To those who walked with me, laughed with me, got stranded with me, shared bus rides, train rides, motor boat rides, incredible meals (ugali and chicken), amazing scenes. To those who i spent time with, be it but a grain of sand in the hour glass of life, your presence and the moments are indelible and forever etched like a tattoo on my life. To the memories of of the Tazara train, Aswan High Dam to the islands on Lake Bunyonyi, to those moments, that became part of the jigsaw puzzle of my life as I traversed from Cairo to Cape Town.
It has been two weeks since I returned to work , a changed world. I feel like a stranger at the office. Life and time moves on, when one is away. It has been nearly 5 months since I last switched a laptop to respond to an email or exercised my intellect for monetary gain. It has been a painful and frustrating experience being back to the ways of taxpayers. I return to work , to find that I am the sole surviving graduate from those who started in 2010 my current place of employment, people have become engaged, people are pregnant, life has moved on……
There is something in traveling, in being a stranger, in not knowing or understanding a language, even in the loneliest of journies, there is much to learn about oneself.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
As scary as it can, it be liberating to wake up in a new town and not know anything or anyone and step out the door to a new world. I enjoyed those moments, as scary and liberating as it was.
Some say body art/ tattoos can be addictive, in my eyes, so can traveling, the process of meeting souls from different paths, I met engineers from Japan, America, a pharmacist from Switzerland, teachers from Spain, a marine engineer from Spain, a German man who has been on the road for a year and half by himself, a man who practices law and medicine at the same time and he shared pearls of wisdom. Kindred souls and all these endearing experiences can be addictive, a remedy to a mundane life of staring at laptop for 10 hours a day.
As I stare at the rush hour traffic, in my cheap suit, I don’t know if this life that I return to is what I want, for I walked through a door I opened and saw another version of life, where I didn’t care about what car I drove, or the brand of shoes I was wearing (although I am in dire need of a new pair). Being a stranger, with no expectations, was so relieving, it was empowering at time, it was rewarding. Change is constant in life and so I will face this new world that I have returned to.
Till, I am back on the road, who knows, as I dream of taking a motorbike from Dar es Salam to Sao Tome or going from Port Harcourt in Nigeria to Monrovia in Liberia. There is much to see in Africa, and I intend to chase those dreams and live and as John Hope Franklin says
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” –
I am grateful to each and every person I met on this trip!