• Emma Jude Jackson

A Sigh of Relief. Almost.

Much to my amusement now, I wrote the end note for House & Leisure's Vol. 3: Breathe right before Omicron struck.


Isn’t it ironic that the very thing we have been advised to use as a tool to relax, calm down and restore ourselves, is the very thing that has been taken away from us over the past 18 months, and right when we needed it the most? Healers the world over have been advocates of breath work for centuries but there we were, terrified to just take in air.


When the p-word first struck, I was thrilled with the idea that I could bunker down, self-reflect, revel in my introverted-ness. But then it went on. And on. Eventually I started to feel a sort of suffocating, hungover feeling. Over time my breath had even become shorter, my chest having tightened with each passing day. I knew I just had to get out (and all that stuff about the only way being through).


I’ve taken four monumental trips over the last 18 months, all in search of my own freedom, or at the very least to stay connected to a sense of it. None came easily, in fact every single one was fraught with challenges, some expensive, some amusing, some even reckless. But looking back, I do not regret a single thing. This story has a moral.


My first adventure took me to Mukti Nieu Bethesda in the middle of the Karoo under the guise of a work permit. The path ahead was clear and even just setting off down the open road felt like a long-awaited exhale. Then came my Sussurro Mozambique escape – a thrilling sigh of relief to even just step onto a plane again. Next it was Tanzania, where I was able to experience the most extraordinary sense of privacy and safety on &Beyond’s Mnemba Island, followed by (if you can believe it), the open plains of the Serengeti and the newly redesigned and very breathtaking (in the good way) Singita Sabora Tented Camp.


And now, the biggest move yet in my returning to normal life… I am writing this from Paris. A year ago I felt like I’d never see Europe again but the Pass Sanitaire is here, the masks are off (mostly), and everyone (it’s so busy that at least half of Europe must be here right now) is sauntering these sensual streets once more.


If you have been holding yourself back from moving forward, stop.


It is safe for us to breathe again.