Pre-departure Restlessness

Sangya Gyawali
June 13, 2015

I know what you’re going to ask, have you started packing yet? No, no I have not. There are three days left and I’m too caught up between restless excitement and nervous anticipation.

It’s hard to believe that I’ll be in Cape Town on Wednesday, basking under sun, frolicking in the sands of the Indian Ocean shore. Although it is winter there, Cape Town Magazine promises me temperatures in the mid to high 60’s- I’ll take it (I’m not a big fan of high heat anyways)! Although, I have flipped through numerous books exploring the cultures of South Africa, its politics, people, and the like, I don’t yet feel “prepared”. And, for a lack of better words, “it hasn’t hit me yet.” This is similar to my experience before leaving for Uganda last summer. It had only “hit me” when the plane left the ground and there was literally no turning back.

Since the rush of finals week everything leading up to this point has been quite ordinary. From making last minute plans with friends to staying home flipping through T.V channels, I am consumed with routine comfort and consistency. Don’t get me wrong, I love and cherish every minute I get to spend with friends and the aroma of my mom’s cooking…but it’s been 42 days, 12 hours, and 20 seconds of it! As much as I love the comfort of home I crave the luring pull of the unknown. I’ve had much needed R&R these past few weeks and more than enough time to embrace my homebody self. But, Cape Town is clearly screaming my name at this point.

Ok, I lied earlier saying that I haven’t started packing. I have been reading like crazy, updating my playlist for my 17 hour flight from Washington D.C to South Africa, mentally organizing my clothes, making a bucket list for my trip, but nothing tangible has been placed in my suitcase yet (I’ll get there eventually). Regardless of my inability to act in times of excitement, here are some essentials I’ll be packing.

Books:  The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz & Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (a gift from one of my professors last semester that I’ve put off until now)




A pair of shorts (among many)

An umbrella

A wide pair of glittering eyes

Behind all this anxiousness is a longing to return to Africa- a place where I discovered so much of myself last year.  Uganda gave me an acute awareness of the world around me. I need a similar experience, something that will catalyze my expansion further and add on to my understanding of the world. The promise of new tastes, sounds, and experiences fuels my being and my insomnia kicks in high gear. Are there only 3 days left? Is this even happening? What will I do when I first get there? It’s 2am and as I continue to lose sleep I have come to a decision- I am giving up on trying to feel prepared, whatever that means. It’s a losing battle anyways. It’s much wiser to let the experience shape itself, embrace the uncertainty so the restlessness can loosen its grip on me. More importantly, I have to start packing!

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” – Richard Dahl

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Sangya Gyawali

<p>My name is Sangya Gyawali. I am a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh and an Anthropology major and a Chemistry minor. I am an adventure enthusiast and a real foodie. I hope to foster my love for cultures and people this summer while studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Join me as I capture new experiences from different perspectives through words and photos.</p>

2015 Summer 1, 2015 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
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