Freelancing in a new country
Yes, I am leaving South Africa for a year. On my way to Switzerland I am!
After my parents’ passing last year, only eight months apart, I simply need to go back to my roots. We immigrated to South Africa when I was still in high school, and now that they are gone, an important tie to the old world has been severed.
As an independent media professional, specialising in media liaison, corporate writing, language practice and freelance journalism, I am in the happy position that I can work from wherever I find myself – as long as I don’t forget my laptop, fondly referred to as “the office”, and as long as I have WiFi, I am set. After all, I have never even met 90% of my clients, everything is done via email. I made arrangements with clients for whom facetime is important. Viva technology!
So yes, it won’t be a year-long holiday, but simply working from a different space.
It is a plan I have been working on for a couple of years, ever since my sons moved to Europe from sunny South Africa. I miss them, and I also miss my brother in Denmark, my aunts and uncles, my cousins in the Netherlands, a couple of friends who live in Europe, too. I need to strengthen those ties, I need to find out more about my family’s history – there is so much I missed out on living so far away from them all.
Lengthy discussions with the greatest of husbands followed – he who never stands in my way, he who always supports me in everything I do.
We agreed that our marriage of fifteen years could survive this, we agreed that others have done this and succeeded, that the world has indeed become a village. I have a friend in Johannesburg whose husband lives and works in Melbourne, Australia (he will be in Johannesburg on Easter weekend, just to show us that he is not an imaginary firend, she says); a former colleague, also in Johannesburg, whose wife works as a nurse in Kazakstan; a close friend who lives in the southern Cape while her husband works in Johannesburg, 1 500 kilometres apart; another former colleague who remained in Johannesburg while his wife teaches in the Middle East, his daughter works with horses in Frankfurt, Germany, and his son attends a school for performing arts in New York. If they can, then so can we.
And now, with my oldest son and his wife living in Basel, Switzerland, and the youngest in Lyon, France, the time has come to make my move. I bought my air ticket and am off to Lyon on 23 May to be there for the youngest’s 28th birthday, and by the end of May I’ll be on a speed train direction Basel.
I considered going to Lyon for a couple of months as well, but there is that one problem with the French… I have no idea what they’re on about, I don’t speak French at all. Wish I did. I decided Basel would the best destination for this adventure, besides the Netherlands. I speak Dutch and lived in Germany for two years as a young teenager; I will pick up on German in no time!
Watch this space for sporadic updates about my adventure – blogging is not my strongest point!