In my case it consisted of 5 elements.
The first was being born into family that already has its share of misfits, mystics, and psychics. My maternal grandmother was a midwife, tea leaf reader, and herbalist. My paternal grandmother was a garden diva who’s life revolved around the cycles of the Moon and the seasons. Both grandmothers were psychics.
Added to this generational milieu, was my love of travelling, my secret desire was to be a hippie, the pull of wild gypsy music, and books that took me to foreign countries.
Which brings me to element number two.
I was 16 lazing around in the backyard on a sunny summer day when I heard a voice. Yes, a voice!
This voice stated very precisely, “You were going to live and work overseas.”
As strange as it may seem, those words resonated with me and I had no doubt that they would happen.
In the ensuing years I based many decisions on this voice. For example, my career choice to become a teacher and the subjects I studied.
And although life took me down a few paths that appeared incongruent with the message of this voice, it continued to whisper to me.
An example of this, was urging my husband to pursue an overseas post with his company. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same inner pull that I had.
This became evident when divine intervention, the third element, changed our plans and thus the course of my life.
After much persuading my husband agreed to a holiday in Europe. Four of us planned a summer in Spain but destiny had different plans. For a reason I can no longer remember, that plan was cancelled and instead we headed to Greece.
From the moment I stepped out of plane in Greece and saw Mt Olympus I began to change. The pull of the voice became a magnet which culminated one day on a beach in southern Crete.
I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t want to go home.” He replied, “You can stay. You have another month of holiday, but I have to go back.”
I looked over at my two friends but they both had solid reasons for returning to Canada.
I left the group and waded into the water looking south. Wouldn’t you know it – there was the voice. This time it said, “Africa is over there. You will be there one day.” Once more I knew this was truth.
As we boarded the plane for home I vowed to Mt Olympus that I would return. The person who made this vow was very different from the one who greeted the mountain a month previous.
In Canada, I not longer fit into the world I had left and a 2 year battle began to raged within me. My spirit urged me on while my sense of duty and guilt tore at me.
Finally, I knew which path I had to take.
Stepping away from my marriage, security, and in some cases friends and family, was element 4. This was the step toward my vision. For the next couple of years, I was lead by an amazing series of synchroncities, one which opened the door to opportunity.
The opportunity was a chance conversation where I heard about CUSO at the U of A. How come I hadn’t heard about CUSO before?
From the moment I entered the CUSO office I knew I was in the right place. Here I was surrounded by friendly people sharing their stories of living in exotic countries.
I wasted no time. I signed up and then waited for my posting.
The voice from Crete whispered Africa but the CUSO staff felt it would be Asia. To be honest, I didn’t really care.
So, where did I go?
Six months later I found my self on a plane heading south to Nigeria, Africa. As I sat on the plane I knew without a doubt that there was a force much greater than myself sitting in the driver’s seat.
The final element in the making of this gypsy came on the day I moved into my new home.
With great ceremony Mrs. Scobie, the headmistress, drove the short distance to the house. She was so proud of it. On the outside a nice bungalow with an attached garage.
On the inside rickety furniture, curled and missing floor tiles, a seatless toilet, sink and tub but no water, a kitchen that consisted of a small stove and couple wooden boards for shelves, and 3 bedrooms with beds I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep on.
Then there was the dust, cobwebs complete with spiders, termites in the door frames and more interesting creatures to be discovered later.
After Mrs. Scobie left I wandered from room to room and I all I could think of was, “What the hell have I done?” I sat in the living room and began to cry.
Right on cue there was the voice. “You have a choice go home or stay. It’s up to you.” I paused. I stopped crying. In popped the voice, “You wanted this.”
Yes, I did!
I was going to stay, make the most of it and have fun.
This was the final element in the making of a gypsy.
I choose this path, listened to my inner voice, followed where it led, took action, and made a decision to make the most of it.
This had taken me to 80 countries on all but one continent.
I have made the world my home.
My motto was and is: Where I am – there is home.