This blog post is a tribute to Ms Cathy Carr, a very special friend of mine who passed away in August 2013.
It was a hard blow to hear that my good friend Cathy had passed away unexpectedly while on holiday. This sad event made it difficult for me to write about travel, which is why I haven’t written a post in a long time. For days all I could think about was losing someone who was so young, and how that someone could even pass away while travelling – something I love deeply.
Travel was always important to both Cathy and myself. We spoke about it ever since we met at university and long after we graduated as well. We fantasized about leaving home although we were equally as fearful. Cathy had been planning to go overseas for three years before finally making the move to teach at a university in South Korea. At the beginning of the year I was so happy to hear that she was making her lifelong dream come true. Oddly enough we both left South Africa at more or less the same time to travel and work abroad.
Upon hearing the news of Cathy’s passing I was devastated – why must a young girl with her whole life ahead of her pass away? And why on holiday in Thailand of all places?
Cathy (far-left) and myself (second from the left) at our Masters graduation in 2009.
Just a short period before I heard the news we had exchanged a number of messages about interesting cultural experiences and the fact that many South Africans currently live in South Korea. We also spoke about travelling and gratitude. She wrote the following to me:
“Yes, this has been three years in the making. It still feels unbelievable that I’m actually here (!) I’ve just been reading of YOUR awesome travel stories. It’s really really amazing that you got to see all those awesome places! And you share where you’ve been. How wonderful. I enjoyed reading about the past half year’s travels. And the article about gratitude really resonated with me. Thanks very much for that!”
“Yeah, there are many South Africans here apparently. I bumped into a few on the subway. A colleague who is a pastor at a small church said his congregation is mostly made up of South Africans. Can you believe that? I found it so weird! And there’s a SA restaurant called Braai Republic. Isn’t the name cool! Is it day time there, then? Great the sun is out. It’s finally Spring here and we’ve been having lovely sunny days. Now it’s midnight and (way past) bed time Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I will certainly do my best to enjoy every second. It was such a gamble coming – and I left a perfect life to come here, so I’m so glad it worked out!! I certainly plan to cultivate my spirit of gratitude whilst here, and to (re-)read your article if it lapses Thanks; have an amazing weekend too, my friend.”
Cathy’s last messages no longer make me sad (or even scared to travel). Life will happen either way and that shouldn’t stop us. I’m grateful Cathy got to fulfill her dream. Her words make me want to fight even more to keep my own dreams alive. Thank you Cathy Carr for leading an inspiring life, a life of gratitude.
Next year I want to head East.