“You remember my daughter?” The proud mom barked at the man packing lettuce at our local Spar. “Well she’s going to live in Scandinavia on Tuesday. She’s e-m-i-g-r-a-t-i-n-g.”

Emigrating. Ah yes! Another big word he didn’t understand.

The mom went on for everyone and their trolley to hear, “And us? Well we’re just tolerating this place.”

I stood there with my basket and branches of celery. This whole episode was pretty amusing for a Sunday morning. The man packing lettuce only pretending to care what emigrating meant and this mother wanting the whole of South Africa to know that her daughter is heading for the hills. And the rest who are left behind? Well you’ll just have to keep “tolerating this place”.

So there I stood — a fellow emigrant with some Scandinavia to come. And I thought: if you’re just “tolerating this place”, enduring some kind of pain to be South African and putting up with this kak that you call home, why don’t you leave too?

A childhood friend of mine always used to say: we should move to go to something and not to get away from something. And that applies to everything: jobs, relationships, countries and travel. When we move to get away from something, we’ll always be trying to out-run our fears and the inevitable realities and hardships of life. We’ll always feel the need to justify our choices when deep down we’re alone and afraid. When we move to go to something, well that’s when life really takes shape. That’s when we make good choices and when we close chapters with great learning and great perspective.

Just a thought for those who are “just tolerating this place”.