I’ve had a lot of people wanting to know what’s next for J and I. What happens after Africa you’re asking? Are we in love? Will I return to the states or be lost forever out here in the world with J? Well, the time has come to make some decisions. J has to go back to London to see his family, then he’s moving to Berlin for work. So, what about me? Do I go with him and move to Berlin? Or carry on traveling? Maybe return to the states?

We’ve been mulling all this over for a while now, back and forth with all the various options. We can’t postpone it any longer. With heavy hearts, we’ve decided to depart from Kigali in different directions. Africa has been beautiful and we’ve shared so much together. It’s so hard to imagine saying goodbye, it really is; and it does seem a bit premature to break things off. We’re not fighting, we do get along well, have fun together and in many ways we are well suited for one another. But over the 3 months we’ve been traveling it’s become apparent that we didn’t see this having a long-term happy ending and that it would likely all fall apart. So if we feel that to be true at 3 months, how could we carry on.

You know, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life when it comes to relationships… So many I’ve lost count! With much reflection I see though that in almost all long term failed relationships, I had denied certain truths to myself early on. I would overlook important things or deny something was missing because they were good people and I cared about them so much. I’ve been doing this in some way, shape or form since I was fifteen. I suppose that comes from not having known myself and not having clear views of what was important to me.

Traveling this year, being away from everything and taking some time for myself – for the first time in my life – I can finally say I DO know myself and I can make healthy decisions for my future. And that means having the strength to say goodbye to someone I really care about without it turning into a 2 or 4-year+ proposition. I mean let’s face it, at our age we have to be smarter than that.

So that’s where we’re at, J and I. He’s got a plan and things are in motion for him; going to Berlin to begin something new. As for me, it’s been a tough decision. Well, not so much a tough decision as it was a fuzzy, somewhat unclear decision. For the first time since I’ve left the U.S., I haven’t had a clear feeling of, ‘yes I am going there next’, wherever ‘there’ happened to be. The emotion of the relationships end has left me feeling a bit clouded, I suppose.

When I look at this trip in it’s simplest form though, I had two main goals when I left the states. 1) To get through all the emotional healing from the divorce and work through the scars life leaves us with, and 2) To find a new creative career path for myself so I don’t have to return to the world of construction. I feel I have pretty well succeeded with Phase 1, but I have much work to do transitioning into Phase II.

So, here I’ve been at a crossroads, feeling a bit lost and emotional. I’ve always been a proponent for love and I will to my dying day take a detour in the name of love; it’s just who I am. Whether it’s for a cup of chai or a trip to Africa. But I have to be strong enough to jump off the detour if it’s not going in the right direction. I made a promise to myself before I left for Africa; if everything felt right with the relationship I’d happily go to Berlin with him (not that I expect relationships to be 24/7 moonbeams and butterflies – no, no, I know better than that), but if there was any inner conflict I’d say goodbye no matter how much it hurt. Sounds crazy, but I had to make myself this promise.

Before I decided to take the detour to Africa with J, my plan was to head to Thailand where I could live cheaply (all in $500/mth!!!) and really dedicate some energy to starting something new for my future. I have really been exhausted with all this moving around I’ve been doing for a year, so I’m not inclined to keep traveling. It’s true it would’ve been a natural stopping point for me to come back to the states now, but since I’ve made minimal efforts towards Phase II, I feel it would be premature to return.

At this point to be honest, I’m not feeling so creative or inspired, but maybe if I jump back to the original plan before the ‘To Africa with Love’ detour and get comfortable in Thailand, I’ll get reinspired and the creative energy will flow again. If I succeed at something creative or not, it doesn’t really matter, but I have to at least go out there and try. I can always come back to the states and work a 9 to 5 job. I can’t always be in the frame of mind to live in a strange foreign place away from everyone I know.

It does feel so strange and conflicting to part ways. Right now it feels like J’s the only person I know out here and I’m saying goodbye.  But that’s where we’re at. Now you know. J and I say goodbye tonight and we’ll fly away to different parts of the world; J, back to London, me to Chiang Mai.  At least we still have our shared kindle libraries.