If you follow me on Instagram, you may have watched my recent stories while I was in South Africa and felt one of two things: A) you wanted to kick me in the shin because it was peeing down of rain in the UK and you couldn’t stand my smug face grinning out from a beach/safari/sunbed with cocktail while you were on the commute to work with B.O man’s armpit in your face OR B) You smiled and found it fascinating! As one of my true (in real life) friends said today “While you were away, I woke up and checked your stories immediately as it felt like I was actually there with you – it was really exciting!” And that made me happy, because that was my aim. Even though it was just me and loveable, old Stressed Husband, I wanted to share it because it was such a wonderful, mind-blowing trip, I wanted you to get some enjoyment from it too! And that is the wonder of social media…in my world, sharing is caring 🙂

But…I’m back with a bump into the longest January since world records began. I feel lucky to have missed the worst of it and hope that February will be kind and spring-like to us all. Initially, I  was going to do a round up of my favourite places and best things to do in South Africa, but because I think I’ve shared all of that on Instagram and Twitter, and I’ve returned with that fresh, ‘holiday’ mindset, I feel as if I’d rather write about what this trip actually taught me about myself. And here are my 5 lessons learnt from my second honeymoon….

  • I can still have the same fun and feel the same excitement and awe at the world as I could when I was a 22 year old travelling around the world. Put it this way, the emotion that I felt when I reached the top of Table Mountain and overlooked the most stunning landscape and views I’d ever seen, brought about a surprising sob of emotion rising up in me. I actually had to hide behind my sunglasses and pull the visor down on my baseball cap as I felt a bit silly. I wondered whether this surprise crying fit was hormonal, and it probably was a bit, but it happened a lot during the trip: At Boulders Beach watching the beautiful and comical penguins; when we witnessed dolphins surfing about while we were sitting at breakfast; the night Stressed Husband taught me how to play pool and I went on to beat him (apparently, I’m a natural). And when I secretly watched my hard working husband standing on the veranda of our lodge just outside the Kruger and saw him wide-eyed with excitement, looking the most relaxed I’ve ever seen him. I cried a lot. Not big, snotty tears but happy, joyful, peaceful, can’t-believe-I’m-seeing-this-and-doing-this tears. It was lovely.

  • I missed the kidults but they missed me too! So, we set up a family WhatsApp group and used this to keep in touch while we were away. For the first few days…oh ok, couple of weeks…I sort of sent a barrage of messages that went like this:

ME: Lils, are you up for college yet – don’t be late!

ME: Aimz, Don’t forget your key when you go out and what are your plans for today?

ME: Hey Will.

2 hours later…

ME:  WILLLLLLLLL!!!!!  Why aren’t you answering?! I’ve messaged you 5 times and you should be up by now. Lily, Aimee, can you check on him for me please. Is he still in his room and did he actually even come home last night?

To all of these messages, I would get this sort of reply:

AIMEE: MOMO!!! Stop it. WE. ARE. FINE! Will is alive and he is breathing…very hungover, but definitely alive and Lily is already at college! She got there early to go to the library and I have a busy day with all sorts I’ll tell you about later…and I HAVE MY KEY!!! Now get off your phone and chill please!

Momo finally chillin’

So after regularly getting told off by Stressed Husband, I realised they WERE fine. And I needed to let go of those umbilical cords a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that they could cope without me. Of course they could – at 23, 21 and 17! I’ve obviously done my job (and nanny was there as a back up too,which always helps to make sure they get fed and watered). But what made me so delighted was waking up to a flurry of frantic messages to show how much they actually cared about me! I’d fallen asleep early and forgot to text the kidults and when I woke up a few hours later, I saw this…(Oh, and please excuse the swearing…the kidults have been told off!)

  • The World is MASSIVE and AMAZING – okay that’s not something I didn’t know but a trip like this, where you see such natural beauty and luxury hotels and top class restaurants besides shanty towns and people who are struggling to survive really puts things into perspective. Life is strange. It’s unfair and can be so cruel but it can also be incredibly wonderful and we are so lucky to be here, experiencing every day with whatever hotchpotch of emotions and goings on it uncovers. We really need to make the most of every little bit of it.
  • I have anxiety that needs to be addressed. I touched on my rising levels of anxiety in my last blog (link) but for the first week or so (apart from the ridiculous amount of messaging the kids), I noticed that I panicked about so many things: the driving trips – well we were sometimes quite close to mountain ledges), flying – we had four flights on the trip and on one of them I was shaking uncontrollably and found it really difficult to get back in control, ……..I will say that by the end of the holiday and after lots of pep talks from Stressed Husband when we went over why I was often being unreasonably worried about things, I started feeling calmer and more relaxed. That 22 year old girl was getting stronger within me and the menopausal 50 year old was allowing her to break through. It felt great to go with the flow without feeling anxious, especially as sometimes I felt anxiety rising and didn’t even know why?! So, I’m going to work on this because its not a nice feeling and I don’t want it to hold me back in life and stop me from experiencing new things.

Couple_Canoeing

  • I married the right man, twice. Soppy as it sounds, there really is nobody I’d rather have been on this trip with than my darling Stressed Husband. We had a couple of tiffs but nothing we couldn’t laugh off within a few hours but we had so much fun together. Canoeing, climbing, swimming and even playing the memory game and singing like loons in the car on long journeys. I’m grateful that he is as laid back as he is a lot of the time (the Sressed Husband tag comes from how he is at work, not at play) as it rubs off on me and he teaches me how to ‘let go’ and enjoy the moment. He is world-class at loving every moment and making the most of things – from stopping while driving the Garden Route to experience every little bit of beauty he sees, and to point out things he’d been Googling in the hotel room earlier (ie, why baboons have weird red bums. Google it – it’s interesting!) Through to his ability to make friends with everyone we met.

We often get stuck in a rut with our other halves and that’s normal, but sometimes, it’s important to remember who they were when you first married them and look for those traits and little reasons why you fell in love with them in the first place – and if they’re still there even after 25 years, then you’re on to a winner!

So, these are my 5 main lessons learned on my incredible trip to South Africa but another one I guess that has emerges is that I definitely want to do a lot more travelling – if luck and opportunity allows. You know what? I’m glad a chose a trip of a lifetime over another diamond when we got married again! 

6 Comments

  1. What a fabulous post … and a fabulous trip!! I loved the WhatsApp conversation between your kids, wondering where you were… hilarious!! And that feeling of knowing you’re with the right person and having the time to remind yourselves of all the reasons you love each other – that’s priceless isn’t it!! Jo

    • Glowology Reply

      Hey Jo, thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment 🙂 Oh, how much do you love South Africa?! I know I’m totally smitten now and can’t wait to go back…I really hope I get the opportunity to one day. Yes, I’ll treasure those whatsapp messages from the kids – proof that they actually do care when mum stops messaging them! Also, yes, ups and downs through 25 years of marriage but never a day goes by when i think I’m glad it’s him I married. Hope you are well Jo and wish you lots of love, luck and travels in 2018! Lisa xx

  2. What a lovely post, Lisa. Your trips looks and sounds amazing. I chuckled to myself about all the messages between the kids. That’s our family totally. Our boys seems to worry about us when we go off into the world on our travels. Funny isn’t it how roles reverse? I love having time just with my OH too even after almost 32 years! Yikes how did that happen? I absolutely agree you have to remember why you fell in love. I’m always blown away how it’s still there when we have time to think about it and just be with one another. I’m with you on the more travel too xo

    • Glowology Reply

      Hi Sharon. Thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and yes, I think the cold start to this week will have me scrolling through travel websites and planning and dreaming, rather than getting on with the work I’m meant to be focussing on 🙂 Wow – 32 years! Good for you! Have a lovely week. xx

  3. Lisa, I loved following your stories on Insta and yes I was a little bit jealous! I am going to have to pick your brains at some point about the details of your trip as following our less than perfect Xmas and New Year, we have all promised each other that we will head off together next year and SA is top of the list.

    Taking time out to be together as a couple is so important but other than weekends we haven’t really done anything longer than that for a while and I am so looking forward to that time reminding each other what it is to be a couple again rather than just parents of teens.

    Re your anxiety – I have suffered from this terribly on two occasions during my life and found CBT really helpful. I am not a natural therapy person but this really helped me to make sense of it and resume control. More recently my hormones had a lot to do with it and HRT (the bio-identical kind) was a godsend.

    Love the blog makeover by the way! X

  4. Glowology Reply

    Hi Jo – thank you for dropping by to my blog and commenting 🙂 I’m so glad you liked my stories – I’m not one for oversharing but I just couldn’t help myself and my family back at home were following it all, so it makes it kind of essential! You know, now I’m back home to reality, I actually can’t believe that I have been to South Africa and seen/done all the things we did! It really was magical and so much fun and I am determined to do it again…just need to work really hard to be able to afford it!

    I hope you do get the chance to do a longer trip with your other half – it really does remind you of why you got together in the first place (because, as you know, that can get lost in the minutiae of daily life!) And if you can take the teens too that’s brilliant as well. It would be so lovely for you to have a great trip to focus on after your last few months and going forwards – get it on your vision board and start planning!

    Thanks so much for the CBT advice and the HRT (bio-identical) – I’ll definitely look into these. I’ve just had blood test to see where I’m at with the hormones and am researching options, so will keep your advice in mind.

    And I’m glad you like the blog makeover! It’s only a little one but I’m trying to pick it up this year and be more consistent and on the ball…you know how it is!

    Have a fabulous weekend and lots and lots of hugs!
    Lisa
    xx

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