In the last post I described how transient the notion of ‘home’ has become to me recently. Returning back to the country of my birth over a year after my last visit and two years since I left with my entire life for the shores of the United States made me realize that home is really where the heart is – and we all know how fickle those things are.

But there is nothing quite like your original home: the familiar faces and places, the good memories, the bad memories that dissolve with the excitement that comes with something new and seeing people you haven’t seen in ages, and of course family. Being away from family for so long makes you appreciate them more than you can imagine and makes you realize that despite the wonders of Skype, there is still no substitute for human touch: the sense that brings the intimacy missing when words and pictures are carried over cables.

This trip was completely unlike my previous visit. Last time I visited I trekked all over the country following the Spanish football team on their way to World Cup glory. This limited my time in Cape Town especially, where all my family are. This time I spent two weeks in Cape Town, getting to know my parents and brother better with some proper quality time. From famous family braais, to late night whisky whispers with Strett; from a surprise birthday trip through a game reserve to look into the eyes of lions to a long hike up the Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain; from the best (Borrusso’s) pizzas in the world to a wild whisky tasting conference with my dad and bro, this trip became just the tonic to the sometimes tumultuous lifestyle I’ve been living in New York City. I’ve come back refreshed, relaxed, and with an over-flowing well of inner peace and excited energy for what lies ahead. Is there any better way to refuel your soul?

Next weekend is Thanksgiving here in the States, a time for remembering what you are grateful for. For me, I am eternally grateful for the family I have – that we are such a close unit, that my parents still love each other to endearing levels, that my brother and I are best friends in addition to being blood: these things are rare and cherished. I’m also grateful for the amazing friends I have – the crazy crew in NYC and those friends back in SA who are my best measure of how much I’ve changed. Isn’t it awesome that so much time can feel like so little when it passes between good friends? I think this is one of the best measures of whether you’ve changed fundamentally or grown.