How to Plant a Fairy

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been captivated by fairies. I’d imagine them sheltering in majestic trees, invisible to the human eye. They would glide between the leaves, whispering secrets to the birds and making cosy beds among the branches, forever safe, protected, and held by the grounded tree. I was so captivated that at times I believed I was a fairy; that I could fly up high among the butterflies, the clouds, the sky.

Zimbabwia and I wait outside our campsite in Lagos, a southerly, Atlantic hugging town in Portugal. I knew that we’d made the right choice to come here, that this would be the destination where I would finally have some answers, some direction and some guidance.

Any minute now, Mayatitta, the mysterious witchy woman from Lisbon will come to collect me. I’ve booked a personal retreat with her to attend to my heart healing. My stomach does backflips, my mind monkeying into an array of freaky scenarios. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know this woman, and yet I do know I trust her.

My worries melt away when she arrives and greets us with a longgg hug; a hug that confirms, I’ve made the right decision, and everything is going to be fine. She then turns to Zimbabawia and reassures her: She’s in safe hands. A wave of guilt washes over me; I hadn’t even considered that this would also be a worrisome time for Zimbabwia. I squeeze her hand in parting and then we leave.

We head to find a quiet, shaded spot in a park behind the medieval town walls. Nearby you can hear the cold Atlantic Ocean churning. Mayatitta asks me to find a space and write down my intention for the day — what I want to gain from this healing session — while she prepares.

Plonking myself on the grass, I stare at the blank paper. What do I want? I let my pen tell me:

To understand my powers and my purpose
To unite my inner and outer world
To heal my heart

Satisfied with what I have written, I return to Mayatitta and find the space transformed. Rugs, crystals, oils, and some burning things that I do not recognise but later learn are sweet, earthy palo santo and herbaceous sage. She managed to create a ritual space in a public park, in Lagos. Some seriously witchy shit.

We sit opposite one another. Following Mayatitta’s lead, I take her hands and close my eyes. She invites spirits to be with us on this journey. Releasing my hands, she asks me to place my intention at the ‘altar’ — I quickly decipher that the altar is the holy looking space with candles and crystals. I am in total surrender to this experience.

Mayatitta looks fully into my eyes and asks me to share what has brought me here.

Taking a deep inhale, I summarise my tales of self-destruction with, of self-abandonment, and my addiction to love. I’m trapped in a loop, and my heart breaks every time I go for another round.

Thanking me for my sharing, Mayatitta begins to explain what chakras are and what happens when they are blocked. I frantically take notes with more enthusiasm than I ever did in any university class — Why has no one told me this?

After an hour of intellectual learning, we move into the massage, however, before beginning, Mayatitta has an offer – ganja.

You expressed that ganja was a powerful tool for you to reach the 5th dimension. I wondered if you wanted to have a small bit now, with the intention for it to heal and guide you in this process.

The proposal stumps me, I had only just vowed to my friends that I would never smoke again, but this is a healer, and if anyone surely I am safe with her.

So I do it — just two tiny puffs.

My body becomes heavy, and I lie down. Mayatitta begins to work her magic, and within moments, my back drips in fragrant, silky oils. Mayatita’s hands connect with my back, and together we create a bond. Her hands, my body, our breath, the scents and the thrum of the psytrance create pure alchemy.

And then I sense a familiar change from deep within. My rationalising brain is saying stop but reason has no power where I am going. I drift deeper into relaxation and feel myself slipping. Mayatitta’s rhythm changes and I jolt back into reality, willing myself to stay here. But the force is too great. I’ve stepped over the edge. Looking down at what should be solid ground, I see the endless void of the fifth dimension. No longer am I a body, no longer is there time, gravity; I am powerless. FUCK, I don’t want to go here again!

But it’s too late — Even as I shout ‘NO!’ I’m falling in.

I’ve got you, I’ve got you, you’re here, you’re here on earth, in Lagos, in Portugal with me, open your eyes. I open my eyes. In disbelief I find myself 50 metres away from our ritual space, and a sudden flashback shows my body sprinting away in terror.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, Mayatitta leads me back to the rug, lays me down gently, and requests permission to help me re-ground with reiki. I give my surrendered consent.

She places cool, heavy crystals from the altar onto my body — one on each chakra. My eyes are closed, yet I know she has begun the reiki; I can feel her energy in me. If I were to look down, I know I would see her hands hovering above my base chakra — like a liquid, radiant heat transmitting from her hands into my whole genitalia. I visualise my internal organs glowing red. How the fuck is she doing this?

Her hands glide one by one to concentrate on each chakra; with each I feel the sensation of radiating heat unlocking hidden volts from deep within. Once unlocked the stagnant wastelands of energy leave my body and I grow lighter and lighter.

Her hands reach my heart. My breath quickens as the radiant heat intensifies, burning like the sun is deep inside the centre of my chest – painful and inescapable. Mayatitta’s chanting wills me to surrender to this experience— I cry out as a force suctions me forward and my entire chest rips off the ground. My back is arched, my hands clenched like claws, my mouth agape, like a scene from the exorcism.

I thump to the ground, and Mayatitta, unwavering, continues to chant her way through the last of the higher chakras, like a true witch. I’m distantly aware of the more subtle heat that passes through my throat, my third eye, and up to my crown and whether through exhaustion or magic, I fall into a deep sleep.

Dribbling, I awake. Am I still in the park? Whose lap is this? It’s Mayatitta’s!
Hey my love, how are you? Woah, that was some serious shit you’ve been carrying.

Urging me to stay lying down, she nourishes my body with food and water. Even for Mayatitta, it was rare to witness such an intense opening.

She explains how enormously porous I am to external energies, how I open the gates for everyone, and anything to come inside and use my body.

And then some words I will never forget:

You cannot do this. You need to learn how to be grounded, to master your emotions. You chose to be here on this earth, so you need to learn how to root down, like a tree.

And so I learned that whilst I’d been admiring the fairies for so long, true elevation had always lied within the tree.

Artwork by my absolute favourite prayerpiece drawer merakilabbe

My deep and humbled gratitude to Mayatitta Devi — if you are ever in Portugal find her

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Is it Time for Heart Healing?

In the days that follow the Another Visit to the Stars event, I am humiliated, vulnerable, and afraid of what happens next. So, like many vulnerable times before, I decide that a man and his cock will surely penetrate away my need to face reality.

The man I find happens to look like Thor — dribble — and he does indeed hammer me for three days, though on the fourth night, while dancing in a dingy Portuguese nightclub he casually asks ‘Chloe you do you mind if I hook up with another chick?’

I am devastated, well that’s an understatement — I run out of the nightclub and wail in the streets of Lisbon screaming

With a face of horror, Thor finds me the corner, requesting access to me as my friends guard me. He kneels down to mournfully explain that he had assumed I was a liberal, polyamerous being, and that he’d genuinely thought I would be happy with him kissing another woman.

The assumption strikes me…of course he believes this falsity. I portray myself to BE that woman. I don’t dare to show the soft, broken, vulnerable, and lonely side of me who so longs to be loved — who would hook up with her?

The next morning I awake with a hardening in my stomach and words from a dream whispering — Your heart chakra is blocked. Determined to make change, I intuitively google – Heart Chakra. I’ve been doing yoga for a long time and always hear about these chakras but it wasn’t until recently I learnt that they can become blocked. My google search leads me to a FB group; Portugal Conscious Community.
Without thinking twice, I post:

I need help…I’m writing here because I don’t know what else to do. I think my heart chakra is blocked, I am trapped in a loop of getting hurt by men over and over again. I don’t know how to stop it? I don’t know how to help myself? Please?

I press post, and leave the house alone, again letting intuition walk my legs up the steep, cobbled streets until the place: a hairdressers. Walking out I feel 50% better with my shimmering, revibratised red hair. Continuing my destiny lead walk, I round the corner and spot a tattoo studio. Why not? An hour later, I leave with my membership to the Self Love Club.

A long time ago, my friend and I discussed that some people have to get cut down before they learn to get up again. She and I however, need to get cut down, spit on, trampled by elephants, and pissed on by an alley cat before we realise we need to GET UP.

This was my moment.

I was stinking of alley-cat-piss and I was ready to take a fuckin shower. My hair and my tattoo, as cliche as it may sound, filled me with a deep knowing that a time for CHANGE had arrived.

When I returned to my surprised friends and my iPad, I saw that a woman from Lagos had messaged me saying that she’d seen my call for help on FB. She was a healer and held personalised one-day retreats to work on blockages such as my heart chakra. It was too good to be true. I scrolled to her her pricing and the traveller in me gave a cough cough,
Hey gal, I know you wanna make a change but you just spent a lot of money on your visual transformation. Now you wanna travel all the way to Lagos and spend 150 euros as well? I don’t think so.

So, I pushed the brakes on change.

After the rest of the crew had departed Zimbabwia, North Star and I took ourselves to a calm hostel with a pool. There, we simply took much needed recovery time. I spent a lot of time on my own feeling there was an unreachable rift between Zimbabwia and I. Finally one night the girls confessed how they were both still suffering from the Another Visit to the Stars experience. They needed time, but they wanted to make sure that I was okay?

It was horrible. Like something from the movies where you’re the unstable friend everyone has their eye on, waiting for shit to go down. After some days of rest, an event came up in Lisbon with a DJ we all knew and liked. Maybe some good old dancing will shake off this discomfort, we thought, and bought tickets.

Dressed up, I feel like my normal self again, until Zimbabwia says,
You’re not going to take anything today are you?
It is a completely understandable question on her end; she’s just seen me in a state that even I don’t remember. She spent hours bringing me back to reality and she doesn’t want to do it again.

Regardless of the ocean of emotions the question has triggered inside me I tell her
I’ll be fine. I slap on a cute outfit and away we go.

Back once more in a humming techno crowd I just can’t get into the vibe. Taking a break from the dancefloor I bump into a Melbourne sister — Star Sister — she immediately senses that I am emotional and asks if I want to sit down. I hardly know this girl yet suddenly I am telling her all about my recent, fucked up, experiences of turning into a star, becoming the whole universe and believing that most likely I am going insane.

Hey, she says beaming, You are not crazy! You are having an awakening, you are a star, we all are. All human beings are made of stardust. I know because I’ve had the same experience, I’ve experienced what it feels like to be the infinite nothingness. We are all one and you are completely extraordinary.

Her words are like a river of angels singing into my ears, this cannot be true. Tears stream down my face as she reaches over to pull me in. For the first time in weeks, I feel safe, seen, and sane.

As Star Sister holds me, I sense someone coming towards us. Becoming self-aware of my dance floor crying, I release the embrace and find a woman standing over us,
I’m sorry to interrupt, but are you Chloe?

Yes? I stammer. I have no recollection of this curly haired, witchy-looking Portuguese woman. I’m Mayatitta, I wrote to you on Facebook about having a healing, I live in Lagos but this morning I woke up and felt a call to come to this event.

Star Sister grabs me by the shoulders laughing, Do you see now?! This is no coincidence you are not crazy, you are magical!

The tears are erupting now, Mayatitta holds me and gives me an ointment from her bag — This is a heart chakra oil that I always carry with me, take it. All three of us are embracing and I’m sobbing when North Star and Zimbabwaia come over to see what the hell is happening.

While I explain the days ‘coincidence’ meetings their pent up stress, fear and trauma turns to disbelief, then disbelief gives way to belief. Belief that every fucked up thing that has happened, just might be true.

I turn to Mayatitta. What are you doing tomorrow? I think it’s time for heart healing.

Thank you to my friends for always believing in me, even when it’s been pretty fucking scary.

Photo by @abundantlilly

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Another Visit to the Stars

It was hard for me to write this tale.

Though it was more than one year ago, it still feels so fresh, so scary. I can feel my chest constricting as I revisit the memories. But writing is my form of
reflection, and reflection enables my growth. So here I go…

Boom week is over and yet instead of having a much needed week off, Zimbabawia, North Star and I are heading to the coast of Portugal.

It’s a feat to organise a group holiday this cosmopolitan: friends from Australia, Afrikaburn, Finland, and two new girls are all rolling into our Airbnb. This will no doubt be another week of madness.

We are a sea of energetic accents sitting upon the balcony and by the time the sun is setting a party is brewing. Every nook and cranny of the enormous house is beginning to transform into a melting pot of euphoria. Zimbabwia is face-painting tessellations in the kitchen, strangers are puffing giant joints on the balcony, tanned Aussies are doing lines on bathroom surfaces.

Danny Dishes, our personal DJ, sets up UEBooms in the living room and his deep-dirty beats intensifies the sticky heat on the dancefloor. The floor is littered with clothing and sweaty bodies gyrate with abandon.

I speculate that I may not be in for the best Airbnb rating but, Oh well. This is a once in a lifetime reunion — nothing could ruin this moment.

Or so I thought.

Having partied all night, the first morning light blemishes the black sky. We stumble our way to the balcony for one last group gathering before winding down and going to bed. Someone rolls a joint that gets passed around the circle. I’m exhausted but wired and happily take two tokes to help calm my chemical drenched brain — but before I can even pass the blunt to North Star, I am gone.

If you’ve read It’s Burn Time Baby then you will be familiar with the split in this tale. What I experience in my mind, and what is experienced on solid earth.

Suddenly, I am being pulled back into the fifth dimension and sitting in the front row of a live theatre performance of my past. In the opening scene, I’m a child running through the vibrant green fields of Northern Ireland, where I grew up. Scene two, I’m on a plane leaving my family behind. I start to cry and guardian angels whisper to me: ‘We’re doing this again because you didn’t quite understand our last message. You’re not from the stars, you are a star on earth.’

‘I don’t understand!’ I wail. So they show me.

I’m suspended in nothingness and I feel with absolute clarity that I’m no longer a body, but instead, I’m a million particles. I’m every cell of the universe, of air, of water, of sound, of energy. I am music — I am space — I am infinite.

Then solid earth pulls me back and in shock I realise I am not suspended in nothingness, I am in Portugal with my friends, and then the panic sets in: What is my human body is doing?

I open my eyes and I’m in the living room. How did I get in the living room? Familiar faces are close by. North Star is sobbing with a look of terror in her eyes, Zimbabwia whispers soothingly, ‘Shhh you’re here, you’re in Portugal. We’ve got you.’ Nameless faces stand back too scared to help, too terrified to look away.

I am humiliated. My instinct tells me to escape. I begin running towards the stairs but feel my feet lift off the ground, my body now cradled by Bear, a loving friend. But before he can soothe me, I am sucked back into the fifth dimension once again.

I cry out to my guardian angels: ‘Why?! Why are you doing this to me? I don’t want it!’

‘Now that all your friends see you this way you won’t be able to pretend anymore. We’re sorry it had to be this way, but we‘re helping you get back on your path.’

‘Doing what!?’ It’s North Star’s voice. ‘Hunny we’re not doing anything! We want to help you. How can we help you?!’

I’m back on earth again, and to my horror realise that this conversation is taking place aloud in both worlds. I am tourmented by how fucking insane I look… am?

In a desperate plea for dignity, I demand to be taken to my room. Zimbabwia and North Star escort me and for the next three hours they do their best to support me with meditative chanting while I thrash in-between two worlds.

I see visions of my past, my future. I beg the angels to let me go back to solid earth. I feel that only once they believe I’ve received ‘the message’ do they begin to relinquish their grip on me.

The sound of Zimbabawia chanting becomes more and more audible, and real, and I know I’ll stay back in their company this time. With a glimmer of hope, I seize my last change and beg: ‘Will you please let all of this have been a dream? Turn back time, whatever you have to do — I promise I won’t forget my lesson.’

‘Okay, we will,’ they whisper. However something in their tone sounds like an empty promise. But for my exhausted mind and body it is enough to finally surrender me to Zimbabwias healing. She hovers above me, speaking grounding words and smearing me with healing aromas.

When I wake up, this will all have been a dream…


Chicks before dicks. Sisters before misters. Breasticles before testicles. Whichever one you choose the message is the clear — one doesn’t ditch their mates in order to get their pussy wet.

If you have read my tales you may have noticed that during festivals, or life in general, I don’t exactly follow this ethic. When I set my eyes upon a man, I fall completely into his world.

I’ve never questioned this falling and nor have my friends, they’ve always allowed me to just be me. So when we arrive to BOOM festival and I quickly slip into a new man’s world I don’t think anything of it…until I do.

It’s our first night at the big arsed BOOM in Portugal; my African world swapped for a European Psytrance festival. Dancing by my side in this sea of colourful humans are Zimbabwia, North Star and Wally, three of my dearest girlfriends. Joining us are ten other brand new best friends.

Festivals are like that. Good cunts know good cunts so relationships happen on fast forward. Despite the 30 000 people at this festival, it feels like we have the tightest crew going around.

Forming a human chain we make our way to the Chill Out stage. Upon arrival we copy the other dancers and remove our shoes and as I bend down to undo mine I tune into my heart — it’s pounding. I’m filled with the electricity of all these happy humans who’ve travelled far and wide to be together for the same thing: love, unity, freedom, music.

This electricity fills me up like a helium balloon, and when I sprinkle substances into the mix I allow myself to lift off and float up into la-la land.

I’m flying high on the dancefloor when I spot him — a beautiful Desert Man. I slither my way beside him — prowler mode activated. He has skin like Zimbabwia’s something that belongs to desert lands. His hair sways by his shoulders and a scarf wraps effortlessly around his head. The bare chest and Aladdin jacket tip me over the edge. What a babe. Without having spoken a word, I know this man is Israeli.

My tunnel vision is on and he senses my hungry gaze. As though born listening to these dreamy desert beats, he spins effortlessly to face me.

The girls and I had discussed having an early first night, but they are all too familiar with ‘the look’ I get when I’m consumed by a man and so whisper in my ear ‘Goodnightttt. Have fun!’

Once they leave I feel glad that they have gone and can now drown myself in this beautiful being. The music ups in tempo and Desert Man and I begin weaving together like two serpents dancing to a flute. I’ve never danced so spiritually with a man. I can feel the vibrations between us: my fingertips spark every time I brush against his body.

Once the set has ended, I begin to wonder what will happen next? Desert Man seems to hear my thoughts and asks:

‘Want to come and see something cool?’

‘Hell yeah!’ I beam without hesitation.

He takes me by the hand and leads me to the colossal main stage — The Dance Temple — which is closed off and still under construction. Peeking through the barriers I discover its true magnitude and grandeur, I’ve never seen anything like it — an Ottoman Mosque on acid. Holding up the geometric shade cloths are rows of giant columns decorated in vibrational patterns of colour, light and energy. When this place opens it will be big enough for a psytrance army.

Why on earth has he brought me here? Again reading my thoughts he smiles at me as we breeze past the security guard and behind the barrier.

Moving as though invisible amongst the frantic people attending to finishing touches, we find our way onto the main stage. I become intrigued about my guide’s forwardness and familiarity with this epic project.

It turns out the stage artist is Israeli and Desert Man knows him well, as he himself constructs art for midburn (Israeli burning man). I’m dead.

I need no persuading when he asks me back to his all Israeli camp site. I fucking love Israelis. My new friends welcome me into their world and I notice how at ease I am, how comfortable; how light friendship is. I’m having such a good time that when Desert Man asks me to come hang by the lake, I feel vaguely disappointed to leave.

The lakeside seems to be a designated lovers hangout. On either side of us I can hear couples meeting in various ways, a moan to my left, whispering to my right — are those balls slapping or lake waves? I’m aware that Desert Man and I will soon join the chorus.

He kisses me and we start to twirl together on the grass. Although a tender lover, the weight of his big heavy body makes me feel like a little fairy.

As he undresses me, the warm night air brushes my naked back. I straddle him, my hands exploring his strong, carpenters body. He spreads my legs apart and pleasures me with his hands. My moans encourage him and he makes his way down on me. I’m lost in lust when he swivels his torso around. As I take his penis in my hand I notice how different it feels with no foreskin to fondle.

‘I have condoms,’ he says, as he pulls me back up to face him.

Once he’s wrapped up he pushes himself deep inside me.

When we finish he invites me to stay the night. This is nice and I say yes.

Morning comes and with sleep still in our eyes we enjoy sweaty tent sex. Greeting us as we climb gingerly from the tent are his entire crew, inviting me to share some lunch. But something inside prevents me — ‘No sorry, I’d better get back to my crew’.

I skip home feeling grateful for a sexy night with a yummy man, I can’t wait to tell the girls. Just as I reach the campsite Wally calls out:

‘There you bloody are! We’re about to go!’

I spot North Star by our tent and her face lights up as she turns to see me. I can see in her eyes how excited she is. Excited, because not seeing me was in fact a real possibility.

Her unconditional love and acceptance of who I am, what I do, smacks me in the face. I almost missed spending the day with my friends because of my pattern to be so instantly absorbed in someone else’s world.

‘Well go on, wet wipe your ass and get ready! The Dance Temple is about to open!’ shouts Wally again, snapping me back to my beautiful reality, my world full of beautiful friends who are right here waiting for me to fall into them.

North Star jumps into the tent with me to help me get ready. As she hands me a fresh pair of underwear I swear to myself that the rest of this festival will be dedicated to my friends and if a man wants to join me, he’ll have to join my world.

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Image taken from Boom Offical — see you in 2020!

Hairy Pits Take Europe

So apparently I’m a hippie now. I have a weird haircut, I wear random clothes, I travel for a lifestyle but most notably, I no longer tame my body hair. I didn’t used to look like this, I waxed my underarms, shaved my legs, and scheduled my monthly Brazilian appointments. I loathed the cost, effort and pain of hair removal, but I did it because ‘that’s what women do’ and… what man will want to eat out a hairy vagina?

This bohemien change occurred in the desert where I released my wild woman — in many ways. The most visible way being my body hair.

In the desert my waxed pits were the odd ones out; practically all the female volunteers were rocking their natural foliage. Never before had I wished for my pits to hurry up and grow back. Once they eventually filled out I felt a sense of pride raising my arms alongside my desert sisters.

When the desert time came to an end and we were heading to Namibia, I intended to remove the hair but Zimbabawia, Mumma Africa and Impy persuaded me not too.

‘It looks great! Al natural gal.’

And so I was convinced to keep my natural hairs even in the ‘real world’. I didn’t think much about it until my road trip with the Namibia boys. Being in their handsome presence I felt the blush of self-consciousness come over me. Still seeking further reassurance I decided to ask Lekker Boy and Mumma Lover what they thought of my pit-Afro.

‘It’s great! That’s your true self.’

‘You totally rock it!’

Although it pains me to say, the validation of two men over my three female friends made it so much easier to accept my hairy new look and believe others would accept it too.

What the fuck had society done to my brain?

So, I did it — I embraced my natural hairs. While we drove down the desert roads of Namibia I let my them flap gracefully in the wind. As I danced to Afrobeats in Rwanda I threw my arms in the air without hesitation. When I became intimate with Honey he lovingly stroked my hairy pits as though they were the most natural thing in the world — which they were.

Now, seven weeks later, I have become used to this new furry version of myself. I find myself tenderly fondling the thick, black bush of my pits and vag.

Reunited with Mumma Africa, our departure date creeps up on us and I feel that same insecurity resurface — I don’t know if I can face taking my natural hairs on a plane destined for Europe.

Why is Europe any different than Africa you ask?

Europe is where I’m meeting a bunch of non-hairy friends. Europe is where fashion becomes important again. Europe is where the German lives — and I know beyond a doubt that he won’t like my pitAfro.

Tormented by these social pressures I turn to Mumma Africa and Zimbabwia for help and we decide to do a little research…

We find out that in the 1920s there was as a dramatic change in women’s fashion. Dresses became shorter and tighter, sleeves were removed — the body was the new biggest statement. So with all these limbs on show some scheming advertisers from the men’s hair removal industry began to target women’s hair and their self-esteem

Advertisements featuring joyous women in slick summer dresses with hairless underarms began popping up in women’s magazines. These advertisements promoted hair removal products that dealt with ‘unclean’ hairs and promoted ‘female loveliness’.

Hold on a minute — unclean? Women were bombarded with a message that the natural hairs they’d always known were now suddenly unclean, unsightly and unfeminine.

So clearly I’d been unknowingly programed so to speak. But this discovery did prompt me to have the invaluable realisation — once upon a time, not so long ago, all women were hairy, and none of them knew and felt any damn different.

Keeping my natural hairs is not me making a grand hippy gesture — it’s me just like my fellow al-natural sisters from the 1920s!

So no thank you Mr Gillette!

Empowered by a vision of hairy women of the past and the support of the women in my present, I throw my unused wax and razor away, then continue packing. Tomorrow we wave goodbye to Mumma Africa and Mount Kilimanjaro and board a flight to Portugal — my pitAfro can hardly wait to arrive.

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Before setting out on this journey I was in a state of doing, a state of achieving: complete two years of career work so you look stable on your resume, save up enough money to go away, and try to find a man to nourish your sexual and emotional desires while working.

I’d discuss my trip with friends. Where are you going? What are you wanting from this trip? When will you come home? I never had the answer to these questions, just felt this trip was going to mean something, something big.

When I asked for a year of leave, I knew it was pointless. I knew I wouldn’t be back, yet couldn’t bring myself to relinquish the security of a job. When I sublet my room it was the same. I told the renter she could stay for one year when deep inside I knew I wouldn’t be coming home to my quaint St Kilda apartment in one year, or ever again.

As I waved goodbye to my dear mum and boarded the plane, a tiny voice inside me whispered:

You won’t be coming back to this life.

Thirty hours later, I walked out of the Zanzibar airport. I had done it. I had closed the door on my past and my present had arrived. At this point, I could only imagine what this trip would reveal; all the adventure I’d been craving.

While snorkeling off Nungwi in Zanzibar we met a guy who had been travelling for five years. I mentioned we planned to be in Africa for seven months and he laughed.

‘Seven months?! But you won’t see anything!’ smiled the Nomad.

Something about his snail’s pace attitude called to me, and yet was so far from me, from what I was doing now. How can one travel for five years? I started to wonder.

Four months later at AfrikaBurn I had my opening where something deep in my core had been shaken. I could feel the beating of wings, trapped beneath my skin. The beating was growing louder — asking to be freed. I knew this was a message that wouldn’t be ignored.

With this feeling still aching inside and the words of the nomad echoing in the mind, Zimbabwia and I started to plot how we could become our own Nomads. One afternoon whilst plotting how to extend the length of this trip, we received a text message. A friend of ours, Jerome was dead, murdered in gang violence.

Jerome was a member of our Afrikaburn family. He was one of the first coloured* people to work for DPW. During our weeks in the desert he was a larger than life legend, whose energy was infectious.

I knew only the beautiful surface of Jerome, nevertheless felt the startling impact of his death. The desert changed Jerome, just like it did me. Our eyes were opened to the possibilities of non-judgemental, non-racist, non-elitist, non-sexist, utter freedom that life could be.

Death, they say is one of our greatest teachers of the fragility and impermanence of life. The death of a person who I’d so recently connected with, was the last gentle push towards surrendering to the potential of this journey.

I no longer view this journey as a trip, but as my life. I want to learn in this life by being IN it. I want to acquire more skills than a degree can teach me. I want to open myself to the opportunities life puts on my path because I’m not stuck to a plan. I want to allow myself to be guided by the universe.

I don’t want to wait. Life is literally, too short.

Jerome, I’m so sorry you had to be the lesson. But somehow I think you enjoy looking down and seeing the mark you’ve made on us. When we look to the sky we know there’s a new star shining down.

Your life, as much as your death, has made that whispering voice a whole lot louder. I can’t ignore it now. I’m not going back to that life.

After Zimbabwia and I cried looking up at your star, I took out my iPad and wrote my resignation.

As soon as I pressed the send button, I felt the skin on my back stretching open as my wings of freedom burst free.

Coloured – In South Africa ‘Coloured’ or ‘Cape Coloureds’ are an ethnic group composed of persons primarily of mixed race. At first this term shocked and offended me however I soon learned that coloured people like Jerome took no offence to the name and used it to proudly define themselves.

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