Tag Archive for: Journey

A Journey of Reflection

In the midst of a global pandemic, with uncertainty looming, I made a spontaneous decision that would alter the course of my life: I moved to the United Kingdom. Leaving behind sunny South Africa. I embarked on a journey into the unknown. I boarded the plane, excitement mingled with doubt, but I thought to myself there was no turning back now, as I had left with the mindset that I was not returning to South Africa.

I recall the exhilarating chill that welcomed me as I stepped off the plane, invigorating me to embrace the new adventures ahead, a stark contrast to the warmth I was accustomed to my whole life up until then. Despite the uncertainties, I was determined to make it work. Settling in the city centre, I navigated through closed streets due to lockdown and snowy sidewalks, adapting to a lifestyle vastly different from what I had known.

As lockdown restrictions lifted and life began to normalise, I couldn’t shake the feeling of longing for home. The cultural differences, the absence of familiar food, and most importantly, the yearning for family weighed heavily on my heart. Despite making great friends and building a life in the United Kingdom, I felt a sense of displacement, a longing for the belonging I once felt back home. Africa is a feeling. I cherished the sense of liberation, strolling through the streets without constraints, exploring local parks, utilising public transport, all while feeling reassured by the safety and security around me. Amidst all the opportunities, there were certainly challenges to embrace. Personally, navigating through the enriching experience of culture shock, a phenomenon no one warns you about, stood out as challenging, offering unexpected lessons and growth along the way.

A year into life in the United Kingdom, I made a visit back to South Africa to see family — a bittersweet reminder of the world I had left behind. The visit offered a meaningful glimpse into the essence of my roots. The vibrant beaches, the diversity of cultures, the boundless expanse of the ocean—each facet – resonated with a sense of home that the United Kingdom couldn’t quite replicate Africa, with its lasting mark on the soul, left me spellbound once more.

Upon return to the United Kingdom from the visit, bidding farewell proved to be the most challenging it had ever been—far surpassing my initial departure. Nevertheless, resuming life, continuing to nurture the life meticulously crafted in the United Kingdom. However, as the months went by, a palpable sense of longing enveloped me, a yearning for South Africa that became a constant presence in my thoughts, sparking regular contemplations of what life would be like back home.

The decision to return was certainly not made lightly. Months and months of contemplation, weighing the positives and negatives, led to one undeniable truth: there is no place like home. The pull of family, the richness of culture, the warm weather and the sense of belonging were irreplaceable.

On my return journey to South Africa, I pondered the invaluable lessons obtained from my time abroad. Embracing discomfort, confronting challenges directly, and cherishing fleeting moments of happiness profoundly shaped both my personal and professional growth. Not a single ounce of regret spoils my experiences. I genuinely savoured my time in the United Kingdom and all it offered. In fact, I wholeheartedly advocate for anyone with the chance to explore new horizons to seize the opportunity and embrace the journey.

For anyone considering a move, I offer these words of advice: do your research, brace yourself for culture shock, and allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions. You will have good and bad days. Engage with your community, step out of your comfort zone, and seek support from Destination Service Providers. Push yourself to be brave and adventurous. Explore as you go and give yourself time to adjust to your new normal.

Every country has its pros and cons. Since moving and returning, I have a new outlook on South Africa because I learned to appreciate small things. On paper, South Africa is not a perfect country. I don’t blame people for leaving. The problem is, most people think the act of leaving is the solution, when really all they’re doing is trading one set of pros and cons for another.

Sometimes one can be too focused on what they don’t like about their home country while simultaneously taking the amazing aspects for granted. You only really understand the true value of these overlooked qualities when you’re on the other side of the world for a while. The problem is, once you’re in a new country, and once the rose-tinted glasses come off, there will be many other things you don’t like on that side of the world too.

The advice I will dish out is, make sure you relocate for the right reasons. Moving away may indeed be the best thing that you have ever done. I think the reason for this is simple. When you move, you will love it or hate it over time, depending on what you value. But again, you never just value one thing. And this is often why moving can be challenging.

Like most of us, I value safety, but I also value that warm South African spirit and friendliness, which is what makes it hard to live elsewhere.

I had a fantastic journey in the United Kingdom and am forever grateful to be able to explore and visit other countries whilst living there, but as for now, settling back into the familiar rhythm of life, my heart is filled with gratitude for the experiences gained and the memories made. Home truly is where the heart belongs, and for me right now, that is in South Africa.


Since moving back to South Africa, I have been delighted to be part of a team specialising in mobility, immigration, remuneration, and research services. I’ve gained invaluable insights into relocation and expatriate life—knowledge I wish I had possessed earlier. If you’re seeking guidance or information on relocating or any related queries, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to offer support and assistance every step of the way, helping you embrace the unknown.


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Written by Cassidy Dauberman