One year and seven months later, I am flying high. I left Sydney in the red light of dawn this morning, the rising sun following behind as I flew westwards. In September last year I moved to Sydney to write and to pause, to collect my thoughts and create some semblance of stability in the ever-changing tide that had been my life on the road for the past four years. I adopted local cafes, local bars, local walks, local bookstores and of course my local beach. And in spite of my perpetual fear of ‘settling’, I found myself overcoming such worries and falling head over heels with my new home. It’s nice to know I now have a base in the world from which to flit and as my taxi took me through the deserted 4am streets, I was sad to leave. But I will let the winter take hold in my absence and return in August with the scent of spring.
I went to the beach yesterday evening one last time and watched as the sky faded from pink to blue and darkness overtook. The surfers squeezed the remaining light out of the day and two ambitious fishermen cast their lines into the surf. I was bombarded by seagulls and shared smiles with evening walkers, fellow drifters able to enjoy the last of the light that slips away while the 9-5 workers battle the traffic home. I walked on the warm sand at the water’s edge, retrieved my flip flops where they faithfully wait for me each day and farewelled the beach that has come to be my source of inspiration over the past months.
I made a promise, not only to myself but also to the children of KAASO that I would be back to Uganda within two years. I’m not sure they really understood but I am a girl of my word and now, 19 months after leaving the village, the time has come for me to return. Thus I find myself on the start of a journey that will ultimately deposit me back in the place that stole my heart. I have with me over one hundred children’s books, laptops, cameras, coloured pencils & paints, mosquito nets, malaria tablets, my guitar and my parents in tow. I still can’t quite believe I managed to convince mama and dad to join me on this potholed road but in spite of initial hesitations as riots erupted in the streets of Kampala when we were about to book our flights, the dust has settled and I will have at my side two very excited companions on my journey back to KAASO.
I am holding my breath for that first step on African soil, those first crushing Ugandan hugs, the first sight of Kiwi House, the first song shared beneath my music tree and of course my first bite of matooke…