‘My return was both a head & heart decision’
Claire Pryce left South Africa 15 years ago with the plan to just travel for a year. Life, however, took her on another path and she spent 7 years in London and 8 in Sydney before making the decision to return home for good. She tells us what encouraged her to return as well as her experience since coming back.
It was both a head and a heart decision as I call myself a rational optimist. As with all our lives, there are many more twists and turns to my story and why it took me so long to come home (not least because I had chosen to stay in relationships with people who were anti living in South Africa so I convinced myself that they were right and that I was ok to call overseas home forever, even though my heart knew the truth of my desire: to be home, to be with my family, to be connected to the country that feels like an extension of me, where I can truly be myself and truly belong).
I have been home now for 6 months and, whilst there are many TIA moments and I don’t have rose tinted glasses on, I can honestly say that I have not once doubted my decision to move home and I can say with absolute certainty that I will never regret it, no matter what unfolds here. I’ve found it hard to put into words exactly why this is so /how to rationally explain this deep knowing to others but it’s both a deep heart/soul knowing and a rational knowing and those are often the trickiest to articulate! People often must think ‘oh you are naive,’ or ‘she’ll change her mind if something bad happens’. I won’t, because even this 6 months spent with my family and the moments I have experienced with them, with others and with strangers will be worth whatever lies ahead.
I have been here for happy and challenging family moments that I would not have otherwise experienced being so far away; I have witnessed daily, beautiful interactions between South African souls from all walks of life; I wake up grateful every day that I am home. I am not a fluffy person. I understand that fear can feel debilitating and so much bigger when you’re far away from the day to day reality. Truth is, when you make the decision to call SA home again, there is something so liberating about the decision and living back here that somehow that fear slides away – and not just through naivety – it just happens because like all fears, they are so much more magnified when you’re in your imagination vs being in reality.
I travel to Sydney for work every few months and, on my most recent trip, I cannot tell you how much I was chomping at the bit to get home!! I missed this country; the energy; my family; the people; the madness; EVERYTHING so much and I just wanted to be HOME. I was thrilled to land back on SA soil last week.