If I Were on a Deserted Island

Calli Umipig University of Cape Town, South Africa


February 24, 2017

As a college student, I’ve endured more icebreakers than I cared to participate in. Some are awkward, others are funny. Few are memorable, but they often achieve their goal of making an environment easier to adjust to. You may be wondering why I’m talking about icebreakers in a blog post about South Africa and that’s a really good question.

The answer: as I sat staring at my empty suitcase the only thing I could think about was that once time in middle school when I had to list the three things I couldn’t live without if I were on a deserted island. I can’t remember what I chose, but I remember them being tangible objects I could pack in a bag- my favorite book, my favorite food, or perhaps something to make surviving a possibility. Sitting there on the floor however, I wished I could pack the things that weren’t tangible like a hug from my mom or a wet kiss from my silly dog. It wasn’t the material things I was going to miss going abroad, but the important people I had grown to surround myself with.

Packing is the first step to traveling and its always the hardest. Do I take six books or do I leave more room for shoes? Is my luggage too much or am I packing too little? It's the first test of whether or not I’m ready. As I tried to figure to out the ethics of packing my dog among the copious amounts of clothing, I realized packing may be harder than I originally thought.

In some ways, packing is the ice breaker to this experience. It's a reminder of all the things and people I’ll leave behind in order to discover something new. For the first time since I received my acceptance, I feel like I’m really leaving. It feels nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at the same time. While I’m not going to a deserted island, Cape Town is a place I never expected I’d be.

In four days and three hours, I’ll be boarding a place (with my bags packed) to Cape Town, South Africa for four and a half months. Perhaps I will end up on a deserted island while I’m there. I guess we’ll both find out.