Monday, January 26, 2009

Open your mind... to the world

One thing I would have on my side in terms of leaving SA would be my age.

My generation has been afforded just slightly more leeway in doing the “globalisation” trot. Without the extreme judgement & tomato-throwing & burn-the-expat-at-the-stake attitudes of folk who choose to stay.

But take a case of a thirty-something up and going. Well. They’re betraying their country. Dishonouring “what we are working for”.

And just what are we working for!? Cause, to me, it seems so many people rooted in dearest South Africa are working on their daily lives and their personal dreams rather than some “greater” plan. (Just look at how much effort we endure just to convince our countrymen to register to vote).

And the first people to judge about “betraying the rainbow” appear to be those wasting expensive work hours reading crap blog posts by anonymous friends and foes.

If I do end up doing a coupla years (decades?) abroad. In, godforbid, a Western country, am I going to have to wave my “social development” experience about to justify my move?

Not that I want to study at a globally-recognised centre of learning. Or gain some sweet worldly work experience. That my work & living in a First World city might actually enhance my abilities to help out my “people” back home.

Or does so many years on other soil disallow me from using “my people”?

Would I have to write home about how I hate every aspect of it and every minute of it and how I miss South Africa with all my soul. Just to justify that I do love my country of origin. Would I have to deny that I can see the world in complexity. That I can see the good & the bad of both?

Will leaving South Africa to follow a self-challenging-growing opportunity disallow me the types of criticism I shove up onto this space all the time these days.

But I like the way Commentator Jeremy put it to a Sarah Britten post:
Am I the only one noticing that most of the replies seem to be made by a bunch of teenage whities? South Africans appear to be envious of other people who occupy a planet.


Anonymous said...

Aaah. But there's no place like home.

Champagne Heathen said...

Dolce, there indeed is no place like the one that shaped you. But you realise this through travel. AND because of this "home" cocoon, you can travel AND will always be compelled to return! So you don't have to stress that leaving means forever.

Anonymous said...

arh welcome back

Champagne Heathen said...

Ah! Welcome back to my blog space to you!

po said...

Hectic I didnt realise you were blogging again!

People who leave because of crime, or lack of work, or for racist reasons, or any of those, seems to have a lot of bitterness they need to unleash upon the world.

I left to go travelling, and as far as I am concerned, I just havent stopped yet. So no bitterness, only a strong love for my home country.

But that said, we Saffas do have a harder time than other travellers/expats. Our country does not necessarily want us back, nor is it always easy to come back in terms of work, and well, it is not the safest. Basically SA is not welcoming us back with open arms. And those who "choose" to stay of course need to reassure themselves that they have made the right decision, and so call us cowards. But if they were honest with themselves, the reason they hate expats is because they are at least a little bit insecure about their decision.

That is my take anyway. Never say no to adventure and broadening horizons!

Jean-Jacques said...

I agreed with Jeremy too.

I don't think you will "have to do anything" when you go travelling extensively. Don't sweat it, just do it!

I travelled for 9 years, living and working abroad and returned to SA twice to stay for a year or two before heading off again. Back here for a third stint and will probably head off again after (FIFA :-)) 2010.

I've always been realistic about S.A. but not overly negative. Abroad I've acted as a natural ambassador - providing a realistic and balanced view leaning towards the positive. At the same time I completely dedicated myself to learning from and immersing myself within the cultures and countries that I was living in. In other words I was never preoccupied with SA while abroad, was never (NEVER) on forums and hardly ever hung out with the SA expat crowd overseas.

I blogged, but about travelling as a process - granted, there's a massive difference between a traveller and an emigrant. I think that's the crux of the matter - its all about a person's attitude
and reasons for leaving. You sound like a traveller to me.

SA looks very different from the outside (after a while) - the longer you stay away, the clearer you see the country in relation to others and in relation to the world. In my opinion, when this externally acquired knowledge is voiced to residents, it can sometimes come across as being "overly positive" ("patriotic") about the country, reason being that focussing on the negative in SA is an absolute part of our culture (white culture), whether we would admit to it or not.

Well, anyway - that's my two pennies worth. Nice blog you have here - I found you via Thought Leader. Happy Travels!!


Champagne Heathen said...

Po - Thanks for your comment! I really enjoyed it!

I still have to keep asking but why are they (and the folk who stay but word-slaughter all expats) SO angry. Is it that South Africans seem to love the past & love to be victims of the past (and I mean this for all groups of race & language & gender & religion etc). Are we then unable to turn all/ most focus forward & to the present & future. Maybe this is it? Eternal victims, till we admit we are victims. Hmmmm. ????

I gotta say, I don't like (but don't disagree - talk to me in a decade!) about the part about SA not welcoming us back easily. They'd better!!!!

I like: Never say no to adventure and broadening horizons!

JJ - thanks for visiting & reading & commenting then! I have only managed a quick breeze to your blog & am enjoying it! I'll go back when time allows!

It's good to hear words from a seasoned traveller about this! I also really enjoyed what you had to say.

Something you mention is a good reason why I have been thinking more & more of travelling... that SA/ Jo'burg has lost its joy to me. I need a break & some perspective to remember why I wanted to settle here in 2005 again. Alles about this town/ what I find myself doing in terms of websites I choose to read, news articles I chooce to read gets me grumpy & uninspired & unmotivated. I am hoping some time out of my comfort zone will kick me back into the creative 'living' gear! I work in social development, but right now I dislike it so much & spend my time behind a computer doing other people's projects... I need some inspiration to start my own & I feel a bit of travel will spur the creative ideas on how!

Well. There was a whole babble about me. Hmmm.

Comment again soon!