I am currently back in Berlin – the city I’ve been calling home for the last ten years. I came back at the end of a challenging and astounding year. But I left something in another place…
And that something is my heart.
And that place is called Makuleke.
Makuleke is a remote and wild reserve on the Northern tip of the Kruger National Park, where South Africa meets Zimbabwe and Mozambique along the banks of the mighty Limpopo River. It is a place fueled by legends from the old days and inspiring characters that still roam its wild woods today.
“Crooks Corner” lies within the Makuleke concession and marks the triangle between the three countries, where outlaws came to hide from the eye of the law. Some even say that the same kinds of free souls that found their way to Crooks so many years ago are still attracted by its wildness today.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time in this wild place. I lost track of time in its magical fevertree forests and bathed my feet in the cooling waters of the Limpopo. I sat around the fire with good people and learnt how to listen to my heart and all my senses again.
I had, yes truly, I had the time of my life.
But what happens when you leave such a place of wonder and beauty? How do you hold on to the memories? How do you bear the thought of knowing that it can never be the same again?
How can you not compare every other corner of the world with this one? And how could any other one ever possibly live up to the place where you found happiness?
It is not, no, it is never just about a place.
It is always about the people you meet. It is about the lessons you learn and the little pieces of yourself you put into it to give back.
Maybe I left too much of myself in that wild place. Maybe nowhere will I ever feel again how I felt there. Maybe not even there.
That’s what I wonder, anyway. Will I ever feel at home again or will I forever roam this Earth in search for something wild that calms my restless soul?
I am here now, but I’m afraid I will forever be somewhere else.
My heart burns for the open road.
And yet, it is longing for a place to stand still.
I am in-between two lives. The one I am reminded of now that I’m back in the city; and the one I’m only just beginning to live.
These days, a bittersweetness lies in the familiar streets I roam. I know so many corners well. I can tell so many stories about their cracks and facades. And yet, they are not the kinds of stories I wish to tell.
In a way, I wish I had never made the first step outside my door. In a way, I wish I could have been happy here. But now I feel like a stranger in this town. Now there is no going back.
It is how it is. I cannot stay. Nor do I want to. Because sadly, Berlin will always be the place where I failed to be happy. We do love each other dearly, but we also hate each other equally.
Maybe I tried too hard. Maybe I should have given up a long time ago.
Or maybe there is still hope in me that at least one day I will come back again and Berlin and I will greet each other like old friends.
Old friends who tried to love each other once…