arriving at cosmopolitan Johannesburg, I saw more positive images of Africa than I’d ever imagined. Why had these truths been kept from me? My eyes filled with tears as I stared out of my taxi window, feeling like I’d been cheated from having a true understanding and appreciation of my real ancestry. If my mother had only gotten a chance to see this for herself...if she had only known a more balanced truth of Africa, she might have had a different attitude toward, and appreciation of her heritage, I reflected. She might have also raised me to have a different view and appreciation of Africa myself. And, she might have lived and died more at peace with who she really was – and where she came from.
I felt thrilled, yet embarrassed. I felt like hugging the trees and kissing the dirt—and I felt very much at peace.
Post script: After my first trip to South Africa, I decided I wanted to live there. No fear! My years in South Africa turned out to be critical to my life's calling. I went through many struggles but eventually founded my PR company there, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Julia’s 'Fearless Living' tips:
1) Don’t accept stereotypes. Go see for yourself; and get to know others.
2) Be open to learning, even though you may be going to teach.
3) Be persistent and consistent. The more times you say something, the more you believe it and are able to convince others.
4) Follow-up and follow-through. Do what you say, and say what you mean. Deliver.
5) Be flexible and open to revising your initial plans if new information warrants a change.
Until next time: May the curiosity of life keep you aware, the power of love push you forward, and may the love of life, keep you living in the spirit of "Fearless Living!”
Julia A. Wilson is the CEO and Founder of Wilson Global Communications, a DC-based international public affairs consulting firm. A US Department of State Fulbright Grant recipient and international lecturer, Wilson has lived, studied and/or worked in Africa, China, France, Israel and Brazil. In 2013, she participated in President Barack Obama’s White House Initiative on Africa, and serves as the international consultant to the National Urban League and as the US-China liaison and representative for the China-United States Exchange Foundation in Hong Kong.