What NOT to say when someone tells you they are going on a trip to Africa:
- “Are you going to bring home an orphan baby?”
It wasn’t all that humorous the first time, it’s definitely not funny the fifth or fifteenth time and beyond. They’re doing a good thing that most of us wouldn’t do, so they get no snarkiness from me.
So why AM I going?
There are many travel blogs out there of single women who have done, are doing, or are going to do Africa. There are too many to refer to all of them, but I think one of the best ones that describes the WHO and WHY aspect is Jill’s African Adventure. Jill intended to go to Africa for 6 months, and stayed a year. Without stealing too much from her she aptly answered several of these questions as they also apply to me:
Why are you mostly traveling by yourself? Do you want to go with me? Can you?
Yeah, I didn’t think so. No one else wants to and can either.
That about sums it up. Getting anyone to commit to the kind of time or expense that even a one-week safari commands, in as far in advance as one needs to do so, is pretty damn near impossible… So, you can either let other people’s inability to decide or commit inhibit you, or you can live your life for yourself (hmmm, kinda like some relationships I know!).
Why Africa?The most honest answer is because it has been calling to me. I’m not really sure why. I think the wildlife, the cultures, and the fact that Africa is about as different from the USA as you can get are probably what attract me the most.
She’s right. The only way to describe it is a calling. In making these plans at one point there was the possibility of going to South America with some friends instead. That would have been cool, but there was a part of me that was saddened not to go to Africa. When that didn’t pan out, it was really clear to me that Africa was where I was to go.
I start in Tanzania, flying from Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Mt. Kilimanjaro. It’s a sweet flight, with only a 2.5 hour layover. Total travel time is around 22 hours, if everything goes correctly. How is that sweet, you ask? One of my early itineraries had me going from LAX to Detroit to London to Paris to Addis Ababa to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Another had me spending an 8.5 hour layover in Detroit. An 8.5 hour layover in Detroit is only slightly more desirable than an 8.5 hour layover in Baghdad. So, I’m pretty psyched to be staying on one airline and only making one relatively short stop.
I end in Morocco, on the Bootsnall Morocco Tour (technically, I guess I end with a week in NJ visiting my parents on the way back to LA, but somehow saying one ends one’s trip in NJ just isn’t that cool. Even if you’re from there.)
Between those two I will do whatever comes along my way, but the tentative plan is to spend several weeks in Uganda doing all Uganda has to offer (which is a lot, really!) including Gorilla Trekking. I also plan on going to Egypt and spend about 2 weeks doing the whole “Nile Thing.” I was hoping to go and see Petra, but I suspect I won’t have time, and as I’ll be in Egypt in August, doing a lot of fast-paced travel then isn’t too likely, as the average daytime temp in Upper Egypt is around 107f.
I can’t seem to get the ‘maps’ feature here to include a pathway, so here’s a link to google maps of my general game plan. Bear in mind this can change at any point along the way…
If all goes according to plan, I leave mid-July and return late September. It’s not NEARLY enough time, but I do have these pesky student loans to think about. Plus, I’ll miss my cat. And my family, of course.
Airplanes, buses, and trains. Depends on how time-constrained and cheap I am at the time.
I’m going to Africa for a few months, or haven’t you figured that out yet? But a better WHAT question is “What are you bringing?!?”.
Yeah, that’s enough for a whole ‘nuther entry, but suffice it to say not a whole heck of a lot by our modern living standards… I’ll post the list once I fully figure it out.
Coming this week … MORE SHOTS. To quote the Pointer Sisters: I’m so exicted and I just can’t hide it.
Other Cool Africa Blogs
- Marie is lactose-intolerant. Soy makes her break out in giant, itchy hives. Dill makes her stomach hurt, and she can’t eat lime, tomatoes, olives, MSG, or fish. Some forms of wheat are suspect, and she can’t use DEET insect-repellant. Tobacco smoke makes her light-headed and woozy after about 20 minutes in a bar (just imagine what the diesel-infested air of Bangkok will do to her). She can only use oil-free shampoo, conditioner, and soap, which is not available in many countries. Marie can, however, eat heaps of anti-malarials with no apparent side effects.
If SHE can survive, my inability to eat seafood, spicy food, and anything just plain weird and nasty will be a cakewalk!