Almost exactly one year ago, I was preparing for the same trip I’m preparing for now. What a difference a year makes.
I’ve never been one to do something halfway and my first foray into Africa was going to be no different. I hadn’t set foot in Africa outside the borders of South Africa before and now I was preparing to go from Cairo to Cape Town. Quite the leap forward and my uncertainty was evident in my preparations.
If I remember correctly I repacked at least four times, removing things from my bag every time as I realised I need only half of what I initially planned on taking. Eventually I set off on my trip and joined 50 cyclists as they pedalled their way to Cape Town from Cairo.
For many people a trip like this sounds amazing. Amazing as it was, I remember 12000km and four months of hard work, saddle sores, broken bones, burst appendixes, diarrhoea, flat wheels, sunburn and thirst. However, all this didn’t make a dent in the privilege to experience four months of sunsets like you’ll only find in Africa, views that stretch into eternity, friendly and hospitable people, cute and curious kids, Ethiopian coffee and juice and the unexpected gob-smacking beauty of the Namib Desert right at the end of the trip.
So I’ve decided I haven’t had enough yet. I’m going back for more. This time I only had to pack my bag once. I’m taking more sunscreen and Vaseline and even less clothes. I know much better what to expect, when to expect it and what to do when it happens.
This time I promise to see more, listen more, smell more, taste more and feel more. I promise to join in a game of soccer with the locals, swim longer in Lake Malawi, play a game of pool at a Tanzanian roadside village, drink at least one sachet of Konyagi, eat more chapati and maybe I’ll even jump from Vic Falls. It is almost time for New Year’s resolutions after all.
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