• Joanna

Totsiens. Hamba kahle. Sara mushe. Goodbye Africa...

Updated: Mar 21

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it?" - Brian Jackman


As I sit here in on my last few hours in Johannesburg before I board my flight home, I am reflecting on my last 5 weeks. How fabulous they have been and I can’t help but smile about some of the things I have learned and discovered... 1. Kids can be just as good of company as adults... and often more insightful.


Just because people retire and set out to travel the world, doesn’t mean that they necessarily know where they’re going or even what is going on each day.


Internet and wifi are just words and often, they mean nothing in remote areas.

Never assume and never rely. Never.


Tomatoes can be grated.


No bug spray is strong enough to deter the killer moths.


Check your mouth wash before using.


Some African dishes are perfectly acceptable to eat with your hands. 


Dishes can be washed perfectly well using accumulated rain water.


Speed limit is merely a suggestion.


Stop signs are merely a suggestion.


Sand doesn’t go away no matter how much you sweep.


Border patrol... be prepared for anything.


Wild animals do not eat cantaloupe.

It is NOT our responsibility to feed all cats and dogs we encounter - whether stray or domestic. Team David vs. Team Takako.


Learn to walk confidently and have the ability to ignore those around you when you need to.


Always carry American currency.


Don’t trust all taxi drivers.


Download Uber.


Malaria pills suck.


Power

outages are a real, frequent thing.


Don’t take a Japanese traveler out for sushi.


Stopping for lunch usually means there is a mall in your future.


Whatever you do and wherever you go, malls will be in your future.


I won’t even get in to how knowledgable I am about hippos.


Africa needs some serious progressive assistance in regards to composting, litter control, secured garbage cans and recycling. Come to think of it... so does Takako, who firmly believes that all garbage should just be burned... and is convinced that normally it all is.


Bring new shoes. Not white. Not expensive.


People turn in to shitty photographers when they’re capturing an image with you in it.

People that don’t speak English as their first language refer to all gourds as pumpkins and nothing you say or do will talk them out of it.


My ankles do not save long airline flights as a special occasion to swell up. Truck rides too!


Stay away from ATV’s.


Make time for the sunrises... and make sure the crew doesn’t forget you.


Load up on wine... 


Always be prepared with toilet paper when it comes to bushy bushy.


In saying all of this... I can confirm that more will be added as they come to mind.

Momentary Proud Announcement. I did not get shot, raped, murdered, kidnapped, robbed. I did not get rabies. I did not get malaria.


... in saying this, I know that the day is still young.

I did manage to get scammed & harassed a few times trying to purchase trinkets... but I’ll chalk that up to experience and view it as my “contribution.”

I did survive 5 Southern Africa countries with only a minor concussion and some possibly cracked ribs.


South Africa. Namibia. Botswana. Zimbabwe. Zambia.


I recently read an article on the lesson you learn from camping.

1. Sometimes it is good to disconnect from the world.

Agreed... but sometimes it isn’t so incredibly handy when the world decides to disconnect from you. Five days rolling with no service or wifi can take its toll.

2. Camping makes you stronger.

No.

Erecting and dismantling tents can make you more efficient and organized... maybe. Often it succeeds in making us more pissed off and we are left wondering why we settled on the cheaper option... as we made a feeble attempt each night to burrow in the sand.


3. Nature doesn’t have to be scary.

Unless you’ve been warned repetitively about the threat of bugs and scorpions. Waking up to the sound of animals digging around your tent... 


I beg to differ!


4. Don’t bring too much. 


True... but as long as I live and breath, I will never learn this lesson. I feel I have clothed an entire family with the items I’ve left behind. The clothing kept in my pack are only there to wrap the frail gifts I purchased.

5. The best conversations happen around a campfire.


Scratch ‘campfire’ and allow “after dinner debrief” take its place. Replace “conversation” with “poking fun at others due to their stupid and repetitive questions.” The ones that just could’ve grasp the itinerary or the timeline.


6. Cooking outside is awesome. 

It’s not.


Actually... I retract that statement. Cooking outside is awesome. Cleaning up after cooking outside is not. It’s messy and often there are only a few that are prepared to stand up and assist with the dishes and clean up. More often than not, people tend to remain seated and enjoy their beverage while the rest of us run around like minions.

7. Being a little (or a lot) uncomfortable is good for you.

Unless you’ve been rolled over by an ATV.

If you have... uncomfortable sucks.


“If you choose to go your own way, there will be many more people like you waiting to People and things that once devoured my thoughts lose power over my life. I set out on journey with determinations to grown and challenge myself. With these entries, my world and my mind expand.” Madison Stringfellow

The group we started with on Christmas Eve... the ones that joined us in Windhoek... we all managed to co-exist peacefully and happily.


We survived 3 weeks void of sexual, racial, gender, age, religious and political discrimination. Together we all managed to overcome any stereotypical traits we had prior to the tour. Young. Old.Black. White. Asians. Spanish. South Africans. Canadian. Swiss. Germans.

...except Claudia of course.

She sucked.


But we all know that there is one in very crowd. Every party has a pooper, that’s why we invited Claudia.

We all ate crap food. 

We all ate good food.We all survived torrential downpour and blistering heat.We all slept in crappy tents. 

We all rode in a stinky bus. 

No one was less or more.


We all had our moments of humiliation and none of us escaped ridicule from time to time.

We were all respectful and we all got along... even Claudia for the most part...

...not really... but I’m trying to be nice.


We all left our comfort zone and ventured in to the unknown.


We all took a chance on an adventure with no guarantees.


We all tested our strength, our endurance and our patience to a certain degree.


We all challenged the limits of our financial perimeters. 

The road was long... and far... and bumpy...


... but isn’t is said that the bumpiest roads lead to the most beautiful places?


...or is it that circuitous routes take time to live in the moment and enjoy the scenery

Both I think.


Definitely both.


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