Friday 28th of December 2012 
10:30am:  I am sitting in my office in Stockholm. It is normally bustling with 40 plus staff members but today? I am alone.  The emptiness of the tall ceilings seems to reflect the turmoil that is brewing inside me, while last night’s discussion and its abrupt ending only serves to feed the unsettled itch.  I have been sitting here for a couple hours and have achieved exactly nothing, it has been like this all week, but today it is worse. I need to escape.

11:30am: Done. Hands still shaking from the rush, clammy as I stick my credit card back in my wallet and re-read the email I just sent to my boss:

“Hej,

I have a small personal issue that I need to take care of. Though it requires me to be away for a bit, returning to work on Friday the 11th.

The only urgent meeting I shall miss is kicking off the eager/lazy project on Tues, but Jonas can handle that for me.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I will have my laptop on me so can be reached via email for any emergencies.

Regards,

Saturday 29th of December 2012 
06:30am (CET): Delta airlines ticketing lady at Arlanda airport, “No, your card has not been charged, we were unable to issued the ticket yesterday as we require 24 hours notice for online bookings. I can issue the ticket now if you like?”

If I were at all superstitious or maybe the least bit sensible I would have told her not to worry and turned around to go home and back to bed.  I am not. With 50 minutes to take off, I find myself handing over my credit card details to book a trans-Atlantic flight for the second time in as many days.  She apologies for not being able to book a vegetarian meal for the first leg of the flight, but says I should speak to the ground staff in Paris to see if they can arrange something for me.

10:30pm (MST):  After 26 hours of travel I am sitting on the doorstep of an empty house in the idle suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.  It is surprisingly chilly and I am glad for having travelled from the -14 °C of Stockholm.  Despite having been awake for over 30 hours, the cool night air, incessant yapping of dogs alarmed by a stranger at their doorstep and the million thoughts vying for attention in my head are keeping me awake.  The thought that dominates presents itself, “You stupid fool, she has no reason to even let you through the door let alone listen to what you have to say. Where do you intend on sleeping tonight?”

Monday 14th January 2013
10:00am (CET):  Back in Stockholm, the calm provided by the escape to Arizona beginning to fade but the clarity of thoughts remains. Or maybe the clarity has only broken through as the haze from a weekend in LA finally dissipates.  Either way I know the conversation I am having is the right one:

Boss: What did you want to talk to me about?
Me: Well, and I am sorry for starting your week off on a difficult note, but I want to hand in my resignation.
Boss: Oh, I did not expect that. Are you going somewhere else, don’t you like Stockholm?
Me: No. I really like Stockholm, but I’m burnt out, I just can’t do this anymore.
Boss: I understand, are you going to stay in Stockholm?  What is your plan?
Me: No, it is too expensive to be unemployed in Stockholm. I don’t have a plan; I don’t know what I want to do. I just know it is not this.  Maybe I will go back to South Africa for a bit?

That was event two.   Okay so it was a series of events but they culminated in where we are today.  As of the end of April I shall be a vagabond, my life condensed to a backpack; my dreams and desires opened wide and allowed to explore what it means to be free, with no given cause.

I have recently enjoyed the scribbling and pictures of other friends who have set themselves on similar adventures.  Since I have not had the foresight to define an end goal, destination or date to this chapter of my life; I have no doubt that the experiences and interactions with others will influence my direction before I set off and along the way.  In fact that that is a requirement of this chapter and one I urge you to get involved in.  How you ask?  Well let us start by choosing my shell.