This weeks post comes from Brad Nicholson. Brad lives in Tanzania and is an Africanist, Foreign policy professional, adjunct-professor and serious endurance athlete. I can thoroughly recommend following him on twitter to be kept in the loop on all things Africa, endurance and current affairs.
Where would I rather be this Monday morning?
If I could be anywhere this Monday it would be traveling. It is kind of my bad habit, actually an addiction. Where? It does not really matter. The last few years have taken me on extended trips to Turkey, Germany, Italy, Israel, and the West Bank. Since July 2010 I have been living with my family here on the Swahili coast of Tanzania and fully indulging my addiction.
Of course I am writing this after having been on the road every day since 3 January except for 6 days I spent at home in-between jaunts to Burundi and Senegal. These travels include 19 independent air segments, countless hours bumping down what are loosely termed roads, and spending the night in places that do not see many guests.
Like any addiction there are the outward signs-the heated family debates, hurt feelings, and promises to change. However, in the background is always the next trip-hovering just out of mind but only a few days or hours away.
Being on the road means many things to different people; for me it means a journey. A true journey can only take place on land or at sea, modern air travel just does not provide the same experience. Saint D’uxpery moments are too expensive for those of us living within our means and traveling cheaply. Journeys don’t require a lot of baggage, actually quite the opposite. Journeys don’t require a precisely planned itinerary; you would never meet it anyways – lost in the bush waiting for the repair truck. Journeys don’t take a lot of money. Journeys test our patience and broaden our experiences. They fill us with hope and leave us empty, wanting more, when they are over.
Traveling long distances overland in Africa brings you face to face with the manic highs and lows of the continent. A gorgeous sunrise or sunset bookends a day filled with exasperating corruption at border crossings, crushing poverty of children begging for empty water bottles, and a realization that despite all the good there is still a long way to go in terms of improving the average person’s life. Life at roadside markets can restore your hope in humanity because of its desire to thrive in the harshest environments. Waiting at bus stops, really just big open fields where buses may or may not stop, and watching inebriated men fight and attempt to bully women will leave you thinking critically about the darker sides of “economic” improvement.
So this Monday I will be here at home in East Africa, seeing the kids off to school, grinding fresh coffee, and heading in to the office with my wife. Mentally I will be fantasizing, dreaming, and craving my next adventure. Planning the next overland trip through some unvisited country in Africa, living out of bags and writing in Moleskines.
Previous Where I’d Rather Be on Mondays:
Where I’d Rather Be On Monday: Yukon Territory, Canada by Lee Peyton
Take Me To Where The West Wind Blows by Sean Newall
Waking Up All Over the World by Melvin Bocher
A Beach By Isabelle
Maurellias Las Illas by Mark Cooper
Everywhere and Nowhere by Keith Jenkins
Queen Charlotte Trail, NZ by Ben Colclough
The Amazon by Ed Stafford
Anywhere! By Al Humphreys
Dolalghat, Nepal by Dan Martin