Well, hopefully you’ve guessed it – my journey through Africa has been predominantly without wifi connection since I hit Zambia nearly a month ago… Hence the no updates or posts.
But – and I know you’ll all be super excited to hear this – I’ve hit modern civilisation again, and now have a constant supply of wifi for all blog writing needs!
Not only do I have wifi, I now have an actual home to live in for a couple of weeks, staying at my brothers home in Kenya which is where I arrived a few days ago.
Drawers…I have actual drawers! A kitchen, hot water, a fully working bathroom! I’ll never underestimate you lovely things again.
So how am I feeling after my 5 weeks on the road travelling from Cape Town to Nairobi? Bearing in mind the large distance that this is and the short amount of time I’ve done it in, I guess you could say I’m feeling absolutely shattered! I’m overwhelmed with a mixture of nostalgia as I look back at my time, and relief that it’s all over and am now just in one place for a while. It’s not just been Africa, but the 5 months before that, travelling around Nepal, India and Turkey, I can now happily admit that I am ready for a bit of stability for a while.
Africa has brought me so many wonderful memories, the trip that I had been wanting to do ever since I visited Kenya for the first time three years ago, is complete. What a feeling this brings to me. Was it everything I expected? Did I experience everything I had wanted to experience? Most importantly, what have I learnt along the way and what will I take from this journey to shape my future?
One thing that I have realised, not just with this endeavor, but with pretty much most things in life, is that our daydreams of a situation or a place, compared to the realities – are two completely different entities. You know, like when you play out a conversation in your head that you want to have with a particular person, proclaiming your love, or letting them know once and for all what a total arse you think they are, but then when you go to utter those words they all just fall out as a stuttering rambling mess – nothing like the word perfect scenario you’d portrayed in your head. For example. But it’s not until we are out there living that day dream, that we have any idea of the realities of it. What I will say to people firstly though is, well done for making that dream a reality! No matter what that relates to, and no matter what the outcome was, the fact that you made it happen is something to high five to.
I guess I can say that relates to me as well. I think what I will take the most from this trip is that I’m kinda proud of myself for finally doing it. I was starting to drive myself crazy for the amount I would talk about it, dream about it! I was beginning to think it would never happen and it would forever remain a wish.
Was it what I expected it would be? In short, No.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. When I did Everest Base Camp it wasn’t what I expected, it far exceeded anything I expected. Same with India.
With Africa, instead of exceeding my expectations, I think just ‘different, from my expectations’ is a more accurate description.
All of the things that I had already fallen in love with about Kenya, still existed in these other African countries that I was now exploring; the colours of the light, the epic landscapes, sunsets, the bustle each morning of a hundred people as they all begin their agendas of a new day. As I hopped from one country to another the instant change of landscapes and change in the air was massively apparent. I always found this interesting, obviously nature doesn’t give two hoots about border lines, therefore the instant differences you feel or see, ultimately comes down to mans govern.
Each country offered something unique, they all have their own charm; The greens of the vineyards in South Africa, not forgetting the wines itself, gave me eloquent culture for a few days. As you drive across Namibia seeing nothing but arid barren land for miles on end, broken only by random large mountains scattered about, the vastness will have you lost in thought. Wildlife and natural wonders of the world come into play as you hit Zambia, views overlooking the rift valley in Malawi will have you spellbound, and the stunning colours and vibrancy found on Zanzibar island just make you smile.
These are the written highlights, easy descriptions of why we should visit these countries – it’s the bits in between, the travelling from A to B, the human encounters, these are the things that add the shades of grey, that turns a 2D description into a 4D reality. I had good experiences of these, some not so good, and one particularly bad experience of these.
Obviously the good bits tend to come from the people we meet. I have met some wonderful people along my journey, travellers and locals, and without these people parts of my trip just wouldn’t have been what they were. It can be encounters that last days, hours, or even just passing moments whilst high fiving a kid as they walk past you on their way to school.
Long coach journeys taking me from country to country gave me the opportunity to sit back and watch the changing landscapes. At times they also made me pray for my life as the driver speeds through the questionable roads at a zillion miles per hour, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, whilst also avoiding rolling down the hillsides that sit just inches from our speeding wheels. Whoa!
I think the one thing that I found most…draining I guess is the word, and as much as I hate to admit it, being a solo female traveller certainly added to this, was the safety element. Constantly having to have my guard up, being told this isn’t safe to do or that isn’t safe to do. The worry as your bus journey brings you into your new destination hours later than anticipated after night time has fallen, unsure of how to get to your lodgings, and weary of which taxi driver to trust. Some of the time you’re not even sure they’re a taxi driver, more just a dude with a car. There are ways to overcome this, for example I would befriend the conductors of the bus/coach and when we would arrive I would ask them to find me a driver to take me where I needed to go. The thing, is nine times out of ten everyone is good and friendly, you just want to do your absolute best to avoid that one person that isn’t so good, and the chances are people with a job role, such as bus conductors, will know how to help you.
Whilst nothing actually happened to my own personal safety (besides getting my purse stolen in Zanzibar! My “one particularly bad experience” I mentioned earlier. More about that later…), having to worry about it on a frequent bases got a bit tiring. I’m someone who doesn’t like to think badly of people, likes to take people at face value, so to be surrounded in an environment where you can’t be naive about this sadly took a bit of my morale.
That being said, it certainly tests your abilities and increases your awareness, which is never a bad thing.
So anyway, I don’t want to go on too much about this, I’ll be putting together some more posts, talking more specifically about my time across Africa. For now I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still alive even tough I’ve not been able to share my journey with you along the way. Pesky wifi.
If any of you have any questions or thoughts on anything, fire away – I’m always happy to chat 🙂