Africa: Big Draw, Big Challenges
Since we started planning this trip two years ago, Africa – all of it—has been my priority. I’m drawn to it, and while I know there is no way to see it all I’ve designed many possible journeys in my mind throughout our planning. My focuses have been Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa: none of these countries show up in our current (and close to finalized) itinerary. They’ve been dropped from our travels- for the most part due to flight paths, overland travel challenges, time, and monetary restrictions. At times I find myself dwelling on this. It makes me seem a bit spoiled to be upset when I am planning to see so many other places. But Africa is a big draw for me. Without ever having set foot on the continent, I still feel a deep connection. And that in itself is the reason I need to see it in my lifetime.
A friend asked about the trip planning recently, and I expressed my frustrations about not seeing the parts of Africa I had originally hoped for. I said ‘I’m afraid we may have to skip over a good portion of Africa’. Her response: “most everyone does”. I immediately felt a pain in my chest. Are we missing the best part? Have we planned this itinerary all wrong? Are we simply making excuses because it’s the less traveled road? What else am I missing, and will I realize this at some point when it’s too late? At this point—I am getting a bit used to these random bouts of panic. The world is so, so big, and 18 months is far too short.
Alas- considering the problems we’ve encountered with planning time there, the big trip to Africa will have to wait. We do not wish to travel like tourists in an organized tour, but are a bit too new at the nomadic life to assume we don’t require some guidance in areas with such limited transportation options. Guidance costs money, and this shoestring trip will not allow for those luxuries. So for now, I continue to wait for Africa. I take solace in knowing that this part of the trip is merely postponed and not canceled. And as I’ve said before, the next RTW trip is clearly on the horizon for us.. sitting behind this adventure in synchronized anticipation.