away. I was spending time with this really genuine kind guy, who was absolutely not my type for a relationship. But instead of accepting that and following through with that knowledge, I embarked on a relationship with him. As the summer came to an end, I decided to take a semester off of college because I was OVER sitting behind a desk. Side note: I have known what I want to do for the rest of my life since age 17. However, it took me almost six years to finish college, and for a long time I felt shame in that. Do not allow the amount of time on your journey completing something important to you cause you shame. Had I went straight through, I would have missed out on so many milestones that made me who I am. Take your time, and experience life through every moment. Do not rush it because of the pressure you feel from society.  I made the decision to use the money I worked hard for to travel through Europe for a month. I booked a tour through an agency named Contiki, that I will cover in future post, and spent 28 days with 40 of the unique and delightful people on this planet.

I knew my relationship needed to end about a month before I left for my trip, but didn’t have the courgae to follow through with it. I did not want to go through the process of ending another relationship, and the hurt and failure that came with that. So I stayed stagnant. I really don’t believe in having regrets, because every decision that leads to the feeling of regret is a lesson. However, what I did to that kind-hearted man who loved me, wasn’t acceptable and I do feel remorse in the decision to this day.

I was floating through life in Europe. I was seeing the most beautiful sights in this world, I was drunk every single night and barely living through the mornings on the bus to the next country every day. It was truly magical. The last week of the trip, my world collided with a truly special South African. We had spent really remarkable time together the three weeks prior, but this particular day something had changed between us. I should have ended my relationship then, when I felt that feeling of no going back. But I was on the other side of the planet, and who ends a relationship like that? I should have, that’s the answer. But I was selfish, and I cheated on a really great guy. Don’t worry anyone who is thinking I suck, karma came back around and nipped me HARD. The universe wasn’t allowing me to escape such a shitty action unscathed, and I am forever thankful for that balance. 

“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Okay okay! Let’s get South Africa shall we.

Tell you a story and it starts with time
Moves to how you live, and learn how to die
Another phase in this world that brings death to life
So don’t believe in everything you see
Because what you want might not be what you need
Hold your breath, jump with me and we’ll survive- Phillip Phillip

I listened to Phillip Phillip on repeat in Africa, and he came on randomly today while I was driving, which just so happened to be the two year anniversary. Fate is fun. Life is fun. And now here we are, sharing this story together.

I arrived home from Europe, jet lagged and in bliss. I still was regularly talking to V (he’s requested I don’t use his name; I suppose we aren’t all as comfortable sharing the person we used to be, so we’ll call him V) After many late night heart to heart conversations, he asked long and hard for me to come spend the holidays with him and his family in South Africa. I really wanted to study abroad in Africa that following year, so I figured why the heck not? Go check out where I may live for some time and be with a guy who made me feel magical. I have always been a leaper my friends. 

I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.-Marissa Mayer

So I bought a very expensive plane ticket to South Africa, and prepared myself for what those two weeks would be like. I was naive and young, and I was on cloud nine. Me and had parted ways in Dublin after having a conversation of the importance we felt for each other, and shared those same feelings up until a few days before I left for the trip. It became very very messy, and I couldn’t have even prepared myself for what those two weeks would be like in South Africa. The night before I left for my 23 hour flight, he informed me he was getting back with his ex girlfriend and he wasn’t sure if me coming was a good idea. lol right? I was obviously crushed, and mind blown. But shiiiiit, I was going. 1,800 dollar plane ticket wasn’t going to refund itself. So I straightened my dress, laced up my boots, and boarded that long flight. I drank myself to sleep, three times on that flight. Oops. 

Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go. – T.S. Elliot

I go back and forth with how it was for me there those two weeks. There’s no doubt that is heart breaking every single day but there was such magic in that heart break. I had made myself so sick from anxiety on my birthday there that I had to go to the hospital and get medicine for the ulcer I had caused myself. I rang in age 23 at a South African hospital with a stomach ulcer. I mean not many people will get to say that in their lifetime, so it’s okay really. There were truly absolute life changing beautiful pieces of the trip. N‘s family are the most beautiful people I have ever met, and I truly still believe to this day that fate brought and I together so I could take a piece of his family to carry in my heart forever. His mother touched my heart in such a deep way, I am forever grateful for the time with her.

I remember crying myself to sleep every single night, and texting Brittany novel after novel after novel. 10929009_10204379728946546_5629410424377245103_nThat poor girl had no idea what to do with me. It wouldn’t have been bad had I gone there and we kept it completely appropriate. But he loved the idea of being intimate with me, and then being DISTANCE and weird the following days. He loved the idea of cuddling with me on the couch and then getting up and spending 45 minutes on the phone with his ex. And I wasn’t able to explore alone, so no matter the chemistry between us on the certain day, we spent 16 hours together for 2 weeks straight. It was absolutely mind blowing and crushing. It was truly the first time I had experienced heart wrenching messy heart break. But you know what? I got to swim with seals, I got to jump out of an airplane, I got to spend the day with elephants. I got experience the true beauty of South Africa, and I still highly recommend everyone go visit that magical country. Until I went to Thailand, I would easily say it the most beautiful place on this Earth. img_93351

So while the experience was truly a challenging one, I’d do it again in a heartbeat because the rest of the beauty I got to experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I learned I will never let a man treat me like I’m an object ever again. I am a prize, and absolute fortunate to share company with, and you are too beauty. Do not ever forget that. Don’t be afraid to leap just because it may feel uncomfortable or it may cause you some time with grief. The only way to learn and grow is by experiences and lessons. Take every lesson that comes your way. is truly a great person, his heart is big and he has beautiful ideas to better this world. He was just a lost soul at that point of his life, and didn’t think his actions through, as I didn’t think mine through in my relationship prior. Love isn’t something to toy with. Only embark on that journey with another person if you are prepared to put that mutual respect and work in. 10896928_10204268086795562_4147801130100208803_nDon’t embark on it because you’re lonely, because you crave the company of another person, because it feels better to share your experiences with someone when your day is over. Embark on it only if you feel life wouldn’t be as inspiring and fulfilling without them in it. I’m no expert on love, but I do know what it feels like to hurt and to be hurt, and no one should go into a bond with another person unless they are ready for that commitment and ready to battle through all the phases of the war of love together.

Go to South Africa. Explore the immense beauty and meet the absolutely beautiful souls that live there. Chase love, chase adventure, chase your passions. JUST LIVE.please. You won’t be sorry. Even if your heart gets broken. It will be even stronger the next time around. I believe in you. I believe in me.

Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can and surely will at times fail. Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed or risking love, can be terrifying, too. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk. – Joyce Brothers

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