Don’t Believe the (Negative) Hype: Just Pack a Bag and Travel

Pack a Bag

Summer of 2010 – that was the first time I thought about taking an African tour. It was a wild thought, you see, because I hadn’t been anywhere out of Raleigh. As a chemistry tutor, school kept me busy and I spent most of my summers planning school projects or visiting the family. I hardly ever thought of leaving the country for a month, kept get lost in a continent I only knew about through what I saw on the news.

Just Pack a Bag

Once the idea was planted in my mind, it was hard to get rid of. I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do than wonder than sandy beaches of Mauritius then jet off to the South-most part of Africa for some time in the wild. So, when summer came up, I scheduled emails to my immediate family – no wife and kids, so it’s just my parents and sister – then went off into the sunset.

My journey would take me to Nairobi, Kenya first, from where I would take a flight to Zanzibar. My searches for fun places to visit in East Africa returned this island as a most favored destination and so I had to check it out for myself, I thought. After that I would head on to Mauritius – yet another island in the Indian Ocean, before packing up for South Africa where I would be for the rest of my stay. Little did I know that my plans were about to change drastically.

On arrival to Kenya, something clicked. It could have been the weather – having left California being a little gray – or could have been the buzz. So many moving – never stopping, but just moving and minding their own business. Occasionally, I would get a polite nod and a friendly “hi.” I decided after only being in the city for a few hours that I needed more time.

I explored the city, its Nairobi National Park that is only a few kilometers from the city and the eateries. A week later, I headed to Mombasa then Malindi and finally Lamu. By now, I had already spent three weeks in a country I had only planned to be in for a few hours and so I was rushing to catch up and tour the rest of the countries before the lapse of my one month vacation.

Zanzibar, where I spent my last lazy week in Africa was a small paradise. By now I had given up on Mauritius. I just wasn’t going to make it but I could make it here the next time – because there is certainly going to be a next time.

That was in 2010. I have since made it my mission to comeback to Africa – where I am as I write this piece – every summer. I found a world of endless beauty and possibility, and also made friends that have now become family.

Now, do I recommend that you ignore all the travel advisories you have heard on the news? Not really, as some are valid. Do I advise that you ignore every negative thing you have seen on the news about this continent?

Yeah, because most of it is biased. If you really want to know more about the world than the place you were merely born in, pack a bag and travel. That simple!