After weeks of riding on an emotional rollercoaster the day of my departure to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina has finally arrived.
Insha Allah (God-willing), by the time this article is printed I will be on an aeroplane somewhere between Cape Town and Qatar, as I will be flying to Jeddah via Doha.
My family and I, like most other hujaaj (pilgrims) all over the world, have spent the past few months enshrouded by the uncertainty of everything from budgeting to the exact date of our departure.
By the grace of Allah my final flight details were confirmed on Saturday afternoon and, for the first time in weeks, I could breathe a sigh of relief after seeing my name on a ticket print-out confirming that I was indeed booked to fly on flight QR581 from Cape Town on 5 December.
The past week or so has been filled with precious moments that words can hardly begin to describe. For about two weeks family members have passed through our home in their droves, each adding a special something to my experience as a first-time hajji (pilgrim).
Sharing their tales of their own travels to the Holy Land has given me priceless images of what I will be seeing in the coming weeks.
Special duas (prayers) and stories from the older generations of their travels by ship and then on camelback have renewed my appreciation for the luxuries we enjoy as hujaaj today.
Forefathers and ancestry dating back thousands of years will play a big part in my experiences over the following weeks as I trace the footsteps of all those billions of Muslims who came before me.
And on the eve of my arrival in the Holy Land, I have already learned a very valuable lesson that people say will play a pivotal role in my journey.
They say patience is a virtue, and because they say your Hajj begins at home, I think it is safe to say that thus far my Hajj has taught me a lot of patience. I will admit my patience has been tested by serious things, such as uncertainty about flights, to smaller things, like counting down the hours to my departure.
But the words my mother taught me when I was little reverberated in my mind often of late. She often said it as a mantra when I bothered her unnecessarily, but I realise now the true value of the words "In Allah hoema assaa biereen", meaning, Allah loves those who have patience.
And as my mind has slowly drifted over the ocean to the Holy Land over the past few weeks, my soul will rest easy when I touch down in the next day or two. To all those who planned to go on hajj this year but couldn't, I pray that your turn will come soon, as my experience of being a hujaaj thus far has been so priceless.
Nurene will be writing her regular column every week while on pilgrimage.